Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
If you follow the liturgical calendar, you will know that we commemorate the pillars of the faith that have gone before us. By remembering and celebrating the contributions of other Christians our lives of faith are enhanced.
On this Tuesday in January, the seventeenth. We commemorate the life of “Antony of Egypt, renewer of the church.” Antony went to be with Christ around 356. Antony is definitely worth remembering.
Antony was born in lower Egypt to wealthy landowning parents. When Antony’s parents passed, they entrusted to him a vast estate. This is the way things go, blessings and responsibilities are often passed from one generation to the next.
But something astonishing happened to Antony. It is said that he was walking past a Christian church when he heard an exhortation from the Gospel of Matthew, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” It was an epiphany for Antony, a powerful moment of conversion. And, he did just what the Gospel suggested. He passed along his assets and embraced a life of Christian simplicity.
There were periods of intense solitude, and then there were seasons when Antony offered instruction to the faithful that had gathered around him. As one of the “Desert Fathers,” Antony made a lasting contribution to Christian spirituality that is still an influence in our time.
Now, there are very few of us, who could even consider such a radical departure from our everyday lives. And yet, each of us could pause and ask, “Lord, what do I have to share today?” It seems like such a simple question, but it could reshape the trajectory of your whole day and end up being a lasting blessing to others.
Thanks for the encouragement, Antony. Start small, persevere, and by the grace of God the results might just surprise you.
Question for reflection: Who are some of the other pillars of faith from whom you have received inspiration?
Yours in Christ,
God of light and life, may we ever treasure the faithful that have gone before us. May their patience, perseverance, and wisdom be a source of encouragement and inspiration as we make our way through these adventurous lives of discipleship. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.