Daily Reading for January 17 • Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
Antony was confused as he meditated upon the depths of God’s judgements, and he asked God, “Lord, how is it that some die young and others grow old and sick? Why are there some poor and some rich? Why are there those who are bad and rich and oppress the good poor?” He heard a voice saying to him, “Antony, worry about yourself; these other matters are up to God, and it will not do you any good to know them.”
. . . . . . . . . .
Once a brother in the community of Elias fell when he was tempted. He was expelled from the community, and went to the mountain to Antony. When he had been with him for some time, Antony sent him back to his community, but when they saw him, they sent him away again. So he went back to Antony and said, “They won’t have me, abba.” So Antony sent a message to them saying, “A ship was wrecked in the ocean and lost its cargo, and with great difficulty the empty ship was brought to land. Do you want to run the ship that has been rescued onto the rocks and sink it?” They realized that Antony had sent him back, and at once accepted him.
From The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, translated with an introduction by Benedicta Ward (New York: Penguin, 2003).