1: Thomas Merton: A young man once described his experience of sinking into insanity. He was a very bright university student, but he had abandoned his studies in favor of nightclubs and pornography. One night he retired to a hotel room. As he lay in bed, the window appeared to expand until it reached the floor. He heard a mocking voice in his mind saying, “What if you threw yourself out of that window?” The young man wrote: “Now my life was dominated by something I had never known before: fear. It was humiliating, this strange self-conscious watchfulness. It was a humiliation I had deserved more than I knew. I had refused to pay attention to the moral laws upon which all vitality and sanity depend.” Well, this young man did begin to pay attention to the moral law. He began to put his life in order – and to experience inner peace. He eventually entered the Catholic Church and went on to become one of the most famous monks of the twentieth century. His name is Thomas Merton. Today’s Gospel account of Jesus ‘baptism should challenge us, too, to examine whether we are keeping our Baptismal promises. (Fr. Phil Bloom) Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2: A tiger cub finds its identity: There is an old Hindu parable about a tiger cub raised by goats. The cub learned to bleat and nibble grass and behave like a goat. One night a tiger attacked the goats, which scattered for safety. But the tiger cub kept grazing and crying like a goat without getting frightened. The old tiger roared, “What are you doing here, living with these cowardly goats?” He grabbed the cub by the scruff, dragged him to a pond and said: “Look how our faces reflected in water! Now you know who you are and whose you are.” The tiger took the cub home, taught him how to catch animals, eat their meat, roar and act like a tiger. The tiger cub thus discovered his true self. Today’s Gospel seems to suggest that Jesus received from Heaven a fresh flash of realization of Who, and Whose, He really was (His identity) and of what He was supposed to do (His mission), on the day of his baptism in the river Jordan. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3: Identity-awareness moments of great liberators: The film Gandhi is a three-hour epic, depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi in India. In order to lead the oppressed people of India to freedom from British rule, Gandhi adopted non-violent means such as fasting from food, vigils of prayer, peaceful marches, protests and civil disobedience. One of the reasons why Gandhi put on a loincloth and fasted from food, almost to the point of death, was to show solidarity with the Indian people, identifying with them in their physical sufferings. This finally brought independence to India. (Vima Dasan). Martin Luther King, Jr., too, identified with his enslaved and maltreated people and became the voice of the voiceless in the name of God. Consequently, he was maligned, beaten, jailed, and, finally, assassinated, while he preached peace, justice,and nonviolence on behalf of the downtrodden Afro-Americans in the U. S. His heroic example definitely passes as Christian living with tens of millions of the poor and alienated Afro- Americans in the U.S. and the oppressed millions worldwide. To better appreciate his struggles against the sins of our culture, particularly of our “Christian” clergy you are invited to read Dr King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” readily available on the internet (http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html). Jesus’ baptism, as described in today’s Gospel, was his identification with God’s chosen people who became aware of their sinful lives and need for God’s forgiveness. (Rev. Coman Dalton). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5. Three times: Too many people come to Church three times primarily. They’re baptized, they get married, and they have their funeral service at the Church. The first time they throw water on you, the second time rice, the third time dirt!
6. Baptized in luxury: When our church was renovated, adding a Baptismal pool, we were pleased. So was our daughter. While riding in the car with my daughter and her friend, we went past a pond. My daughter’s friend proudly declared, “I was baptized in that pond.” My daughter responded with no less pride: “Oh, I was baptized in a Jacuzzi at our church.” (Pastor Davis).
7. “Born again.” When Jimmy Carter was elected President of the United States, he described himself as a “born-again” Christian. For many Americans this was an unfamiliar term. By the time of the next election primaries, nearly all the candidates were claiming to be “born-again.” Political satirist Mark Russell suggested, “This could give Christianity a bad name.”
8. A keg of beer and a case of whiskey: Before performing a Baptism, the priest approached the young father and said solemnly, “Baptism is a serious step. Are you prepared for it?” “I think so,” the man replied. “My wife has made appetizers and we have a caterer coming to provide plenty of cookies and cakes for all of our guests.” “I don’t mean that,” the priest responded. “I mean, are you prepared spiritually?” “Oh, sure,” came the reply. “I’ve got a keg of beer and a case of whiskey.”
9. God help the fish.” Sam Houston was the first president of the Republic of Texas. It’s said he was a rather nasty fellow with a checkered past. Later in life Houston made a commitment to Christ and was baptized in a river. The preacher said to him, “Sam, your sins are washed away.” Houston replied, “God help the fish.”
29- Additional anecdotes
1) Identified with victims: When leprosy broke out among the people of the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the 19th century, the government authorities responded by establishing a leper colony on the remote island of Molokai. The victims were snatched by force from their families and sent to this island to perish. However, moved by their terrible plight, a young Belgian priest, Saint Damien De Veuster (canonized October 11, 2009), asked permission from his superiors in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary; SaintsResource.com) to minister to them. Straightaway, he realized that there was only one effective way to do this, and that was to go and live among them. Having got permission, he went to Molokai. At first, he tried to minister to the lepers while maintaining a certain distance. But he soon realized that he had to live among them in order to gain their trust. As a result he contracted leprosy himself. The reaction of the lepers was immediate and wholehearted. They embraced him and took him to their hearts. He was now one of them. There was no need, no point any more, in keeping his distance. The lepers had someone who could talk with authority about leprosy, about brokenness, about rejection and public shame.– Today’s Gospel tells us how, by receiving the baptism of repentance, Jesus became identified with the sinners whom he had come to save (Flor McCarthy in Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2) Called to Service: The late Nelson Mandela (died 12/5/2013), will go down as one of the greatest leaders of this century. He was instrumental in ending apartheid and bringing about a multiracial society in South Africa. Mandela belonged to the Xhosa people, and grew up in the Transkei. But how did he come to play such a crucial role in the history of his country? In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, he tells us that all the currents of his life were taking him away from the Transkei. Yet he had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth. He says: “A steady accumulation of insights helped me to see that my duty was to the people as a whole, not to a particular section of it. The memory of a thousand indignities produced in me anger, rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, ‘Henceforth, I will devote myself to the liberation of my people’; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise” (Flor McCarthy in Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) Moment of Affirmation: When the American writer, Maya Angelou, was growing up, she didn’t see her mother very much. She was brought up in large part by her grandmother, a wonderful and saintly woman. She tells how when she was twenty years old, she took a trip to San Francisco to visit her mother. It was a particularly important yet vulnerable moment in Maya’s life; she was struggling to make her way in life and groping her way towards becoming a writer. She had quite a good meeting with her mother. When it was time to leave, her mother walked her down the hill to the waiting bus. As they parted, her mother said, “You know, I think you are the greatest woman I have ever met.” Years later Maya could still recall that moment vividly. She said, “Waiting for the bus, I sat there thinking, ‘Just suppose she’s right. Suppose I really am somebody.’ It was one of those moments when the sky rolled back. At times like that, it’s almost as if the whole earth holds its breath.” Maya went on to become a highly successful and respected writer and poet. She composed and delivered an inspiring poem at the inauguration of President Clinton. — Today’s Gospel tells us how Jesus heard the voice of His heavenly Father, immediately after His baptism, affirming him as “My beloved Son” (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4) “This is my beloved daughter, this is my beloved son”: Edward Farrell, a friend of mine, is a Catholic priest who serves an Inner City Parish in Detroit. He’s written some marvelous books. One I would especially recommend is entitled Prayer Is a Hunger. Ed is a part of a small group with whom I meet each January. I’ve told you about this group. We call it the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality. It’s an important group for me. Though we meet only for three days once a year, sharing our spiritual pilgrimages with one another, seeking to focus our minds and hearts on some growing edge, it’s an important part of my life. Ed is a part of it too. He’s one of the most genuinely humble persons I know. Serving some of God’s forgotten people in one of Detroit’s most depressed areas, he is quietly profound. I never will forget the insight he provided me about this text. He said that Jesus went to the cross so that we too could hear the same word Jesus heard at his baptism – so that you and I can hear, “This is my beloved daughter/this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” — Have you thought about it that way? Jesus’ paid the price so that for you and me, the heavens could open, and we could know the reality of God’s Spirit as a living power and presence, in our lives. Jesus wanted us to know the reality of Good News in the dark days of hopelessness and despair. The Voice which declared Jesus God’s beloved Son is still speaking in our souls, “You are Mine. You are unique and special. I am pleased with you. I love you. I love you so much that I gave My beloved Son for you. You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter.” (Rev. Maxie Dunnam). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) Two sources of inspiration: Among the millions of Jews imprisoned by the Nazis in the death camps of the ’30’s & ’40’s was Victor Frankl. In spite of the horrors and the odds, he survived. Around him, next to him, each day of his ordeal, dozens, hundreds, thousands of fellow-Jews and others died. Most of them died in the ovens, of course, but there were others who died simply because they gave up hope and lost heart, overwhelmed by horror and fear and hopelessness. Frankl survived, he said, because two forces sustained him: one was the certainty of his wife’s love. The other was an inner drive to rewrite the manuscript of a book he had completed after years of labor — which the Nazis had destroyed. Frankl’s imprisonment was lightened by daily imaginary conversations with his wife and by scrawling notes for his book on all the bits and scraps of paper he could find. Now Frankl has written eloquently of these two insights to cope with life: first, the discovery and certainty of being loved, and, second, having a clear and controlling purpose in life. [Nate Castens, Chanhassen, Minnesota, via Ecunet, Gospel Notes for Next Sunday, #2815] Both are the messages we receive in Christian Baptism. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) “You are My beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” On January 19, AD 383, the Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius named his son Arcadius as co-emperor. It was during a period in Church history when the Arian Heresy was spreading throughout the Roman Empire. The Arian Heresy held that Jesus Christ was not fully God. Theodosius called for a truce between Christians and Arians and called for a conciliatory conference. One Christian Bishop who was not willing to compromise his faith in Christ’s deity was Amphilochus of Iconium. So he had to suffer persecution from the Arians. On the coronation day Bishop entered the reception hall, bowed to the emperor, ignored his son and made a poignant speech and turned to leave. “What!” said Theodosius, “Do you take no notice of my son the co-emperor? Is this all the respect you pay to a prince that I have made equal dignity with myself?” At this the bishop gave Arcadius a blessing and replied, “Sir, do you so highly resent my apparent neglect of your son because I do not give him equal honor with yourself? What must the eternal God think of you, who have allowed His coequal and coeternal Son to be degraded in His proper divinity in every part of your Empire? Remember God the Father’s proclamation on the day Jesus was baptized by John in the River Jordan.” Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) Identity of the peanut scientist: In one of his books, Fr. Bill Bausch describes George Washington Carver, the great black agricultural scientist who did a lot of research work on the commercial and medical uses of the lowly peanut. He built a great industry through his scientific endeavors. In January, 1921, he was brought to Washington, D.C., to the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee to explain his work on the peanut. As a black man, he was last on the list and so, after three days of waiting, he finally walked up the aisle to speak, ignoring the racial comments and ridicule. Later he wrote in his autobiography, “Whatever they said of me, I knew that I was a child of God, and so I said to myself inwardly, ‘Almighty God, let me carry out Your will.’” He got to the podium and was told that he had ten minutes to speak. Carver opened up his display case and began to explain his project. So engaging was his discussion that those ten minutes went all too quickly, and the chairman rose and asked for an extension so he could continue his presentation, which he did for an hour and three-quarters. They voted him four more extensions so he spoke for several hours. At the end of his talk they all stood up and gave him a long round of applause. (Hearings on General Tariff Revision Before the Committee on Ways & Means House of Representatives, 1921) And all that happened because he knew who, and Whose, he was and because he refused to be defined by the labels of his culture. The feast of the Baptism of our Lord reminds us of who we are and Whose we are. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) America’s fast-growing nonreligious community: One in five Americans (19 percent), now claims no religious affiliation, up from 6 percent in 1990. The so-called “nones” include unbelieving atheists who staged a massive “Reason Rally” in Washington, but two-thirds of the unaffiliated say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Almost nine in 10 say they’re just not looking for a faith to call home. An April study found that among the under-30 set, the only religious group that was growing was the “unaffiliated,” with an increasing tide of young Americans drifting away from the religion of their childhood. By year’s end, a study from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that there are about as many religiously unaffiliated people in the world (1.1 billion) as there are Catholics, and they’re the third-largest “religious” group worldwide, behind Christians and Muslims. (http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.com/ ) Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) God’s Press Conference: When likable Lou Holtz was announced as the new head football coach at the University of Notre Dame, he was touted as one who would restore the school’s football program to its tradition of excellence. Whenever a new leader appears on the scene, whether it is the new coach of a team or the new president of a corporation, a press conference is usually held to proclaim that leader’s qualifications and potential. Such press conferences usually create some excitement about the leader’s identity, and arouse our expectations with glowing promises about what this leader will accomplish. –Today’s event of our Lord’s baptism is something like this. It’s as if God Himself called a press conference to reveal His Son Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah and to give us a preview of what His mission would accomplish (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) On the right road in the wrong direction: A friend of mine vouches for the truth of the following incident. He was traveling down the country one day. His journey brought him along some by-roads, where the signposts were few and far between. After a while, he was unsure if he was on the right road, so he decided to ask the first person he saw. Eventually he came across a farmer driving his cows home for milking. He stopped the car, and asked him if he was on the right road to Somewhere, just to give the place a name. The farmer told him that he certainly was on the right road. My friend expressed his thanks, and was about to move forward when the farmer added, in a very nonchalant way, “You’re on the right road, but you’re going in the wrong direction!” –Today’s reflection on Jesus’ baptism challenges us to examine whether we are on the right road and moving in the right direction for our eternal destiny. Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) Part of the ritual: The story is told about the baptism of King Aengus by St. Patrick in the middle of the fifth century. Sometime during the rite, St. Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the king’s foot. After the baptism was over, St. Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the king’s forgiveness. “Why did you suffer this pain in silence, the Saint wanted to know. The king replied, “I thought it was part of the ritual.” (Knowing the Face of God, Tim Stafford, p. 121ff). Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) “Agnes, you’ve been a real jinx!” John was an old man, and he lay dying. His wife of many years was sitting close by. He opened his eyes for a moment, and saw her and said, “There you are Agnes, at my side again.” She smiled faintly and fluttered her eyes and said, “Yes, dear, here I am.” Then John said, “Looking back, I remember all the times you were at my side. You were there when I got my draft notice and had to go off to fight in the war. You were there when our first house burned to the ground, and we lost everything we had. You were there when I had that accident that destroyed our car, and I was seriously injured. And you were there when my business went bankrupt, and I lost every cent I had.” Agnes again smiled faintly and fluttered her eyes and said, “Yes, Dear, I have been – by your side – all the time.” Then the old man sighed and said, “I’ll tell you what, Agnes, you’ve been real bad luck!” (Norman Neaves, “Are You Ready to Take the Big Step?”). That’s not what Agnes expected to hear. The experience is ridiculous but makes the point. Any experience may be perceived differently by those involved. Today we look at one of the pivotal experiences in Jesus’ life: His baptism. How do we look at it? Fr. Tony(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).
For all of us there comes a time in our life, when we have to decide, when we have to take a stand, when we have to choose and reveal who we are, what we believe in and which side we stand for. We cannot be fence-sitters all our life. We cannot be private believers, private followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. For Jesus that moment was his baptism. For us, is it now?
Have an affirming weekend!
The Yellow Arm Band
In the dark days when Nazism spread across Europe and overpowered the Danes, Hitler ordered the king of Denmark to issue a decree whereby all Jews in the country would publicly identify themselves by wearing a yellow arm band with a Star of David on it. The king knew that anyone so identified would be rounded up and sent to the death camps. He also knew the danger of disobeying Hitler’s orders. So when he issued his decree, he wore a yellow arm band with the Star of David on it, although he was not Jewish. The people immediately knew what to do. The next day, everyone in the country – Jew and Gentile alike, wore the required arm band. Solidarity with those condemned resulted in life for all.
Harold Buetow in ‘God Still Speaks, Listen!’
In the Gospel John the Baptist sets the stage for the public manifestation of Jesus on the banks of the river Jordan. John had been preaching and calling people to repentance and a change of heart and as a sign of their repentance he was baptizing them. Jesus comes as one among the many people to be baptized and John was surprised. Why did Jesus come for baptism to John? People came to John to be baptized as a sign that they were sorry for their sins. Jesus received baptism as a sign that he was sorry for the sins of all mankind and because of his decision to pay for the sins of mankind with his obedience unto death of the cross. Though Jesus was sinless, his baptism was necessary for several reasons. It was for him a moment of decision. Jesus takes up the challenge of His father by making his public decision to launch his mission on earth. Secondly, Jesus’ baptism was his moment of identification. It was time for him to identify himself with the God-ward movement, with those who stand for God and his kingdom. The Jews considered themselves to be children of Abraham, and by that fact, assured of salvation. But John had begun this strange movement of Jewish acknowledgement of sin and of its repentance. Jesus saw this movement and was happy to undergo John’s baptism to signify that he identified with it. Thirdly, Jesus’ baptism was a moment of approval for him. Jesus was ready and willing to carry out the mission his Father had in store for him and now he receives the approval of his Father. The voice from the heavens tells us who Jesus is and also affirms for Jesus that he is the well-beloved son of the Father. Lastly the baptism for Jesus was the moment of empowerment. In ancient times, kings and priests used to be anointed to show that it was God who was appointing them to carry out their work in his name. Now Jesus was priest, prophet and king, in fact he was The Priest, Prophet and King. As the pouring of the oil on priests, prophets and kings declared these people to be appointed by God to be His messengers, so the Father shows Jesus to be his messenger, not by anointing with oil but by filling Him with the Holy Spirit.
Eagle or Prairie Chicken?
Jack McArdle in ‘And that’s the Gospel truth!’
Source of Power
Vima Dasan in 'His Word Lives'
“No wonder I come to him for advice.”
Billy Graham in ‘Stories for the Heart’
Are you Jesus?
May we proudly proclaim our faith and be glad to witness to it!
You perhaps at one time or another have seen on TV the old black and white video footage of the civil rights marches in the sixties. Martin Luther King often at the front received his share of stinging high-pressured water hoses. Rev. King once remarked that he and the other marchers had a common strength. He put it this way, as "we went before the fire hoses; we had known water. If we were a Baptist or some other denomination, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist, and some others, we had been sprinkled, but we knew water."
You and I know the water. All of God's children know the water. We share by our faith this common symbol, this initiation, this rite, this power of God over the deep and often raging chaos of life. We know water! All over the world Baptism unites us.
It also brings us back to the basics. Perhaps in our lifetime the most public statement of repentance was that of President Bill Clinton's. The one he made before a Prayer Breakfast on September 10, 1998. He summed up the task perfectly when he said, "I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned." Then he quoted from a book given him by a Jewish friend in Florida. The book is called "Gates of Repentance."
Clinton read this passage from the book: "Now is the time for turning. The leaves are beginning to turn from green to red to orange. The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter. For leaves, birds and animals, turning comes instinctively. But for us, turning does not come so easily. It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we have been wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change. These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday's ways."
Clinton's quote ended with this prayer: "Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life."
Whatever you might think of Clinton and his sincerity, he understood that he needed to do something very basic before the nation. He needed to repent...
When I was a little girl on the farm, I used to ride my bike as fast as I could down the lane that led out past the barn toward the pasture with grasshoppers whizzing around my ankles. At the end of the lane, I jumped off the bike and flung myself down on the pasture grass. I looked up at the wide sky. The flat lands of Iowa seemed to have far more sky than New York City. I lay very still, listening to my own breathing. The sunbeams broke through the blue and white sky reaching down to the pasture enfolding me with warmth and wonder. Those beams seemed to me the fingers of God. Later on, when I didn't think of God as a man in the sky, I probably said that it was the light of God or the presence of God. Whatever language I could find, I knew the deep certainty that God was with me. But that day is impossible to recapture. Our barn is now gone. The chicken house and the cattle shed, too. Soon perhaps the house will be gone, torn down and plowed under to make way for more farmland. Only the driveway will remain to remind those passing by that anyone ever lived there. If I could ride my bike down that lane, the sky would not look quite the same -- even on a sunny day. It isn't only nostalgia for a certain place and time, but a realization that the faith of my childhood has been torn in many places. It's impossible to put the pieces back together again as they were.
But the torn place is where God comes through, the place that never again closes as neatly as before. From the day he saw the heavens torn apart, Jesus began tearing apart the pictures of whom Messiah was supposed to be—
Breaking through hardness of heart to bring forth compassion.
Breaking through rituals that had grown rigid or routine.
Tearing apart the chains that bound some in the demon's power.
Tearing apart the notions of what it means to be God's Beloved Son.
Nothing would ever be the same, for the heavens would never again close so tightly.
Barbara K. Lundblad, Torn Apart Forever
The Gospel of Mark is just such a story. The secret of Mark's Gospel is the identity of Jesus Christ. In the very first sentence of the Gospel story, Mark lifts the veil and lets us know the secret when he says that this is "... the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Jesus is the Son of God, that's the secret, and lest we miss it, this hidden truth is confirmed in the story's opening episode, when Jesus, coming up out of the waters of baptism, sees the Holy Spirit descending upon him like a dove from the heavens, which have been torn open like a piece of cloth, and hears the very voice of God telling the secret: "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). Only Jesus sees the Spirit; only Jesus hears the voice. This is, in the words of one commentator, "a secret epiphany."
Once upon a time long ago a young man decided to become a saint. He left his home, family, and possessions and journeyed into the hot sands of the desert where he eventually found a dark cave. He thought, "I can find God here. I will be alone and nothing will disturb me." He prayed day and night in the cave, but God sent him many temptations. He imagined all the good things in life and wanted them desperately, but he was determined to give up everything and be with God alone. After many months, the temptations stopped and the young man was alone with God.
Then one day God called to him, "Leave your cave and go to a distant town. Look for the local shoemaker. Knock on his door and stay with his family for a few days." The holy hermit was puzzled by God's request, but nonetheless left the next morning. He walked across the desert sands and by nightfall had reached the village. He found a small house, knocked on the door and was greeted with a smile and a welcome. The hermit inquired if the man was the local shoemaker. Hearing that he was, the hermit was pleased, but the shoemaker, seeing that the hermit was tired and hungry invited him in to stay. The hermit was given a hearty meal and a clean place to sleep. The hermit stayed with the shoemaker and his family for three days. The two men talked quite a bit and the hermit learned much about the shoemaker, but he revealed little about himself, even though the family was quite curious about him.
The legend of Saint Antony of the Desert describes what sainthood is all about, namely leading a life of holiness...