As expressed before in the weekly schedule post, I will be post about an upcoming Feast Day on Fridays.
St. Antony of Egypt’s Feast Day is January 17, this will allow you some time to learn about Antony before his Feast, so you can celebrate it on Thursday. Antony was one of the first desert monastics, I have done a blog post on Antony before (you can read it here) you can look to that one for more information about his flight to the desert.
Today I would like to share a story from St. Athanasius about one of the visions that Antony had while in prayer. One day when Antony was preparing for a meal, around the ninth hour, he stood to pray over his food. As he started to pray, he was carried away in his spirit, so that he looked down and saw himself praying. He was guided by others through the air. But there were foul and terrible beings stationed in the air, seeking to hinder his passage. His guides resisted, the others demanded a reckoning of Antony. They started to take an account from his birth, but the guides stopped the foul beings saying, “All the time from his birth the Lord has wiped out, but from the time he became a monk and promised himself to God, you can take account.” They started to accuse Antony but proved nothing. Then Antony’s path became free and unhindered. At which point he saw himself approaching and reentering himself, so that he was Antony once more. Then forgetting to eat he spend the rest of the day and night in prayer. For he was amazed to see how many we fight against and with what great labors we have to pass through the air, and he remembered the Scripture according to the Apostle Paul, “According to the rule of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). He also remembered Paul’s exhortation to put on the armor of God. He realized also that Paul was called up to the third heaven and heard words unspeakable; whereas he was only taken up to the air and struggled until he was proved free.
Now this might seem like an odd story but it is really an encouragement, remember that it was nothing that Antony had done that proved him free, but only that Christ had wiped out all his sins before he became and monk and devoted himself to Jesus. Even after this time Jesus had wiped out the sins but he still had to give an account for what he had done with his freedom in Christ. I know that Antony was a much better Christian than I am, and it worries me a little bit that he struggled in the air, but it is encouraging to know that God gave him this vision or experience to encourage him to continue in his monastic pursuits and to reach for Christ everyday. It should also remind us to continually strive for Christ each day and to be prepared to give an account of our life in Christ. Which is Christ has made us a new being and that we are under Christ’s protection. I would also encourage you, if you have fallen in your walk with Christ or stumbled or lacked off, to get up dust yourself off and ask the Father to help you, ask Christ to encourage you and clear the path, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with energy for the journey.
Question: What do you think Antony’s Vision was about? Or what is your favorite story from Antony’s life?
Next Week: Next Friday is the Feast of The Apostle Peter, so next week’s post will be on St. Peter’s Feast Day and about Peter.