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7 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2011 - 12:38PM #1
Thomas A Quinas
Posts: 1,970

In addition to it being Martin Luther King Day, it is also the feastday of one of my favorite saints, St. Anthony:

To serve God more perfectly, Anthony immured himself in a ruin, building up the door so that none could enter. Here the devils assaulted him furiously, appearing as various monsters, and even wounding him severely; but his courage never failed, and he overcame them all by confidence in God and by the sign of the cross. One night, while Anthony was in his solitude, many devils scourged him so terribly that he lay as if dead. A friend found him in this condition, and believing him dead carried him home. But when Anthony came to himself he persuaded his friend to take him back, in spite of his wounds, to his solitude. Here, prostrate from weakness, he defied the devils, saying, “I fear you not; you cannot separate me from the love of Christ.” After more vain assaults the devils fled, and Christ appeared to Anthony in His glory.

Saint Anthony’s only food was bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. He wore sackcloth and sheepskin, and he often knelt in prayer from sunset to sunrise.

This portrait called "The Torment of St. Anthony" [painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)] was recently acquired by the Kimbell Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (my neck of the woods) in May of 2009.  As most of us already know, Anthony was accredited with several achievements during his several decades of service for the Church militant, including desert monasticism and defending the true faith against the Arian heretics who ran ramped during his exile.  One of my favorite readings on Athanasius is the Life of St. Anthony.  I've excerpted a paragraph under his address to monks, rendered from Coptic, exhorting them to perseverance, and encouraging them against the wiles of Satan:

35. 'When, therefore, they come by night to you and wish to tell the future, or say, we are theangels, give no heed, for they lie. Yea even if they praise your discipline and call you blessed, hear them not, and have no dealings with them; but rather sign yourselves and your houses, and pray, and you shall see them vanish. For they are cowards, and greatly fear the sign of the Lord's Cross, since of a truth in it the Saviour stripped them, and made an example of them. Colossians 2:15 But if they shamelessly stand their ground, capering and changing their forms of appearance, fear them not, nor shrink, nor heed them as though they were good spirits. For the presence either of the good or evil by the help of God can easily be distinguished. The vision of the holy ones is not fraught with distraction: For they will not strive, nor cry, nor shall any one hear their voice.But it comes so quietly and gently that immediately joy, gladness and courage arise in the soul. For the Lord who is our joy is with them, and the power of God the Father.  And the thoughts of the soul remain unruffled and undisturbed, so that it, enlightened as it were with rays, beholds by itself those who appear. For the love of what is divine and of the things to come possesses it, and willingly it would be wholly joined with them if it could depart along with them. But if, being men, some fear the vision of the good, those who appear immediately take fear away as Gabriel Luke 1:13 did in the case of Zacharias, and as the angel Matthew 28:5 did who appeared to the women at the holy sepulchre, and as He did who said to the shepherds in the Gospel, Fear not. For their fear arose not from timidity, but from the recognition of the presence of superior beings. Such then is the nature of the visions of the holyones.'

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Anthony may commend us unto thee : that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight.  Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be.. -- St. Therese of Lisieux. For applicable reads: Uniformity with God’s Will by Saint Alphonsus Liguori ... or ... Story of a Soul
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