St. Anthony's Life began with Mary
St. Anthony is titled the Evangelical Doctor, Wonder-Worker and Hammer of Heretics; but more importantly he is renowned for his personal holiness. His sanctity and wisdom flowed from his profound, penetrating love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Heroically he followed the Poverello of Assisi, St. Francis, whose tender love for the poor, humble Virgin was comparable only to that of Christ Himself. As a true friar minor St. Anthony praised and glorified the Queen of the Angels from the pulpit, where with simple yet lofty doctrine he moved multitudes to savor the sweet name of Mary. Furthermore, he imitated Her with such perfection that he became, as it were, an extension of the Virgin Mother on earth.
From the outset his life was markedly Marian, being born in Lisbon on the feast of the Assumption, August 15th, 1195 A. D., and baptized in the Church of St. Mary in Lisbon. At the age of 15 he completed his studies at the Cathedral School of St. Mary. Appropriately his earthly life, ever pure and humble, was brought to a close in a similar Marian tone, for when death drew nigh he longed to be taken to the St. Mary, Mother of God Friary in Padua. After receiving Extreme Unction he intoned his favorite hymn, "O gloriosa Domina..." (O glorious Lady). He lived and died with the Virgin Mary on his lips and in his heart.
St. Anthony's Faith in Jesus Christ overflowed in Devotion to Mary
His devotion was founded on the solid foundation of Catholic doctrine, as all true devotion is. Consequently he has left the Church with a wealth of Mariological insight in his sermons. Reflecting upon the doctrines about our Blessed Lady through the eyes of St. Anthony one realizes with him that "in Her were gathered all the privileges of merits and rewards."
In 431 A. D. the Catholic Church at the Council of Ephesus proclaimed that since Jesus Christ is the second Person of the most Holy Trinity, that is, a divine Person, Mary can rightly be called "Mother of God" (Theotokos). St. Anthony maintains that as Jesus was "designated Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness..." (Rm. 1:4), so Mary "is designated as Mother of God in power according to the spirit of holiness." For him Mary was designated, predestined from all eternity, to receive this singular grace...
...his devotion to the poor, humble Virgin led him to perfectly imitate and mirror Her in Her poverty, littleness and purity of Heart. He became, as it were, the presence of Mary in the world by his holy life. Because he had been wholly **transformed into 'another' Mary, **who "always had Her mind raised straight up to God in the contemplation of heavenly things," so he merited to hold and adore the divine Infant with his own arms.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is the Feast of St. Anthony and I was happy to find this article on His special love for Mary. The full article can be read [HERE]("http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/ANTHMARY.HTM")