Jan. 17: ST. ANTHONY THE ABBOT.
The beautiful story of his vocation.
Called the Patriarch of Monks, St. Anthony (251-356) retired to the desert when he was eighteen years old. He was the first abbot to form a stable rule for his family of monks dedicated to the divine Service. He led an austere life which was always consciously directed to the better service of God.
May the example of Saint Anthony Abbot, the distinguished Father of monasticism who worked hard for May the example of St Anthony Abbot, the distinguished Father of monasticism who worked hard for the Church by supporting martyrs during the persecution, encourage you, dear young people, to seek Christ constantly and follow him faithfully; may it comfort you, dear sick people, in bearing your suffering patiently and in offering it up so that the Kingdom of God may be spread throughout the world; and may it help you, dear newly-weds, to be witnesses of Christ’s love in your family life.Pope Benedict XVI (January 16, 2008)
St. Anthony receives his vocation
From St. Athanasius
Not six months after his parents’ death, as he was on his way to church for his usual visit, he began to think of how the apostles had left everything and followed the Saviour, and also of those mentioned in the book of Acts who had sold their possessions and brought the apostles the money for distribution to the needy. He reflected too on the great hope stored up in heaven for such as these. This was all in his mind when, entering the church just as the Gospel was being read, he heard the Lord’s words to the rich man: If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor – you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me. When Anthony was about eighteen or twenty years old, his parents died, leaving him with an only sister. He cared for her as she was very young, and also looked after their home.
It seemed to Anthony that it was God who had brought the saints to his mind and that the words of the Gospel had been spoken directly to him. Immediately he left the church and gave away to the villagers all the property he had inherited, about 200 acres of very beautiful and fertile land, so that it would cause no distraction to his sister and himself. He sold all his other possessions as well, giving to the poor the considerable sum of money he collected. However, to care for his sister he retained a few things.
The next time he went to church he heard the Lord say in the Gospel: Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Without a moment’s hesitation he went out and gave the poor all that he had left. He placed his sister in the care of some well-known and trustworthy virgins and arranged for her to be brought up in the convent. Then he gave himself up to the ascetic life, not far from his own home. He kept a careful watch over himself and practised great austerity. He did manual work because he had heard the words: If anyone will not work, do not let him eat. He spent some of his earnings on bread and the rest he gave to the poor. Having learned that we should always be praying, even when we are by ourselves, he prayed without ceasing. Indeed, he was so attentive when Scripture was read that nothing escaped him and because he retained all he heard, his memory served him in place of books.
Seeing the kind of life he lived, the villagers and all the good men he knew called him the friend of God, and they loved him as both son and brother.
Let us pray.
O God, who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert, grant, through his intercession, that, denying ourselves, we may ever love you above all things. Through our Lord.
PHOTO CREDIT: Maino_San_Antonio_Abad._Museo_del_Prado.jpg from wikimedia commons
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo