Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abbot

Lectionary: 312


This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.



I went fishing with two old buddies of mine several years ago. Reaching a promising spot, Leo asked me to throw the anchor into the water, which I did with all competence. A half-hour later, finding that the fish weren't biting here, Leo told me to pull the anchor up. But there was no rope. The anchor and rope were lost in six feet of water. 
Leo could hardly believe I tossed the anchor without checking to see if it was tied to the gunwale. I was equally surprised that it hadn't been. Apparently he didn't keep it in the boat at night. In any case I was the goat and we were adrift.
Denizens of the Mediterranean world were far more familiar with anchors than this midwestern kid. At that time, without so much as a compass to navigate, sailors kept in sight of the shore as they sailed. When there was a friendly city nearby they went into port at night; if there wasn't they anchored the craft and waited for sunrise. 
As the anchor sinks it seems to disappear "into the interior behind the veil" of the watery surface. Its flukes will dig into the sandy bottom and hold the ship against wind and sea currents. Waking in the morning the sailors will be reassured to see the same coastline they knew the night before. 

The world is a lot less familiar to us today than the Mediterranean was to antique sailors. Even as demagogues assure us they have a plan and know where they're leading us, we go to bed each night with the sinking feeling that we are adrift.

I look to our faith. I ponder the "law of Moses, the prophets and psalms." With the Church I sing psalms, hymns, and inspired songs. I pay particular attention to the liturgical feast days and seasons. 
In the hospital I administer the Sacraments to our Veterans, assuring them that they have not been lost in the sight of God or the Church. 
I like to recite the Franciscan Crown -- our version of the Rosary -- daily; remembering the joyful, luminous, sorrowful and joyful mysteries. 
This is not the first time in history that God's people have felt uncertain of the future. Read the Prophet Jeremiah for that, and especially his 29th chapter

So long as we're anchored by the Spirit of Prayer, we are not adrift. I don't know the Plan but I am sure God has one, and it's beautiful:
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you.... plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.