Saint Antony of the Desert
An introduction in honor of my godson, Elias
On the feast of Saint Antony of the Desert my godson, Elias, died.
See his story on http://www.unitypublishing.com/Newsletter/Carmella.html . In his honor I offer his story. Saint Antony was the greatest of all Christian examples of Saint Elias. Antony was very hard to offer as a web site story because his story is too long for a web site Newsletter. I have tried many times to shorten the story as presented by Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria but see no way to do so.
Antony of the Desert and Saint Ambrose have long been my two favorite Early Church Fathers because they were both somewhat extreme in whatsoever they did and this is somewhat like me in a less holy way. I present Antony first on this web site and then Saint Ambrose in what will be a long list of the stories of the Early Church Fathers.
The mother of my godson will have a new child in March to ease the pain of the loss of Elias, but nothing will replace the love and memory of this little saint. I can do nothing except to offer the prayers of our little saint to the Father in each and every Mass throughout the world for his father and mother and all his friends. In his honor I will try to give a short explanation of the life of Saint Antony in this introduction but ask, even beg my readers to download the entire story as written by Saint Athanasius and at least read it little by little for there is so much to learn in his life that strongly relates to the problems of today.
Like St. Bernard and St. Francis, Antony came from a rich family in Egypt. From the time he was a little child he could not bear anything but meditating on God. He was not interested in learning to read or write, but only in thinking and talking about God. As a result he never learned to read or write. While still a teenager his mother and father died and he was left with the care of his younger sister and the wealth of this family. Like St. Francis, he heard the Lord tell him to leave everything and follow him. He placed his sister in a convent and gave away all the vast possessions of his family. He found a cave in the mountains of Egypt, some other monks to bring him two loaves of bread a month, and entered the cave. He stayed in this cave until he was 105 years old.
He wanted nothing but to contemplate the Lord, to pray to the Lord, and to separate himself from everything of this earth. He allowed no one to visit him except for a need in charity. The demons fought him all his life, appearing as Saints, angels, good philosophers and then as lions, dogs, snakes, and even demons.
Although trying to remain hidden and unknown, he soon became the most well known Christian in the entire world. Other monks could hear the conversations he had with demons and angels even from outside the cave. People from all over the world left notes for him to pray for this or that cause and many miracles happened through his prayers.
Like Elias he confronted the pagans with miracles, the philosophers with pure logic, and the heretics with the truth of Christ learned through angels. In time his opinions were thought of the same as Christ. The Emperors sent letters to him asking his advise and console and considered him as a father.
Just like is done to Padre Pio and the Holy Father, the Arians claimed that Antony agreed with their heresy, not expecting that he would ever come forward from his cave to refute them. But the Lord informed him of this plan, and during a great Council Anthony walked into the great hall in is raged and filthy clothes to refute them and end the heresy with his defense of the Nicene Creed.
He asked that his body be hidden after his death and so even today the only relics of him are the clothes he gave away before his death. This is a summery but his real story should be read and it will change your thinking about mystics and holiness forever.
For the complete story click on The Complete story of Saint Antony.