Our life and death is with our neighbour – Abba Anthony the Great

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He also said, ‘Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.’

[Abba Anthony the Great, the Father of Monks, Apophthegmata Patrum]

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How are we to be saved? – Abba Anthony the Great

[Today is the feast day of the Holy Abba Anthony, the first Christian monk.

“We have not lived your life, nor practised your ways, so remember us in your prayers, Peniot Abba Antonious”]

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The brethren came to the Abba Anthony and said to him, “Speak a word; how are we to be saved?” The old man said to them, “You have heard the Scriptures. That should teach you how.” But they said, “We want to hear from you too, Father.” Then the old man said to them, “The Gospel says, ‘if anyone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.'” (Matt. 5.39) They said, “We cannot do that.” The old man said, “If you cannot offer the other cheek, at least allow one cheek to be struck.” “We cannot do that either,” they said. So he said, “If you are not able to do that, do not return evil for evil,” and they said, “We cannot do that either.” Then the old man said to his disciples, “Prepare a little brew of corn for these invalids. If you cannot do this, or that, what can I do for you? What you need is prayers.”

[Abba Anthony the Father of Monks, Apophthegmata Patrum]

This is the great work of man – Abba Anthony the Great

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“Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, “This is the great work of man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Do not be conformed to this world – Abba Anthony the Great

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Abba Anthony said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will rise up against him, saying ‘You are mad, because you are not like us.'”

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Make an effort to pray – Abba Anthony the Great

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A brother said to Abba Anthony, “Pray for me.” The old man said to him, ” I will have no mercy upon you, nor will God have any, if you yourself do not make an effort and if you do not pray to God.

[Apophthegmata Patrum]

Words to live by – Abba Anthony the Great

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Somebody asked Abba Anthony, “By observing which [precept] shall I be well pleasing to God?” The elder answered, “Observe what I am telling you: Always have God before your eyes wherever you go. Whatever you are doing, have the testimony from Holy Scripture to hand. Wherever you are living, do not be in a hurry to move away. Observe these three [precepts] and you will be saved.”

[Abba Anthony the Great, the Father of Monks, Apophthegmata Patrum]

Stretch forth your hands, not to heaven, but to the poor – St. John Chrysostom

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Make God your debtor, and then offer your prayers. Lend to Him, and then ask a return, and you shall receive it with usury. God wills this, and does not retract. If you ask with alms, He holds himself obliged. If you ask with alms, you lend and receive interest.

Yes, I beseech you! It is not for stretching out your hands you shall be heard! stretch forth your hands, not to heaven, but to the poor. If you stretch forth your hand to the hands of the poor, you have reached the very summit of heaven. For He who sits there receives your alms. But if you lift them up without a gift, you gain nothing.

[St. John Chrysostom, Homily I on Timothy]