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martes, 17 de enero de 2012

St Anthony the Great

St Anthony the Great, or St Anthony Abbot is a great festival in Mallorca where... let's better read my student from St. Josep Obrer, Teresa

Tomorrow is St. Antoni. It is an important celebration for the Balearic Islands. Today is St. Antoni's eve. He was a person who liked animals. 
On the 17th people attend "the blessings" where you can bless your pet to give it health for the whole year. Both days, we roast meat, such sausages, sobrassada and botifarra.
Legend: St Antoni and the Devil were playing a game calle "thirty-one". As St. Antoni won, the Devil was very angry, so this is why the Devil walks the streets with fire and sparkles. To end the celebration, there are fireworks by the sea, "aiguafoc".

Following the death of his parents when he was about 20, Anthony insured that his sister completed her education, then he sold his house, furniture, and the land he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, joined the anchorites who lived nearby, and moved into an empty sepulchre. At age 35 he moved to the desert to live alone; he lived 20 years in an abandoned fort.

Anthony barricaded the place for solitude, but admirers and would-be students broke in. He miraculously healed people, and agreed to be the spiritual counselor of others. His recommendation was to base life on the Gospel. Word spread, and so many disciples arrived that Anthony founded two monasteries on the Nile, one at Pispir, one at Arsinoe. Many of those who lived near him supported themselves by making baskets and brushes, and from that came his patronage of those trades.

Anthony briefly left his seclusion in 311, going to Alexandria, Egypt to fight Arianism, and to comfort the victims of the persecutions of Maximinus. At some point in his life, he met with his sister again. She, too, had withdrawn from the world, and directed a community of nuns. Anthony retired to the desert, living in a cave on Mount Colzim.

Descriptions paint him as uniformly modest and courteous. His example led many to take up the monastic life, and to follow his way. Late in life Anthony became a close friend of Saint Paul the Hermit, and he buried the aged anchorite, leading to his patronage of gravediggers. His biography was written by his friend Saint Athanasius of Alexandria.

Copyright © 2012Museo Nacional del Prado.

His relationship with pigs and patronage of swineherds is a little complicated. Skin diseases were sometimes treated with applications of pork fat, which reduced inflammation and itching. As Anthony’s intervention aided in the same conditions, he was shown in art accompanied by a pig. People who saw the art work, but did not have it explained, thought there was a direct connection between Anthony and pigs – and people who worked with swine took him as their patron. (source saints.sqpn.com)

Anthony's temptations

 Throughout his life he argued and literally wrestled with the devil. His first temptations to leave his ascetic life were arguments we would find hard to resist -- anxiety about his sister, longings for his relatives, thoughts of how he could have used his property for good purposes, desire for power and money. When Anthony was able to resist him, the devil then tried flattery, telling Anthony how powerful Anthony was to beat him. Anthony relied on Jesus' name to rid himself of the devil. It wasn't the last time, though. One time, his bout with the devil left him so beaten, his friends thought he was dead and carried him to church. St. Anthony the Great had a hard time accepting this. After one particular difficult struggle, he saw a light appearing in the tomb he lived in. Knowing it was God, Anthony called out, "Where were you when I needed you?" God answered, "I was here. I was watching your struggle. Because you didn't give in, I will stay with you and protect you forever." (source www.catholic.org)

Kimball Art Museum, Fort Worth, United States

Teaching English by Fran | St. Sebastian
Teaching English by Fran | The Cathedral of Lights/St. Martin's Lights

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