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When his parents died when he was eighteen or twenty he inherited their three hundred acres of land and the responsibility for a young sister.One day in church, he heard read Matthew : "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." Not content to sit still and meditate and reflect on Jesus' words he walked out the door of the church right away and gave away all his property except what he and his sister needed to live on.So he took off in the middle of the night, thinking to go to a different part of Egypt where he was unknown.Then he heard a voice telling him that the only way to be alone was to go into the desert.On hearing Matthew , "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.

But to Anthony perseverance meant waking up each day with the same zeal as the first day. He lived sealed in a room for twenty years, while his friends provided bread. Some who spoke to him were healed physically, many were comforted by his words, and others stayed to learn from him.

And he never stopped challenging himself to go one step beyond in his faith.

Saint Athanasius, who knew Anthony and wrote his biography, said, "Anthony was not known for his writings nor for his worldly wisdom, nor for any art, but simply for his reverence toward God." We may wonder nowadays at what we can learn from someone who lived in the desert, wore skins, ate bread, and slept on the ground. We can become Anthony by living his life of radical faith and complete commitment to God.

He pointed out that all rhetoric, all arguments, no matter how complex, how well-founded, were created by human beings. If they wanted to follow the greatest ideal, they should follow their faith. 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.

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