As soon as you come in the door of the foyer area, there is a painting above the glass doors as you are facing into the church. It is a picture of Jesus with His hands down towards those who are sick and poor. It reminds us of how Jesus has compassion for the sick and poor. This is a place where they can come and receive consolation from our merciful Lord. So often we think of those who do not suffer as blessed. However, when we read Matthew, Chapter Five, verses three through twelve, we start to understand that it is specifically people who suffer who have God’s support.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
How comforting to know that God has not abandoned us in the darkest hours of our life. This message is the first message we get when we enter. What a sigh of relief as we enter these walls. What a sign of welcome for those who are burdened.
There are many images of Jesus as a child most people would pass up. As mentioned previously, there is the statue of Jesus and Mary by the high Altar. Then there is the statue back in the foyer of St Anthony with the child Jesus. Some people get it confused with St Francis, but it is actually St Anthony. Jesus appeared to many saints, including St Anthony, as a child. The child Jesus was always sweet and innocent, but always had a simple wisdom. The child Jesus would teach the saints many things about the spiritual life. Coming as a child always seemed to open the hearts of the saints. It helped them move beyond the all-powerful part of who God is. It allowed them to have the relationship Jesus intends for us. It makes me wonder what it would be like to be able to hold the child Jesus in your arms.