Well, since Villeguillo on the Camino Madrid when I joined the water spraying and coloured powder celebration of St Anthony’s feast day, I have felt a bit let down. Not for myself but for the saint. I have often prayed to him when I can’t find something, fairly often. He always delivers.
I have just read about why he is the Patron Saint of lost things. The story goes that he lost his missal and prayed for its return. Someone found it quite a while later and brought it to him. I’ve been thinking: is that all? Just a lost missal returned ?
Then I lost my toothbrush . Only a toothbrush but I have held onto it for nearly 4 weeks on this Camino. A red toothbrush which I place carefully next to me at night and pack in the top of my pack each morning, after cleaning my teeth of course. Then one night as I was checking everything was in the correct order on the chair beside my bed, I couldn’t see it. I had anxiety dreams all night. Dreams of falling into deep water, running but not moving,not being able to find a child.
I admit, I prayed to St Anthony.And behold the toothbrush reappeared, just as I was about to leave in the morning .
I relaxed. I could start on my way with my red toothbrush safely in my pack.
No longer am I questioning the importance of St Anthony’s missal in the scheme of things . The worth of an object is irrelevant. The depth of feeling attached to it is what counts. St Anthony loved and needed his missal. I need my toothbrush and am attached to it.
St Anthony understands attachment ( actually he is also patron saint of the poor and protector of children). So I’ll go on praying to him when I lose things, however insignificant that loss might seem. It’s the significance to me that counts.