St. Anthony The Hermit And St. Catherine Of Siena, According To Their
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St. Anthony the Hermit and St. Catherine of Siena, according to their respective biographers St. Athanasius the Great and Raymundus De Vineis, believed in following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Although both focus on different types of examples, Athanasius and Vineis both agreed that a saint must not give in to his/her temptations and must have the power to perform miracles. However, Athanasius' definition of the social consciousness of a saint was almost completely opposite of Vineis'. Athanasius and Vineis defined many of the boundaries of sainthood similarly, yet also differed on some interpretations of saintliness.
Athanasius and Vineis agreed that one act of holiness was the reluctance to give in to temptation. Anthony and Catherine, as expressed by their respective biographers, renounced worldly desires such as food, money and lust. However, though both Anthony and Catherine faced temptation, they faced different forms of it. According to Athanasius, Anthony faced many evils that usually pertained to wealth or acts of lust. But through prayer and belief the Lord delivered Anthony from these evils.
Now as he went on he again saw, not this time a phantom, but real gold lying in the way. Whether it was the enemy that pointed it out, or whether it was a higher power training the disciple and proving to the devil that he cared nothing even for real riches, he himself did not say, and we do not know; only that it was gold that he saw. Antony marvelled [sic] at the quantity, but avoided it like fire and passed on without looking back, running swiftly on till he lost sight of the place and knew not where it was (Athanasius, p.19).
Athanasius went on to write many other examples very similar to this one, but every time, Anthony saw temptation and he simply ignored it and put it out of his mind. Catherine also faced temptation, but unlike Athanasius, Vineis focused on food as the principal enticement. By the age of twenty, Catherine gave up meat and wine in order to follow the path of Jesus. Vineis wrote that God came to Catherine and blessed her for all of her hard labors and quenched her worldly cravings. ?After this tyme the holie maid was so replenished with heavenlie grace that she neither did, nor might eate, her bodilie meate in such sort, as she was wont to doe before (Vineis, p.167).? After this, Catherine no longer needed food to survive, but at certain times she seemed almost forced, usually by her husband, to eat those foods that she formerly craved so she would not die. The Lord came to Catherine and told her not to worry and to obey what her husband asked of her. Vineis seemed to convey a message that after a person has been blessed by God, that person will not need to worry about how his/her actions will affect his/her standing with God in heaven.
Athanasius and Vineis considered the performance of miracles holy, primarily the power to heal. However, although Athanasius depicted Anthony as having the power to heal, he tended to focus on different aspects of Anthony's holiness, whereas Vineis portrayed healing as Catherine's primary saintly power. Catherine used her gift to heal many people during her lifetime, but many people did not realize Catherine's true ability to heal until shortly after her death.
But bicause, being a weake woman, she could not come her selfe to touch anie part of her bodie or garmentes, by reason of the great presse and crowd of the people: she praied some one, that stood there neere to the beere, that he would be so good, as to take a vele of hers, and put it to some part of the bodie, and so deliver it unto her againe. When she had received her vele againe, she put it to her armes and foorthwith her arme was perfectly healed, and in as good state, as ever it was before. The which when she perceived, she cried out for ioye, and declared to all the people, that were there present, what a wonderfull worke our Lord had wrought upon her. Wherupon they brought in manie other weake and feeble creatures, hoping, that if they might come to touch but only the hemme of her
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Doctors of the Church, Athanasius of Alexandria, Christologists, Asceticism, Athanasius, Catherine of Siena, Hermit
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