In our missals today, we see honored St. Anthony the Abbot. The Gospel for today’s Mass warns us to be ready for Christ’s second coming, which was a message widely preached by St. Anthony. In addition to preparation for Christ’s coming, he also taught knowledge of oneself in order to know and love God better.
He was born a Christian in 251 in Egypt, and chose to follow Christ by imitating His poverty as a hermit, seeing almost no one. In 305 he founded a monastery, and though he did not stay with the community he founded, he did visit them sometimes and wrote to them. He also left his solitude when he was asked by St. Athanasius to preach in Alexandria against the Arians, in which Anthony succeeded, and converted many. On other occasions, he gave courage to the martyrs, founded another monastery and wrote the Emperor Constantine and his sons. Finally, in 356, at the age 105, St. Anthony died, as he had told his monks he would.
God help us to be like St. Anthony the Abbot, that we may realize that earthly wealth means nothing, that Christ will one day come again, and that he will judge us, not by what we possessed in this life, but how well we lived our lives. Help us to know ourselves, so we may come to know and love you better, just as St. Anthony taught. St. Anthony, patron of grave diggers, pray for us!
So that the Catholic reader may not be confused, the Saint’s feasts are taken from the traditional calendar, so if you follow the new calendar, this feast may not line up with the feast you may be celebrating today.
- Butler’s Lives of the Saints
- Illustrated Lives of the Saints