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I'm using a plan that has me reading through 10 of the Church Fathers during Lent this year. Yesterday was St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: Chaps. 21-30.

I miss the narrative that the previous several days' readings had. Anthony is now teaching those who are around him. Today's reading is Anthony's description of demons and the ways of demons. It was pretty interesting.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
prester_scott
Mar. 16th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC)
I know this is cheating, but I fell behind and so decided to read the entire Life of Anthony today.

I hate to say it, but this is exactly the type of material that tends to discourage me. I know I'm not like Anthony nor is it at all likely I could be in this life, because I'm too much of a sinner. So is there hope for me in Christ or not? And for everyone else who is less accomplished in asceticism than he was?
drmellow
Mar. 16th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
While we're making true confessions, my take on Life of Anthony is that he sounds more like a mythical hero than a real person. I haven't stated that yet in my little summaries and notes, because I'm waiting until I complete the full reading to see how it all ends. While I don't think I'd go so far as to say that this reading discourages me, I do wonder if I believe it's about a real person.

And, yes, of course there is hope for us in Christ. While it's (sometimes) easy enough to understand that in a theoretical sense, I know it's not nearly as easy to truly believe it. Lean on Steve Brown's teaching to remind you that there is hope for you in Christ.
prester_scott
Mar. 16th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I am speaking somewhat in a rhetorical mode here, of course; and though Steve Brown is helpful to me, I must resist turning him into my guru. ;)

But I agree, hagiographical writing often gives the impression that the saints aren't real people. I guess it is natural to heap praise upon those you admire, and I guess is encouraging to some people, but to my mind it just sets an impossible standard of performance for the rest of us.
drmellow
Mar. 16th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
While I'm not finding this specific writing particularly believable, I still find it interesting. This is my first time through these writings, and I'm really trying to come away from it with a general overview. Perhaps with an eye to deeper study in the future.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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