Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Awe of St. Antony of Egypt

Since reading Bennett's The Apostasy That Wasn't over Christmas, I've felt drawn to the example of St. Antony of Egypt (also known as St. Antony the Abbot). Here was a man who followed Christ with all of the fire of the Apostles - abandoning wealth and the complacent Christianity of Alexandria, to seek Christ amidst fasting, physical labor, the acquisition of virtue, and constant prayer in the desert. He sought Jesus in solitude; but when the Lord sent him disciples, Antony shared his way of life with them. And when the Spirit stirred him to reenter society and face-down the Church's persecutors, Antony obediently went. He was instrumental in molding God's faithful soldier, Athanasius.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at today's readings and discovered that it was this great man's feast. I am celebrating by reading St. Athanasius' biography of Antony. The PDF is available here. Like most ancient books (Athanasius wrote c. 360), it is a relatively quick read - 80 pages. I hope you'll give it a look; I bet you'll be hooked within the first five pages. I particularly love the way that Athanasius continually reminds us that it was Christ accomplishing all these things in Antony.

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