ST. ANTHONY was born in the year 251, in Upper Egypt. Hearing at Mass the words, "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor," he gave away all his vast possessions. He then begged an aged hermit to teach him the spiritual life. He also visited various solitaries, copying in himself the principal virtue of each. To serve God more perfectly, Antony entered the desert and immured himself in a ruin, building up the door so that none could enter. Here the devils assaulted him most 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, whilst Antony was in his solitude, many devils scourged him so terribly that he lay as if dead. A friend found him thus, and believing him dead carried him home. But when Antony came to himself he persuaded his friend to carry him, in spite of his wounds, back 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 Antony in glory. His 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. Many souls flocked to him for advice, and after twenty years of solitude he consented to guide them in holiness—thus founding the first monastery. His numerous miracles attracted such multitudes that he fled again into solitude, where he lived by manual labor. He expired peacefully at a very advanced age. St. Athanasius, his biographer, says that the mere knowledge of how St. Antony lived is a good guide to virtue.
Reflection. —The more violent were the assaults of temptation suffered by St. Antony, the more firmly did he grasp his weapons, namely, mortification and prayer. Let us imitate him in this if we wish to obtain victories like his.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Introit • Ps. 36, 30, 31
The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of his God is in his heart (P.T. Alleluia, alleluia.) Ps. 36, 1. Be not emulous of evil-doers; nor envy them that work iniquity. Gory be …
May the intercession of the blessed abbot Anthony, commend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that what we can not attain by our own deserts we may attain through his patronage. Through our Lord.
Epistle • Ecclus. 45, 1-6
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom.
[The praises of Moses, of Aaron, and of Phinees.]
He was beloved of God, and men: whose memory is in benediction; He made him like the saints in glory, and magnified him in the fear of his enemies; and with his words he made prodigies to cease. He glorified him in the sight of kings, and gave him commandments in the sight of his people, and shewed him his glory; He sanctified him in his faith, and meekness, and chose him out of all flesh; for He heard him, and his voice, and brought him into a cloud; and He gave him commandments before his face, and a law of life and instructions.
Gradual • Ps. 20, 4, 5
O Lord, Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. He asked life of Thee, and Thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
Alleluia, alleluia. Ps. 91, 13. The just shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus. Alleluia.
Gospel • Luke 12, 35-40
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[Christ admonishes all to watch and be ready for His Coming.]
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands, and you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding: that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately.
Blessed are those servants whom the lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: amen I say to you that he will gird himself and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then also ready, for at what hour you think not the Son of Man will come.
Offertory • Ps. 20, 4, 3
Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, O Lord, and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. (P.T. alleluia.)
May the holy abbot Anthony, we beseech Thee, O Lord, pray that the sacrifices laid upon the sacred altars may avail for our salvation. Through our Lord.
Communion • Luke 12, 42
A faithful and wise steward, whom the Lord hath set over His family; to give them their measure of wheat in due season. (P.T. Alleluia.)
Together with the reception of Thy sacrament, O Lord, may the blessed abbot Anthony, protect us by interceding for us, that we may put into practice the virtues of his life and partake of the power of his intercession. Through our Lord.