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ANTHONY THE GREAT OF EGYPT
Born: 251 AD
Died: January 17, 356 AD
Saint Anthony the Abbott was an early, Nomadic Mystic Monk from Egypt. Tonight we will celebrate this founder of Monasticism. At the Monastic Cooking Club we will also discuss preparing a class for cooking.
Our Mission is to share the Gospel, to spread the “Good News” of Jesus Christ primarily and foremost by living the Gospel: in the work that we do (as a community), the challenges that we share together, and the prayer that we encounter in the presence of the whole Church at prayer, to proclaim that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died and rose from the dead to save us from our sins. As He came to save us, He also gave his Word to enlighten us and He continues to be at our side in order to strengthen us. This proclamation through prayer we seek to accomplish most dynamically in the Liturgy of the Hours, central to the spritual life and growth of the "Liturgical Hours," the Monastic Cooking Club," & the "Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem" Meetup Groups!
In brief, our mission is old but relevant as ever. As the Roman Empire and Rome herself suffered downfalls, as the people of Europe suffered invasions, destruction, theft, famine and plagues, Saint Benedict of Nursia rose up in 530 A.D. to reform Catholic monks and their monasteries with his masterpiece The Rule. True Monastic living incorporates the spirit of The Rule, and here at The Friary our mission begins with the two greatest commandments of loving God with all our hearts, minds and souls, and loving our neighbors as ourselves:
• “On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
As the monastic reform in centuries past that took place in the midst of struggling kings, soldiers and laypeople, the steadfast monasteries prayed, preserved the Gospel, farmed and sustained societies in crisis. Today, as we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, we’re not praying alone. In other words, we recognize that as we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, it is not just us praying but rather our participation in the entire Church at prayer, the “universal Church.” This has always been understood by the most humble Faithful, the Church Fathers, the Popes and the Holy Saints to mean that we may unite our prayers with the Body of the Faithful on Earth (Church Militant), in Purgatory (Church Suffering) and in Heaven (Church Triumphant). This prayerful participation is described as the Church praying “through and with us.” In so doing we may unite our prayers too with the Heavenly Angels, who intercede for us before God. In theGeneral Instruction for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church teaches:
• “Though prayer in private and in seclusion  is always necessary and to be encouraged  and is practiced by the members of the Church through Christ in the Holy Spirit, there is a special excellence in the prayer of the community. Christ Himself has said: “Where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in the midst of them” [Matthew 18:20]. (from The Congregation for Divine Worship - emphasis in red added.)
Also, from Pope St. John Paul II, in his document, Christifideles laici (1988), the Holy Father teaches:
• The lay faithful, precisely because they are members of the Church, have the vocation and mission of proclaiming the Gospel. (CL 33)
In union with the whole Church of faithful Christians on Earth, the saints and heavenly angels, the we pray best as “instruments of the Church,” since our prayers, when offered with love, are the essential means of the Church accomplishing her Gospel calling, her very mission, to bring souls into a living communion with Jesus Christ. Our service to others, offered in prayer for the glory of God, is a step taken in Faith which has God as our ultimate end.
What does this mean? In recent years, many people were attracted to a motto that says eat, pray and love, but the Gospel and monastic traditions are properly ordered to love, pray and feast. For the sake of love, we pray the Liturgy of the Hours and live the Gospel in our work as a community of cooks who prepare and serve delicious feasts. For the sake of love, we also fast. For the sake of love, we nourish our hearts, minds and souls with frequent reception of the sacraments, including Reconciliation and Holy Communion at daily Mass. As we pray the Liturgy of the Hours, we’re not praying alone. We are in communion with the entire Catholic Church, i.e., the entire universal Church. Since Jesus Christ Almighty established the one, holy, catholic (universal) and apostolic Church (Matthew 16), the Apostles, Popes, Church Fathers and holy saints have understood that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ united in prayer. It is for this reason that ever since Christ founded His Church, Christians have described the Church as praying “through us” and “with us” in unity both with all souls and the heavenly angels, who intercede for us before the throne of God and here on Earth.