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Work and Prayer

Wisdom of the Ancient Monks

Photo by Tope A. Asokere on Pexels.com

Before Anthony of Egypt (c. 251 -356 AD) there were Christian ascetics. Men and women who practiced fasting and poverty in order to improve their trust in God. Then came Anthony and he would be known as Anthony the Great, the template for a form of religious life which drew thousands to embrace extreme ascetic practice.

Anthony, like all of us, had to learn from experience. He had to deal with setbacks and frustrations that we today feel whenever we try to achieve something that involves a long commitment. Think of being on a diet. At first it is new adventure, but soon it become tedious and dull. We long for pizza and cheeseburgers and the thought of them becomes tantalizing. The ancient monks had a term for this feeling, accidie, also known as the ‘noonday devil.’ Let us hear how Anthony…

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