From the Life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius, bishop
Saint Anthony receives his vocation
When Anthony was about eighteen or twenty years old, his parents died, leaving him with an only sister. He cared for her as she was very young, and also looked after their home.
Not six months after his parents’ death, as he was on his way to church for his usual visit, he began to think of how the apostles had left everything and followed the Savior, and also of those mentioned in the book of Acts who had sold their possessions and brought the apostles the money for distribution to the needy. He reflected too on the great hope stored up in heaven for such as these. This was all in his mind when, entering the church just as the Gospel was being read, he heard the Lord’s words to the rich man: If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor—you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me.
It seemed to Anthony that it was God who had brought the saints to his mind and that the words of the Gospel had been spoken directly to him. Immediately he left the church and gave away to the villagers all the property he had inherited, about 200 acres of very beautiful and fertile land, so that it would cause no distraction to his sister and himself. He sold all his other possessions as well, giving to the poor the considerable sum of money he collected. However, to care for his sister he retained a few things.
The next time he went to church he heard the Lord say in the Gospel: Do not be anxious about tomorrow. Without a moment’s hesitation he went out and gave the poor all that he had left. He placed his sister in the care of some well-known and trustworthy virgins and arranged for her to be brought up in the convent. Then he gave himself up to the ascetic life, not far from his own home. He kept a careful watch over himself and practiced great austerity. He did manual work because he had heard the words: If anyone will not work, do not let him eat. He spent some of his earnings on bread and the rest he gave to the poor.
Having learned that we should always be praying, even when we are by ourselves, he prayed without ceasing. Indeed, he was so attentive when Scripture was read that nothing escaped him and because he retained all he heard, his memory served him in place of books.
Seeing the kind of life he lived, the villagers and all the good men he knew called him the friend of God, and they loved him as both son and brother.
VATICAN CITY — In his daily Mass homily today, Pope Francis stressed that Jesus came to save sinners, emphasizing also the importance of knowing God on more than an intellectual level.
“I have come to heal, to save,” said the Pope, quoting the words of Jesus from the Gospel.
The Holy Father directed his Oct. 22 homily to those gathered at the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse, where he resides.
Pope Francis began his reflections by echoing the words of St. Paul to the Romans in the day’s first reading, stating that we can only enter into the mystery of God by talking to him on our knees, stressing that intelligence alone is not enough.
“You need contemplation, intelligence, heart, knees praying … all together: This is how we enter into the mystery.”
Another important aspect needed in our relationship with God is closeness, or proximity, the Pope reflected, noting that “one man created sin, and one man saved us.”
The Holy Father then recalled how close God has been to
dPope Francis. Credit: Stephen Drsicoll/CNA.
Vatican City, Sep 20, 2013 / 07:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to a group of gynecologists at the Vatican, Pope Francis affirmed that all human life has dignity and rejected the discarding of “defenseless” human persons through abortion.
“Every unborn child, although unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s face,” Pope Francis said, adding that like Christ, these aborted children experience the rejection of the world.
The Holy Father asked doctors “who are called to take care of human life in its initial phase” to remind people that “in all its phases and at any age, human life is always sacred.”
“This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the current,” he added in his Sept. 20 address. “The Lord counts on you to spread the ‘Gospel of Life.’”
The comments come one day after the publication of an extensive interview with Pope Francis, conducted by the Jesuit-run Italian newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica and translated into English by U.S. Jesuit magazine America.
In the interview, the Pope called Christians to proclaim moral truths in the context of the Gospel and Jesus Christ rather than as “disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” he said. Rather, “when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context,” allowing moral issues to flow from the proclamation of the Gospel.
Several commenters and media outlets interpreted the Pope’s remarks as a shift in Church teaching on moral issues. However, the Holy Father – who has spoken out against abortion several times during his papacy – also explained in the interview that the “teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the Church.”
Speaking today before a meeting sponsored by the International Federation of Associations of Catholic Physicians, Pope Francis emphasized the doctor’s role in protecting and promoting all life, which, from the unborn to the elderly, “carries the face of Christ.”
“In the fragile human being each of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh experienced the indifference and loneliness that often condemn the poorest” members of society, he said.
The Pope lamented the “widespread mentality of profit, the ‘throwaway culture,’ which now enslaves the hearts and minds of many,” and “requires the elimination human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker.”
“Our response to this mentality is a firm and unhesitating ‘yes’ to life,” he emphasized.
The Holy Father noted that the defense of life in all stages “has become in recent years a real priority of the Magisterium of the Church,” especially with regard to the “most defenseless,” the unborn, elderly and sick.
He noted that, paradoxically, in medicine today, “the health professions are sometimes induced to disregard life itself” while at the same time trying to care for patients.
“The paradoxical situation can be seen in the fact that while the person is given new rights, sometimes only presumed rights, life as a primary value and basic right of every man is not always protected,” he said.
But despite the culture’s denial, the “final objective of doctor is always the defense and promotion of life,” Pope Francis affirmed.
Doctors must not discard life, which is at the center of social development, he emphasized. The intrinsic dignity of the human person is beyond any measurable worth, and no human life is “more sacred” or “more significant” than another.
With this understanding of the human person, he challenged the doctors present to “be witnesses and speakers of this ‘culture of life,’” helping the contemporary culture to recognize “the transcendent dimension” of human life from “the moment of conception.”
The Pope encouraged doctors to pray for “the strength to do your job well and to witness with courage.”