Saturday, July 05, 2008

Temptation of St. Anthony

St. Anthony is one of my dad's hero's, a desert father who wrote voluminously about the interior life of prayer, devotion and mortification of the flesh. One of the myths about the desert fathers (and mothers) is their relatively easy life, being freed from working responsibilities to devote their lives to prayer and reflection. If we could all have that option! Often I envy those who have the freedom for prolonged times of reflection and prayer as opposed to the complex demands on my time from church, family, and everyday life.
St. Anthony, however, tells us about the dark side of contemplation; about the brutal attacks and temptations that come to one unprotected by the boundaries of exterior routines and people. I have never been in true seclusion. I have taken prayer/reading retreats with my dad and my good friend over some years. During those times, I recall how, in the silence, the chaos would come knocking, telling me how stupid it was to leave all the busy-ness for the worthlessness of prayer. Temptations come to those who pray. These are not just the popular temptations of sex and money, but of relevance, meaning, significance, worth, purpose, identity and value. These are vicious and insidious.
The picture of St. Anthony's temptation held me transfixed.


At 2:34 PM , Anonymous Rahab said...

I would use the comment or wording of that of being "Perplexed by Horror"...


Why is it that Prayer brings about temptation at it's worst; why is it than that God can not fix His eyes on protecting His servants, rahter than allowing them to fall any farther? Perplexed=Skeptic


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