01.17.14 ~ Memorial of St. Anthony, Abbot


1 Sm 8: 7, 10 – 18

… Grant the people all they ask of thee. It is my rule over them they are casting off, not thine… In answer, then, to their request for a king, Samuel told the people all the Lord had said to him. When you have a king to reign over you, he will claim the rights of a king. He will take away your sons from you, to drive his chariots; he will need horsemen, and outriders for his teams; regiments, too, with commanders and captains to marshal them, ploughmen and reapers, armourers and wheelwrights. It is your daughters that will make his perfumes, and cook for him, and bake for him. All the best of your lands and vineyards and olive-yards he will take away, and entrust to his own bailiffs; and he will tithe the revenues of such crop and vintage as is left you, to pay his own courtiers and his own retinue. He will take away servants and handmaids of yours, all the lustiest of the young men, all the asses that work for you, to work for him instead; of your herds, too, he will take tithe. You will be his slaves; and when you cry out for redress against the king you have chosen for yourselves, the Lord will not listen to you; you asked for a king.

Mk 2: 4 – 11

… they stripped the tiles from the roof over the place where Jesus was, and made an opening; then they let down the bed on which the palsied man lay. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the palsied man, Son, thy sins are forgiven. But there were some of the scribes sitting there, who reasoned in their minds, Why does he speak so? He is talking blasphemously. Who can forgive sins but God, and God only? Jesus knew at once, in his spirit, of these secret thoughts of theirs, and said to them, Why do you reason thus in your minds? Which command is more lightly given, to say to the palsied man, Thy sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise up, take thy bed with thee, and walk? And now, to convince you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins while he is on earth (here he spoke to the palsied man): I tell thee, rise up, take thy bed with thee, and go home.

In Conversation with God:

… when other people would have given up because of all the difficulties they were meeting with, these men remained undaunted and climbed up on to the roof. They removed pieces from the roof above the place where Our Lord was, and when they had made a hole in it, they let down the bed with the paralytic on it. Jesus was amazed at the faith and audacity of these men…

How great is the Lord, who through the merits of some, forgives others! The friends who take the man, incapacitated by his illness, to Our Lord are a vivid example of apostolate. As Christians we are instruments of God’s so that he may work real miracles on our friends, who if they are left alone, seem unable for so many reasons to reach Christ, who is waiting for them…

… the men concerned are men who have got rid of any human respect; they do not mind at all what others – and there were a lot of people around – think about their action, which could easily have been judged as extreme, inopportune, eccentrically different from what others did who had gone to listen to the Master. Only one thing matters to them: to reach Jesus with their friend whatever the cost… Do we behave like this? Are we sometimes more concerned about what other people will say than we are about what God thinks? Are we reluctant to seem different from other people, when precisely what God and the people who see our actions need, is that we should stand out by doing what we have to do? When necessary, do we know how to show our faith and our love for Jesus Christ in public? …

Those men from Capharnaum were real friends to that poor fellow who could not reach the Master by himself. It is proper for the friend to do good to his friends, particularly those who are in greatest need… The true friend cannot have two different faces for his friend. If it is to be loyal and sincere, friendship demands sacrifice, uprightness, and an exchange of favours and of noble and licit acts of service. A friend is strong and true to the extent that, in accordance with supernatural prudence, he thinks generously about others, and undergoes personal sacrifice on their behalf. We expect a friend to correspond to the climate of trust which true friendship establishes; we expect the recognition of ourselves as we are, and when necessary the friend will go without hesitation and in forthright fashion to our defence. 

From the beginning friendship has been the natural channel through which many people have found faith in Jesus Christ, and found even their vocation to a life of more complete dedication. It is a natural and simple way which eliminates many obstacles and difficulties.

In his apostolic task, the Christian has to practice… fortitude… constancy and patience… audacity, so that we introduce deeper subjects into our conversations, which may never arise if we do not bring them up at the right moment, and also that we propose higher ideals for our friends who cannot even conjecture at them for themselves, truthfulness and authenticity, without which friendship cannot exist. Our world needs men and women who are all of a piece, who are exemplary in their work, men and women without complexes, who are sober, serene, profoundly human, firm, understanding but intransigent in matters concerning Christ’s doctrine, courteous, just, loyal, cheerful, optimistic, generous, hard-working, simple, courageous…


… the time has come to realize and see the plan you’ve been designed for, so face the fear of all unknown and see the heart inside, so open up your eyes…


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