Saint Anthony of Egypt

 

saint anthony the abbot
Saint Anthony the Abbot and Donors, 15th c (Provenance unknown) Museu Nacional d’ Art de Catalunya, Spain

 

Early on in my conversion the Lord placed in my heart the desire to learn about the Desert Fathers. I read about the life of Saint Anthony the Great, also called St. Anthony of Egypt, whose feast day we celebrate today. He became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism. Along the way, I also learned about the Desert Mothers and the vast treasure of information they have left to us through their words and written instructions for our spiritual formation. I learned about them through books, films, and talking to spiritual mentors. That period of my life came before I joined my Lay Carmelite community. I had this deep intense desire to learn more about the lives of these champions of the faith—the Desert Fathers and Mothers . Their lives and wisdom were so inspiring to me. At one point I felt a deep calling to go to the desert, to live in solitude for awhile. I didn’t understand why I felt this intense calling in my heart. I did ask the Lord, how can this be possible? I’m married and have children. I live in the world but I felt I was not part of it, everything was a distraction to me. I had this constant desire of being alone with God. Little did I know that the Lord was calling me to be part of the spiritual family of Lay Carmelites. It wasn’t clear to me at that time, God was transforming me and preparing me for that. I began to attend spiritual retreats regularly, and found myself immerse in His presence all the time. My soul was being fed and my relationship with God grew stronger every day. Later on I found this treasure of infinite grace in Carmel. He was leading me by the hand to His own garden, to His solitude, to His heart. So then I can live in the world—in the ‘market place’ and by His grace reflect His light to others.
Praise the Lord forever! To Him be the glory for ever and ever!

Here I share a short documentary of Father Lazarus, a Coptic monk living in solitude inspired by the life of Saint Anthony The Great. The cave he lives is very close in proximity of St. Antony’s cave and Saint Anthony’s monastery in Egypt.
I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

“The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and to conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

“When you close the doors to your dwelling and are alone you should know that there is present with you the angel whom God has appointed for each man…This angel, who is sleepless and cannot be deceived, is always present with you; he sees all things and is not hindered by darkness. You should know, too, that with him is God, who is in every place; for there is no place and nothing material in which God is not, since He is greater than all things and holds all men in His hand.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

“One who knows oneself, knows God: and one who knows God is worthy to worship Him as is right. Therefore, my beloveds in the Lord, know yourselves.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

Saint Anthony the Great, pray for us and the whole world!

 

 

 

Vo Väzení (In Prison)

 

“God has saved me many times. He was really merciful to me. He turned all my difficulties, illnesses, even my imprisonment into great spiritual values. He is able to turn human muck into spiritual treasure.” ~ Ladislav Záborský 

 

Vo Vazeni (In Prison)
Art by Ladislav Záborský (1921-2016)

 

A much-admired Catholic painter of religious themes, Ladislav Záborský arguably most famous canvas, that of Christ as a Worker, was first shown at an exhibition in Košice in March and April 1949. Before long, it became widely known throughout Slovakia. Záborský’s success also became the source of his difficulties with the State Security apparatus. His painting was declared corrupt and a ban was imposed on the further depiction of Christ as a worker. His situation steadily worsened, and in June 1954 he was accused of treason and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. On Christmas day in 1957 he was conditionally freed. Once in his own home he lost little time in transcribing from memory poems he has composed without pen or paper while in Valdice prison. A small collection of these was published in Zvolen, Slovakia, in 2003 under the title Združenie Jas (Association of Light). Since 1957 he has had a highly productive career as a religious artist and a designer of stained-glass windows for churches, primarily in eastern Slovakia.

~ An excerpt from the book ‘The walls behind the curtain’ by Harold B. Segel

 

“… such nice thoughts just like the Holy Spirit had inspired me and dictated those words to me, so I wanted to write them down. I borrowed some soap and soaped the outer side of my basin. I also borrowed a comb and broke one tooth of it. I was afraid that they could catch me. I wrote my poems on the outer side of basin, you know, since it was soaped it glinted in the light under the window and I had only a couple of hours to memorise it because days were short and some of my poems were almost two pages in length. In my opinion, it was a miracle that I managed to memorise it so quickly and word by word. Then I recited those poems every day because I didn’t want to forget even one word and to break their rhythms.”
~ Ladislav Záborský

 

Vo Vazeni (In Prison)
Art by Ladislav Záborský (1921-2016)

 

Vo väzení (In Prison)

That I sit here alone and do not hear the voice of culture?
It is not so entirely empty here.
I am, after all, the hero in a great theater
the director of which is God himself.
I also have a film showing any time:
I just have to turn on the living spring of my imagination,
because I have in my head a projector of many films.
The most beautiful books are human souls
in which beneath the surface flows a strange life.
I even have a radio in this empty cell of mine,
when the voice of God reads in my soul and awakens feelings
with open arms.
Because heaven broadcasts continuously throughout the entire world,
you merely have to listen and know how to understand.

~ A poem by Ladislav Záborský, translated from Slovak by Harold B. Segel

 

Vo Vazeni (In Prison)
Art by Ladislav Záborský (1921-2016)

 

“Five months in the isolation cell were for me spiritual exercise. Board and accommodation were assured. Exercitation was led by the Holy Spirit. He dictated me those poems. I wrote them down as rapidly as possible and until night I learnt them by heart. Those poems helped me live in jail.”
~ Ladislav Záborský

 

Matthew 5: 11-12