feast of saint anthony, abbot
Sirach, Chapter 22, Verse 16
A wooden beam firmly bonded into a building is not loosened by an earthquake; So the mind firmly resolved after careful deliberation will not be afraid at any time.
A prudent mind firmly resolved is undisturbed by violent and conflicting thoughts. Sometimes we all have senseless thoughts and feelings which shake us but faith is a firm anchor for our thoughts. We indeed do have the power within ourselves to choose not to react to impulsive thoughts.
· Holiness consists in friendship with God. If we would be in any sense the friends of God, we must have at least that desire for holiness without which such friendship would be impossible; growth in the knowledge of God is the deepening of this friendship.
· To know God is to know self and if we know ourselves well, we know have one or two prominent sins that have dogged our life’s path for years, and against these we struggle bravely and are conscious that God is helping us.
· Sin and sanctity reveal us to ourselves; therefore, if there is to be any spiritual growth, there must be a growth in self-knowledge. We cannot make any serious attempt to conquer our sins until we know what who we are and who’s we are.
· The greatest advancement we make is when we learn to examine ourselves in the light of Christ.
To examine ourselves in the light of Christ a good place to begin is with the seven heavenly virtues: Humility, Charity, Chastity, Patience, Temperance, Diligence, and kindness.
Sons of Liberty
Today Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706. As a founding father of this nation; one wonders would he question if Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are Still Self-Evident Rights? Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good. Thomas Jefferson stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Jefferson’s argument is not that the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness originate in government, but that these rights have a divine origin. Jefferson argued that the job of all governments was to “secure” rights that God had already granted. In other words, the rights to life and liberty do not come into being with the force of government fiat; life and liberty are pre-political rights already granted by God. Today, we have lost that concept. Almost a quarter-millennia later, these rights are no longer considered self-evident, and neither is a Creator. Once God and the natural law are disassociated from rights—once the idea of justice and goodness are separated from rights—we are left with a political environment in which anything could be considered a right, or nothing could be considered a right.
As Pope John Paul II said in Denver, Colorado at World Youth Day in 1993: When the Founding Fathers of this great nation enshrined certain inalienable rights in the Constitution…they did so because they recognized the existence of a ‘law’ – a series of rights and duties – engraved by the Creator on each person’s heart and conscience. In much of contemporary thinking, any reference to a ‘law’ guaranteed by the Creator is absent. There remains only each individual’s choice of this or that objective as convenient or useful in a given set of circumstances. No longer is anything considered intrinsically "good" and "universally binding". Rights are affirmed but, because they are without any reference to an objective truth, they are deprived of any solid basis. Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to "create" opinion and impose it on others. Pope John Paul II saw and foresaw, once rights are viewed as mere arbitrary constructs with no relation or reference to our Creator, rights become a mere matter of whimsy—subject no longer to God, but to the fickle winds of public opinion. Today, we are often told that it is not life and liberty, but their opposites that are self-evident. We are told that the right to abortion and euthanasia are self-evident, and that religious liberties and liberties of conscience have no validation in law. The founding fathers generally recognized that human laws and rights should reflect each other, largely because they have the same origin. Just as human law must come from divine law, so do rights ultimately come from God and from justice. Rights flow from justice, and if a right cannot be traced to justice, it is no right at all. Once a right, however, is traced to justice—the right to life, for instance—it has the “solid basis” about which Pope Saint John Paul II spoke.
Indeed, as Jefferson noted all those July 4th’s ago, men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Whether it is self-evident or not, it is the philosophical belief in the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that helped make America both great and good. Let’s continue to promote and defend all three.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. (Ps. 19:10)
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Ps. 19:15)
Catholic Recipe: Saint Antony of the Desert Soup
Saint Antony, called the Great, lived in Egypt between A.D. 251 and 356. At age 18, the gospel text "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you have and then follow me" so moved him that he left everything behind and retired to an inaccessible place in the wilderness where he dedicated his life to God in manual work and continual prayer. In his old age, he imparted wisdom to his disciples and encouraged them to lead a monastic life. Because he was the first Christian to retire to a monastic life, he is considered to be the first monk and also the father of all monks. His feast is celebrated on January 17. Try this simple, healthy recipe in honor of Saint Antony the hermit.
3 tablespoons oil of choice
1 cup barley
1 carrot, finely grated
2 leeks, sliced
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
Salt to taste
7 cups water
1 bouillon cube, if desired
Chopped mushrooms, if desired
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for one minute. Immediately add the carrot, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water.
2. Cook the soup over low to medium heat, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add more water if needed. For extra taste, add the bouillon and the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of simmering. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot.
Recipe Source: From a Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, Gramercy Books, 1997
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 Maturin, Basil W. Christian Self-Sophia Institute Press.