|2 years ago :: Jan 17, 2011 - 12:38PM #1|
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,
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.
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
-- Matthew 13: 44