The toughest crowd for a preacher...
A good number of priests were present that day. Many of them were very educated.
But nobody had been assigned to preach the sermon and now that they were all gathered together, nobody wanted to preach. "I haven't anything prepared," was the common excuse.
No doubt many of them felt intimidated at the thought of speaking off-the-cuff in front of such a highly educated (and likely critical) assembly.
Embarrassed and desperate, the meeting organizer turned to a quiet young priest who had recently come from Portugal.
The young man was so quiet, they were not sure how intelligent he was (besides, he was a foreigner).
But there was a holiness about him, so the organizer took a gamble and told him to preach whatever the Spirit of God might put into his mouth.
Very soon, everyone else's mouths would be hanging open in astonishment.
Word quickly reached the founder of Anthony's religious community (the community was very new - less than 20 years old at the time) who then assigned Anthony to teaching and preaching.
Anthony would become widely known as a powerful preacher, a worker of miracles, and even a Doctor of the Church - fulfilling very well the assignment that had been personally given him by St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Anthony died in Padua, Italy, at the age of 36 on this very day in 1231.
(from an earlier post)