St. Antony of Egypt was a monk. He voluntarily gave away all his wealth, withdrew from society, and lived a solitary life as a monk. He did it based upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:21, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.” The practice of withdrawing from society to live a secluded life as a monk began in North Africa. Prior to this church practice, we find in Numbers chapter 6, Moses gave instructions for people who chose to take a vow of dedication to God. He told them to abstain from wine, to let their hair grow, and to stay away from dead people. Today, few people take vows of poverty or withdraw from society as monks do, but we can all express devotion and gratitude to God for His blessings: for salvation, for God’s indwelling presence, for His material gifts of life, food, shelter, health, and strength. We can show our gratitude in the way we go about our daily activities—by using our abilities to help fulfill Christ’s kingdom agenda. We can model His love for others by practicing kindness and justice. We can invite others to know the peace and forgiveness He offers through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
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