The Lost Things and the Christ-Child (For Anthony of Padua)

This poem should have been written and posted yesterday but it was a hectic day and so the poem did not get written until today. It was another difficult one to write, Saint Anthony – the Patron Saint of Lost Things – being the subject of some elaborate stories which, though amazing, potentially distract us from what matters most. I have tried, I suppose, to get the balance right in this poem. I hope you like it.

The Lost Things and the Christ-Child (For Anthony of Padua)

One night, when St. Antony was staying with a friend in the city of Padua, his host saw brilliant rays streaming under the door of the Saint’s room, and on looking through the keyhole he beheld a little Child of marvellous beauty standing upon a book which lay open upon the table, and clinging with both arms round Antony’s neck. With an ineffable sweetness he watched the tender caresses of the Saint and his wondrous visitor. At last the Child vanished, and Fra Antonio, opening the door, charged his friend, by the love of Him Whom he had seen, to “tell the vision to no man” as long as he was alive.

(Alban Butler, Lives of the Saints)

Do we dare not tell, who have seen,
His face, His likeness? Can we stay mum?
And can we, mortals, hold and caress
Him who holds worlds in His hands?
Can we truly, in our arms, hold
He who has the universe
In His palm, this child who
Could crush all time within His fist?
Yet do we not all see His face,
We worldly weaklings who are not
Saints or doctors, cut off from
The ecstasies of Anthony?
Do we not all, in each other,
See, though faintly, in each face
His reflected in our bruised,
Dying and imperfect ones?
Should we look unto and pray for
Restoration of lost things from
One who could not ever hold our
Lost souls in his strongest grip?
Bow instead, be awed instead by
He who holds and saves the lost,
The one once slain and now Forever,
Who will give us His restored face,
When we all, in true ecstasy,
Shall then see Him, face to face.

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