St. Anthony of Egypt
St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Bishop) was the very first person in history to write about a living saint. He wrote about him and learned from him during one of his five exiles. St. Anthony was born in Egypt from 251- 356 A.D. His family was from a well-known family around the city. He was a pious young man and learned the way of God from his parents. He never was known for disobeying his parents and he always loved going into church. When his parents died, he inherited land and a large wealth of money. One day while thinking about how to become a much holier person, he heard the Gospel of Matthew 19:21- Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Upon hearing these words, he sold everything he owned and gave a large sum of money for his sister and left her with some trusty holy women. St. Anthony went into the deserts of Egypt and went to find the holiest men and learned from them. He also was a believer of 2 Thess 3:10– “if a man will not work, neither let him eat” He was a believer in hard work and tried his best to learn from the holy men and thought about Christ always.
What my patron Saint is well known for is his personal battles with the devil and his demons. The devil hated this young man who was trying to live a holy life. He used to tempt him with the thought that trying to live a religious life was hard, that he needed to go back to his riches and have many women and remember how good it was being a rich Egyptian. St. Anthony trusted in the Word of God and didn’t give in to the temptation. When he didn’t buckle, he then tormented St. Anthony in his dreams at night and gave him many spiritual struggles during the day. He prayed and fast to overcome these temptations. The devil even came in a form of a woman to deceive St. Anthony at night, he aroused feeling in him, but he remembered the sacred scriptures of Mark 9:43 “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.” The devil was angry that he couldn’t deceived such a young man. He told Anthony, that he was the Spirit of Fornication and that he has deceived many youths, but you I couldn’t conquer. St. Anthony rebuke the tempter “The Lord is my helper, and I will despise my enemies” Ps. 117:7. The spirits at once fled upon hearing these Holy words.
St. Anthony was aware that temptation never stopped. They will always continue in a different form. He hardens himself with fasting and praying and meditation on the Living Words of God from Scripture. The devil was afraid that his holiness would bring many more people to God and flood the desert with monks. He launched an all-out physical attack against St. Anthony that nearly left him for dead. His friend carried him back into the cave and the demons appeared to him in forms of animals and howled and hissed at him. The Lord came as a beam of light and chase the devils away from him. St. Anthony asked the Lord “Where were thou? Why didn’t thou not show Thyself from the beginning, to end my suffering? The voice came to him “I was here, Anthony, but I waited to see thy resistance. Therefore, since thou hast endured and not yielded, I will always be they Helper, and I will make thee renowned everywhere” Hearing these words he aroused and prayed. He felt more power in his body.
St. Anthony was given many graces by the Lord God. He interceded for people who came and asked him for prayers. He prayed for a girl who was very ill, and she was restored to full health. He prayed to the Lord for men who were possessed by demons and they were freed by The Mercy of Jesus Christ. Many other miracles happened around him. He taught his monks around him on how to test the spirits of they are from the Lord or if they are evil. Now a days, it is recommended to say the Divine Praises. The enemy can’t stand the praises to Jesus and especially to his Mother Mary. St. Anthony is a good role model on how to prepare oneself for spiritual warfare. As St. Paul the Apostle said many years before St. Anthony in Ephesians 6:10-19 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”
Let us now ask St. Anthony’s intercession before our Lord. Father, we ask that you teach us to surrender ourselves to you completely and without reserve. Let us, like St. Anthony give up things that take away our mind, hearts and souls away from you. May we learn from the Holy Bible and may we use the sacred words to fight back against the tempter. Grant us the grace to endure all temptations and become more stronger in love and in faith for you. May you hear our prayers and grant us healing of Mind and Body. May you free us from the attack of the devil. In the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen!
God Bless you all,