Why is St. Anthony of Padua pictured holding baby Jesus Christ with a book?I think it should be the reverse!?
I think it should be the reverse because St. Anthony of Padua was born in the year 1180 A.D.,making him 1,180 years younger than Jesus Christ,who,of course,is 1,180 years older!It doesn't make any sense!Who's idea was it to make such pictures?And what was their point?
- ChrispyLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
Here's my own, perhaps novel, interpretation.
First of all, consider the book (I've also seen representations of Anthony of Padua holding a book with the Christ Child standing on the book). Anthony was a scholar, known for his defense of "orthodox" Catholicism against heretics. He was even called "The Hammer of Heretics." So, the book symbolizes his learning and erudition.
Depicting Jesus as a child was, I think, in order to underline Anthony's role as a defender of the Catholic faith. Face it, the image of a grown man in need of defending would not have the emotional "punch" that comes with the image of a child needing to be defended from someone or something. Significantly, the child stands on the book--it's the learning and rhetorical expertise that is protecting the child by giving him something to stand on.
Or at least that's one way it can be viewed.
- JuanitaLv 44 years ago
I love St. Anthony -- he has bailed me out of many a scrape involving lost keys, documents, and important items. He's also done a couple of miracles in finding stuff that's been lost by UPS or the Post Office, and I can always count on him to get packages or letters where they're going on time. He's also known as the "Wonderworker," and I believe that his intercession has been the cause of some unexpectedly happy outcomes to situations that didn't appear to be headed that way. St. Anthony is a wonderful guy and deserving of all the best on his feast day. I like to make a donation to a food pantry or other charitable organization in his honor. There's a custom known as "St. Anthony's Bread," in which food or money is given to the poor as a thank-you for favors received from this great saint, and I think that's a perfect way to honor him. God bless, and have a great St. Anthony's Day!
- KarenLv 44 years ago
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Thank you Father K for this question. He finds things for me all the time. By the way, I'm one of the lost that he found. Through his prayers he brought me to Christ at a time when I had no idea of who St. Anthony was. Today we had mass in honor of St. Anthony (worshiping God of course and not Anthony - for all our protestant friends), we blessed a new statue of St. Anthony (we didn't have one - and no, we don't worshp it either). We kissed a relic of his, and we distributed blessed bread to remember Anthony's love for the poor. Did you know...? The reason why St. Anthony is the patron of lost objects has to do with an event that happened in his life. He and a couple of friars were in a hermitage and one of the friars decided one night that he would leave the Order of Friars Minor. So, he snuck out and took with him Anthony's copy of the Bible to sell (if you know anything about books in the middle ages, you know they were not cheap). Upon waking up and finding out what happened, Anthony prayed for the brother, that he would return and repent of the sin of stealing. The brother did just that. He came back to the hermitage and gave Anthony the copy of the Bible back. So, Anthony is the patron of lost objects because he is also the patron of lost souls. Obviously you can see why I love this story and the connection between the lost souls and the lost objects. Peace and Goodness
- 1 decade ago
I'm just guessing here--but:
The anachronistic portrayal of Jesus as an infant is symbolic. Jesus might be said to represent different things at different stages during his life. The baby Jesus and the dying Jesus are two very distinct symbols. (Just picture them, if you care to, and notice that the images elicit very different emotional responses.)
In religious art, Christian symbols are often treated with as much license as the symbols of other mythologies, for the simple purpose of making a point. The point doesn't have to be something that can be verbalized. In fact, the greatest value of the visual arts is that they can, at best, express the otherwise unexpressable.
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- Anonymous1 decade ago