- Thursday, 17 January 2019 08:22
Today we liturgically commemorate St. Anthony of Egypt (251-356), a holy abbot of the 3rd century, called “the father of monks”. He is the considered the founder of Christian monasticism.
What motivated Anthony to live the Gospel so radically? He heard a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus tells a rich young man, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have and give the money to the poor.” Antony heard the truth of Jesus’ teaching and saw himself as that rich young man; he immediately did exactly as Jesus instructed.
Anthony challenges the way we lead our lives viz. the challenges of the soul: “Wherever you find yourself, do not go forth from that place too quickly. Try to be patient and learn to stay in one place.”
He retired to the desert at about the age of eighteen in order to live in perfect solitude.
Anthony saw the Christian’s task as both simple and formidable: become a “lover of God” by resisting the Devil and yielding only to Christ. Are we lovers of God?
- Saturday, 17 January 2015 12:02
Today, the Church recalls the memory of Saint Antony, Abbot (251-356) ~ “Father of Monasticism”! The saint was born in Egypt: he listened to and then followed the words of the Gospel and gave all his material things to the poor. Anthony left civilization as it was known then and went into the wilderness to begin a life of penitence, living in absolute poverty, praying, meditating, and supporting himself by manual work. He suffered many temptations, both physical and spiritual, but he overcame them. As you would expect, disciples found his manner of life and teaching attractive: his wisdom, love, moderation, and holiness. He gave support to the victims of the persecutions of Diocletian, and helping Saint Athanasius in his fight against the Arians. He lived to be over a hundred years old.
Saint Anthony of the Desert taught,
“One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain. Those who are devout and whose intellect enjoys the love of God participate in the life of virtue; the ordinary intellect, however, is worldly and wavering, producing both good and evil thoughts, because it is changeful by nature and directed towards material things. But the intellect that enjoys the love of God punishes the evil which arises spontaneously because of man’s laziness.”