Thursday, June 9


St. Anthony's Lilies

We at the Shrine are interested in restoring the many lost practices of Catholic popular piety -- if the Catholic home is the ecclesia domestica, these practices are truly its liturgy.

I may be currently unemployed and summer school may still be weeks away, but I've been working on something, at least: my summary of Catholic popular piety is about 144 pages long. So, here's an excerpt for the feast of St. Anthony, this June 13.

St. Anthony’s Lilies

Traditionally (and it may be news to you, like it was to me), lilies are blessed on the Feast of St. Anthony. The blessing of lilies reminds us of St. Anthony's purity; they have always been a symbol for him. This practice stems from a miracle which took place in Revolutionary France: many priests and religious had been murdered, and many churches and convents destroyed, but the faithful still showed up at a surviving church to celebrate the Feast of St. Anthony. Months later, it was discovered that the lilies which had adorned the church at that feast were still fresh. Let the lilies beautify your house, or carry them with you, or press them in a book, etc. If your priest doesn't bless lilies, you can still use them non-sacramentally to remind you of one of the greatest Saints ever.

The Formula of Blessing

To the best of my knowledge, the new Book of Blessings does not have a formula for the blessing of St. Anthony's Lilies. The Vatican, however, has ruled that where the new Book of Blessings lacks a blessing, we may use the blessing found in the Tridentine Roman Ritual (cf. Directory of Popualr Piety and the Liturgy, footnote 309). This blessing is as follows:

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, the Creator and preserver of the human race, the lover of holy purity, the giver of supernatural grace, and the dispenser of everlasting salvation; bless + these lilies which we, your humble servants, present to you today as an act of thanksgiving and in honor of St. Anthony, your confessor, and with a request for your blessing. Pour out on them, by the saving sign + of the holy cross, your dew from on high. You in your great kindness have given them to man, and endowed them with a sweet fragrance to lighten the burden of the sick. Therefore, let them be filled with such power that, whether they are used by the sick, or kept in homes or other places, or devoutly carried on one's person, they may serve to drive out evil spirits, safeguard holy chastity, and turn away illness--all this through the prayers of St. Anthony--and finally impart to your servants grace and peace; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Then he sprinkles the lilies with holy water, saying:

Sprinkle me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

P: Pray for us, St. Anthony.

All: That we may be worthy of Christ's promise.

Let us pray.

We beg you, O Lord, that your people may be helped by the constant and devout intercession of Blessed Anthony, your illustrious confessor. May he assist us to be worthy of your grace in this life, and to attain everlasting joys in the life to come; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

After this the lilies are distributed to the people.

What You Need:
Print off the above blessing and take it with you to church (Father will not have a copy, probably). BYOL. (Bring Your Own Lilies). After Mass, meet up with Father in the Sacristy. Not too hard, huh?

Maybe next year, Father may even be inspired to have the parish perform this devotion officially for everyone who attends daily Mass on St. Anthony's feast.

An Appeal
Not to be tacky, but please spread the word! If you're interested in creating a renewal of Catholic Identity, of intercession to the saints, and of all that is P.O.D., please link to this blessing -- let's see if we can get a good number of people to restore it in their parishes this year. Why not?

I can keep posting practices of similar ilk if people express interest.

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