Today the church remembers Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356.Many young men of the third-century world despaired of their decaying, materialistic, and licentious society. In Egypt many fled into the desert in protest and for their own souls" health. Sometimes their behavior became almost as bizarre and unbalanced as the behavior of those from whom they fled. This was not true of Antony. Antony"s quiet and well-ordered life of devotion in the desert stood out in contrast both to the wickedness of the contemporary world and the eccentricities of some other hermits. He gave away all his possessions to the poor and thereby freed himself from the demands of property. Still, he found that he had to fight a seemingly endless battle against his personal passions and temptations. He helped fellow Christian hermits to organize their lives in meaningful patterns of prayer, work, and meditation. His own solitude was frequently interrupted by his concern for the secular church and by requests for counseling. He was a friend to Athanasius (see May 2) and his orthodoxy was unquestionable. It has been said that, “Alone in the desert, Antony stood in the midst of mankind.” Grant that the same Spirit which enabled Antony to withstand the temptations of the world may so strengthen us. Amen.
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O God, by your Holy Spirit you enabled your servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts and minds, to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.