Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Christians We Should Know: Antony of Egypt (356 AD)

saint-anthony-the-abbot-00.jpgAntony was born on the southern borders of Egypt 230 A.D. and lived to the age of 105. When he was 18 yeas old his parents died and, upon hearing hearing in the church the words of Jesus, "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast" (Matt. 19:31), he obeyed the command literally. Renouncing the world, he went live as a hermit in a lonely place in an empty tomb. There he faced many temptations and wrestled with et forces of evil. When he was 35 he retired to a more desolate spot on a mountain and spent twenty years there "without seeing the face of man."

Gradually, however, as his fame grew, disciples gathered around him and he moved to a less isolated place near the Red Sea, where he spent the rest of his life. He gained a reputation also through healing many sick people who came to him. On two occasions he went in to Alexandria, once to encourage the Christians under persecution. and once to preach against the Arians.

Though Anthony was not the first Christian hermit, he exercised such a tremendous influence that he is usually regarded as the founder of that great factor in the history of the Christian Church, the monastic movement. Not everyone is called to a life of enunciation like Antony; it is a matter of vocation. But his example reminds us that each one of us should consider whether it is his or her vocation: "Is God calling me to a life of celibacy, poverty and devotion?"

There is, certainly a need and room for this kind of vocation among the members of our own church. Let us pray that those whom God does call to this way of life may have the grace to hear and obey his voice, whatever the cost.

Source: Great Christians Commemorated by the Indian Church by R.W. Bryan

No comments: