3rd July

Sayings of Antony

In your sight my lifetime seems nothing… I am only your guest for a little while. Psalm 39:5,12

Once Antony was conversing with some brothers when a hunter came upon them. He saw Antony and the brothers enjoying themselves and disapproved. So Antony said to him ‘Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it.’ The hunter did this. ‘Now shoot another’ said Antony, ‘and another, and another.’ Then the hunter said: ‘If I bend my bow all the time it will break.’ Abba Antony replied: ‘It is like that in the work of God. If we push ourselves beyond measure, the brothers will soon collapse. It is right therefore, from time to time, to relax.’

Someone once asked Antony ‘What shall I do?’ Antony replied ‘Do not presume your own righteousness; do not grieve over something that is past; control your tongue and your belly.’

Here are two other sayings of Antony:

The spaces of our human life set over against eternity are most brief and poor.

The time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack that person, saying ‘You are insane, because you are not like us.’

Finally, we recall the occasion when someone asked Antony ‘What shall I keep in order that I may please God?’ Antony advised this person to keep these three things: ‘Always keep God before your eyes; always keep the example of the holy Scriptures; and wherever you stay, keep yourself there long enough not to move on in a rush.’

Keeper of eternity
Help me keep you ever before me.
Help me to keep the example of your saints ever before me.
Help me keep sufficient sense of proportion to relax when needed,
To savour the blessings of hospitality
With ever grateful poise.

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