A mesmerising digital reconstruction of the saint's visage reminds us what it means to be human

Today is the feast-day of St Anthony of Padua. I have just been watching a riveting YouTube clip about him on Rome Reports, entitled “What did St Anthony of Padua look like? 3D technology gives us a glimpse” (embedded below). Why did I find it so interesting? Because instead of the normal physical process of human decay, when a skull becomes a potent “memento mori”, a reminder to us all that “we are dust and unto dust we shall return” as the liturgy puts it, modern digital reconstruction has taken St Anthony’s skull and brought it back to life, so to speak.

Through the wonders of modern science and technology, you can watch the skull, with its empty eye sockets, cranium, jaws and teeth, start to form St Anthony’s face and head: flesh on bone, individual features, personhood: in its way this moving clip put me in mind of the resurrection of the body, that we believe in and pray in the Creed at Mass, when body and soul will be reunited forever with God in the life of the world to come.