Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 17 January

statue of Saint Anthony the Abbot; date and artist unknown; Gandesa, Spain; photographed on 17 January 2015 by Marc Jornet Niella; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsSaint Antony, Patriarch of Hermits.

At the age of eighteen Saint Antony distributed all his goods to the poor and went to bury himself in the desert of Egypt, in order to be more free to strive after perfection. There he suffered severe attacks and the most extraordinary persecutions from the evil one, but these seemed only to increase his progress. Like an industrious bee, he went about visiting the neighboring hermits, in order to gather from them, as from among so many flowers, the honey of devotion. He learned humility from one, from another patience; from this one prudence and from another compunction of heart. His prayer during the silence of the night was so sweet that in the morning, recalled by the rising sun to his daily occupations, he cried out: “O sun, why hast thou come to interrupt me?” It was he also who said, speaking of perfect prayer: “He who is conscious that he prays does not as yet pray perfectly.” His virtues made such an impression on the other solitaries that even during his lifetime they called him Saint Antony the Great. He died at the age of one hundred and five years (356). Saint Augustine, on reading his life, exclaimed: “What! the ignorant seize on the Kingdom of Heaven, and we with our soulless knowledge still wallow in flesh and blood.” Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas Aquinas both delighted in reading his life – a fact which caused their influence on their religious and even on seculars to show a beautiful reflection of the life of the Thebaid and to breathe forth its perfume.

Prayer

O great model of contemplative prayer, obtain for us great fervor in our morning meditations!

Practice

Close your eyes to the faults of your neighbor and be eager to imitate his virtues.