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January 17

We begin our prayer in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Today is the Memorial of St. Anthony, an abbot or leader of a monastery. Anthony was born a long time ago around the year 256 in Egypt.  He led a life of prayer in the desert and is regarded as the founder of monastic life. Monastic life is a religious way of life in which one sets aside worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic prayer life often speaks of spiritual warfare which is a war against sin and selfishness – a battle between good and evil. 
Our tradition is full of battle stories between good and evil, light and dark and I’m not talking about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker! We could speak about small David who trusted in God and slew the giant Goliath or Jesus battling the devil in the desert…maybe we could mention Peter denying Jesus or Judas handing Jesus over…St. Paul went from being the number one persecutor of Christians to the number one fan of Jesus.  In all these cases, loving service, kindness and forgiveness always win. Maybe we can include our battles with Darth Vaders in our own lives – who is your Vader and what or who is your “light sabre” that you let shine in the face of dark times?
Each day you and I face choices and we need Jesus’ help to get better at choosing the light and the life.
Let us pray in the word Jesus taught all who seek life:
    Our Father who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come.
    Thy will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread,
    and forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us,
    and lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

    For yours is the kingdom,
    and the power, and the glory,
    for ever and ever
    Amen.

With the patient, life-giving prayer power of St. Anthony in our hearts and Jesus at our side we set off into our day in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen .