Thursday, December 18, 2014
Anthony Grassi was born in 1592, in Fermo, Italy. Anthony was the oldest child of five born to a devout middle class family. He was a congenial and clever boy, who was well-liked by his teachers and peers. Anthony’s father died when he was only ten and afterwards, Anthony suffered a long illness. When he recovered, he began frequenting the local church of the Oratorian Fathers (founded by St. Philip Neri), joining the religious order when he was 17.
Anthony's love of learning made his studies for the priesthood a pleasurable time in his life. His excellent memory made it possible for him to acquire an extensive knowledge of the Bible, the Fathers of the Church, and the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He was a like a “walking encyclopedia” of Catholic information.
Each year, Anthony made a pilgrimage to the holy house of Loreto, which was only twenty miles away. On one such visit in 1621 at age 29, he was struck by lightning and knocked unconscious. He received the anointing of the sick and the doctors gave him little hope of healing. But God had other plans. Anthony was completely cured through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and from that time on, he acknowledged his total dependence on God and strived to dedicate himself completely to His Will.
Blessed Anthony was known for visiting the sick and the dying. He knew that nothing in this life is permanent, that there is no point in trying to find our complete happiness here, but that we must seek it from God in heaven. In 1671, as Blessed Anthony lay dying he said with great joy, "What a beautiful thing it is to die a son of Saint Philip."
“He who loves Our Lord Jesus Christ must desire to be with Him…the more we conform ourselves to His example the more perfect will be our lives.” -- Blessed Anthony Grassi