Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Holy Seculars

#1. It was revealed to Abba Anthony in his desert that there was one who was his equal in the city. He was a doctor by profession and whatever he had beyond his needs he gave to the poor, and every day he sang the Sanctus with the angels. (Anthony #24 in Sayings of the Desert Fathers)

10 Comments:

Blogger atgnatus said...

What was it about this that touched you?

2:44 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

St. Anthony was the founder of Christian Monasticism. He helped St. Athanasius fight the heretics. He had the "divine light" thing going for him. He routined performed miracles, etc.


And yet, here is his "equal" -- a fellow who does nothing that we cannot do today, at least theoretically.

As for "singing the Sanctus with the angels", my interpretation of that was that he followed some early Christian guidelines for the laity regarding prayer, fasting, attendance at Mass/Divine Liturgy, etc.

Other than that, he simply chose a profession where he was helping people and gave all his money away.

Obviously the deal-killer is the "all his money away." I imagine a Christian could be persuaded to give 10% (the tithe), but to give all the money you don't actually need ... eek. Define "need." My impression is that this doctor lived rather modestly.

Since I am not a monk and not likely to become one, I'm very interested in how someone became the equal of St. Anthony though not a monk.

3:01 PM  
Blogger atgnatus said...

I'm glad I asked because that is an excellent and very relevant question.

The Sanctus is the part of the Mass that goes "Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" http://www.adoremus.org/0305SantusBells.html

The Sanctus is part of what used to be called the Ordinary of the Mass - the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus and Agnus.

"singing the Sanctus with the angels" might mean that his praise was equal to the praise of the angels. In "The Way of the Pilgrim", the Pilgrim and his wife did a 1000 prostrations every night at home just as a normal Russian Orthodox couple (pre Jesus Prayer). So, it is safe to assume this doctor had what we would consider an extensive regime of prayer and study.

Which is the crux. We can argue what is meant by "needs" but the average Joe back then (and average Roman Catholic or Orthodox peasant through the 19th Century) had a daily routine of devotion that far exceeds anything that we are talking about. I'll post some examples when I get home but saying morning and evening prayers, fasting and reading the Bible everyday is the least of what pre 20th Century Christians did.

We live in the Age of Baal. Our views of personal devotion are warped and diminished by that. That is the spiritual void we are trying to fill and why we are drawn to the ancient Church. 21st Century Christianity is far beyond Christianity Lite.

5:31 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

Pretty funny that as a new Catholic I didn't know what the Sanctus was, and my attempt to google it left me none the wiser. Should have known to check out adoremus.

The thing is ... to the extent that anything at all good came out of Vatican 2, it would be that the Roman Catholic Church had too many rules that were minor embellishments grafted on to basic rules that originally made sense.

I mean (and I probably have the details wrong but the spirit of the example is correct) I think that when you genuflect regularly, your right knee is to go down, unless you are genuflecting to a Pope or a bishop in which case it is your left knee. Or something like that.

Too many rules!

Nothing is wrong with simple and severe rules (1000 prostrations, etc) ... its just the clutter of rules that is unnecessarily daunting.

8:52 PM  
Blogger xofezura said...

I'll put up a revised minimum so we can try for a consensus ...

8:53 PM  
Blogger atgnatus said...

"every day he sang Sanctus with the angels" The early monastics considered themselves Christians selected to live the life of angels

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