Saturday, August 13, 2005


Once upon a time

There was a saint named Anthony. He was a very good man, as saints are wont to be, and fought against the heresy of the Cathars who were dualists. He has the title "Malleus hereticorum," which means Hammer of the Heretics, and performed many miracles, all of which demonstrated a gentle concern for the spiritual and physical needs of the people about him.

But it is chiefly for his powers of oration that he is known, having converted many people or turned them to repentance with his animated tongue. After he died, the people of Padua erected a temple for him and St. Bonaventure was to supervise the transferral of his relics from a vault in which he had lain for thirty years, to the new temple. Upon opening the vault, St. Bonaventure discovered the tongue was not corrupted, and exclaimed: "O Blessed Tongue that always praised the Lord, and made others bless Him, now it is evident what great merit thou hast before God."

It is recorded that St. Bonaventure "affectionately took the tongue and kissed it" prior to uttering the immortal phrase of praise. This has always amused me for the miracle and its reception has a sort of "Oh You God You, what will you think of next?" air, as Bonaventure seems to be rather tickled at the form the miracle took.

The tongue is now in the Basilica of St. Anthony.

This explains, in part, the name of the blog as St. Anthony is the patron of the St. Anthony of Padua Institute, of which, Marie and I are both members.

The other part is a tribute to Aunt Dahliah, from Pelham Grenville Wodehouse who could give tongue like none other and was known for being able to stagger while seated in a chair.

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