12 Letters of St. Anthony
Among many literary genres, letters are likely to reflect the most faithfully the author’s soul. This epistolary style is characterized by its naturalness and freedom of expression. In letters, a writer’s soul presents itself as it truly is, with all its self-possession and worries, with all its joys and sorrows, and with all its virtues and vices. “The style is the man himself,” as Dionysius of Halicarnassus rightly observes.
In letters, one finds the most authentic reflection of a person, since they reveal his likings, or his delicateness, or his natural harshness, or his being engrossed in self-love, or his love for God and his neighbor. It is so with St. Anthony Mary’s letters. His corpus epistolarum unveils all this, and more so, his true character as a Saint.
We have to admit, with deep regrets, that the Sons and Daughters of St. Paul–the Barnabite Fathers and the Angelic Sisters–have recovered only 12 letters of their Founder, St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria. Nonetheless, these letters are already a profusion of what we should know of the Saint, of the nature of his soul, and of his great spirituality.
St. Anthony Mary’s soul and heart was simple as that of St. Paul, his spiritual father. St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” became for St. Anthony Mary and his followers: the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabites), the Angelic Sisters of St. Paul, and the Laity of St. Paul, an impetus and a great inspiration in their life and mission in the world.
The Letters have been recorded in Polish, and now in English. In these letters you are about to listen to, you won’t notice any of a forced style, or even the effects of imagination or pure rhetoric. It’s only truth–simple and straightforward truth–expressed with warmth, compassion, and a great sensitivity.
It is my utmost desire and prayer that through this recording St. Anthony Mary may inspire you to fall into a deeper love relationship with Jesus Christ, so that, as St. Anthony Mary himself wished, “you may become great saints,” being “well equipped to reach this goal."
Fr. Robert B. Kosek, CRSP
The audio version of the above introduction to the CD
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Audio recording of the Letters to Battista Soresina.
The letter to Battista Soresina:
Sweet son in Christ,
Why are you so faint-hearted and full of fear? Don't you know that we cannot forsake you? By experience you should be well aware of the help given to you.
We have prayed Jesus Crucified. We do not want any one thing from Him, unless He grants you the same, to your mind and heart.
That's all, but rest assured that we will keep our word.
May Christ greet you on our behalf. Please keep us in your prayers.
Christ bless you,
Father in Christ,
Anthony Mary, Priest,
I, P[aola] A[ntonia Negri]