What appears to be harsh.

“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.”

-St. Anthony the Great, 251-356

We are commemorating St. Anthony today, which prompted me to read a little about him. I learned about this book that looks like basic reading:

“The Life of the famed ascetic Saint Anthony the Great was written by Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. This is the first biography of a saint who was not a martyr, and is considered to be one of the finest of Saint Athanasius’ writings. Saint John Chrysostom recommends that this Life be read by every Christian.”

And one sentence from the story of his life jumped out at me:

“Saint Anthony spent twenty years in complete isolation
and constant struggle with the demons,
and he finally achieved perfect calm.”

Pray for us, Holy Father Anthony!

3 thoughts on “What appears to be harsh.

  1. Isn’t it interesting to remember those who have endured, even sought, isolation, now that we are in this current context? Nearly a year ago I was thinking about Patrick’s years on Slemish, and here we still are. One of my readings this week was from Hebrews – on the Lord’s discipline. Your reading here also fits very well with our minister’s series on Sunday mornings this month. He seems to be heavily convicted about our sin and great need to repent. It is a hard message to hear, and recover from, but Isaiah 40 and your “perfection of the soul” are helping x


  2. We have been studying Abraham, Sarah and Isaac’s faith journey. It’s awesome to see how Abraham’s faith had developed through trials and tests. Abraham would never have gotten a foot hold in the Promised Land if he hadn’t needed a burial plot for his wife Sarah. On this side of the Cross we can see nothing is possible without God!


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