Thought for the Day – 17 January – The Memorial of St Anthony Abbot (251-356)
In an age that smiles and jeers at the notion of devils and angels, a person known for having power over evil spirits must at least make us pause. And in a day when people speak of life as a “rat race,” one who devotes a whole life to solitude and prayer points to an essential of the Christian life in all ages. Anthony’s hermit life reminds us of the absoluteness of our break with sin and the totality of our commitment to Christ. Even in God’s good world, there is another world whose false values constantly tempt us.
Our most powerful protection IS the Sign of the Cross.
“Let us not then be ashamed
to confess the Crucified.
BE THE CROSS OUR SEAL,
made with boldness by our fingers,
on our brow and in everything,
over the bread we eat and the cups we drink,
in our comings in and goings out,
before our sleep,
when we lie down
and when we awake,
when we are in the way
and when we are still.
Great is that preservative,
it is without price,
for the poor’s sake,
for the sick,
since also its’ grace is from God.
It is the Sign of the faithful
and the dread of evils –
for He has triumphed over them in it,
having made a shew of them openly –
for when they see the Cross,
they are reminded of the Crucified;
they are afraid of Him,
Who hath bruised the heads of the dragon.
Despise not the Seal
because of the freeness of the Gift,
but for this,
rather honour thy Benefactor!”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father & Doctor of the Church
“The sign of the cross
is the most terrible weapon
against the devil.
Thus the Church wishes not only,
that we have it continually
in front of our minds,
to recall to us
just what our souls are worth
and what they cost Jesus Christ
but also that we should make it
at every juncture ourselves:
when we go to bed,
when we awaken during the night,
when we get up,
when we begin any action,
and, above all,
when we are tempted.”