Friday January 17 was the feast of Saint Anthony of the Desert.(often spelled "Antony") Born around 250,
|St. Anthony of Egypt|
Besides just enjoying the biography on my own, I've had the pleasure of reading this story many times with new candidates in my role as novice master . Anthony was, among other things, a spiritual warrior who deliberately picked fights with the demons in tombs and in desert places, knowing that the demons are actually powerless in the face of Christ's resurrection.
But when I had to give the homily at our community mass on Anthony's feast day, I bypassed the powerful monastic spirituality dimension and dwelt instead on an image that is both very personal and very powerful.
ALL WHO ARE THIRSTY...
When I got to the monastery I asked what those people were doing down by the gate. "Ah si, padre; la sequía!" "It's the drought!" I learned that the lack of rain had plunged the country into a serious water shortage. People's wells were drying up, so they came to the monastery to get water.
That image struck me at the time and has stayed with me ever since: Thirsty people coming to the monastery hoping to get the water they so desperately needed.
Saint Anthony of Egypt attracted lots of visitors. Even when he moved deep into the desert people would make the dangerous journey to come and see him looking for advice and various kinds of help and healing.
LIVING IN THE DESERTDowntown Newark is not a desert in the geographical sense, but it is in many ways a wilderness.Every day
I feel privileged to be part of this little group of monks who sing psalms to the tune of sirens and honking horns, and who, simply by our presence, provide our sisters and brothers with a little water in the wilderness.