Today’s the Feast of Saint Anthony of the Desert, hailed as the Father of Monasticism. He’s called a hermit, an abbot, a spiritual director of all and sundry who has some spiritual sense about them. In the picture above, he’s Saint Anthony the tempted, by Michelangelo. That reminds me, I’m still “reading” The Temptation of St. Anthony by Gustave Flaubert and translated by Lafcadio Hearn, published by The Modern Library in New York, as I’ve noted on the Others’ Books page. The trouble is, I don’t know where it is. Surely in one of the boxes of books I brought up the mountain but are still waiting to be unpacked, waiting for shelves, etc.
Saint Anthony was a hermit, for a while, but then our Lord had other plans for him. The thing about saints is that they open to doing the will of God. Saint Jerome went the opposite direction. He started with a double monastery carved out of the rock under the cave of the Nativity of our Lord in Bethlehem, working away on the Vulgate. Later, he became much more Saint Jerome the Hermit. They both were tempted, however. The Lord ensures that we learn to look to Him for strength, not to ourselves. That’s very good and kind of our Lord.