It’s the 17th of January so it’s St Anthony of Egypt Day. Huzzah!!!!
So who is Anthony? Well, he was the founder of the whole monastic tradition we know today (and have had for 1,500 years). Basically, he got fed up with the hypocrisy of the lifestyles of the Christians he was around (church on Sunday, ignoring Christ Monday to Saturday) that he decided to get away from it all and discover Christ in the desert. So he did (get away) and he did (discover Christ). Unfortunately, as his fame as a wise and stroky beard hermit spread he began to get constantly mobbed by people, which kinda missed the point of what he was trying to achieve.
People began to copy his example and either lived alone or gathered together in groups. Then a hundred or so years later St Benedict came along, decided that all this monastic stuff would be far better organised if there was some kind of rulebook, and the Benedictine Order (and all modern monasticism) was born. All because one bloke got hacked off with the people next to him in the pews. Cool huh??
Most gracious God,
who called your servant Antony to sell all that he had
and to serve you in the solitude of the desert:
by his example may we learn to deny ourselves
and to love you before all things;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.