Lectio Divina Part 2-The Desert Fathers St Antony
One of the earliest practioners of Lectio Divina here is some of the things Antony went through after prayer.
Antony would fill the desert with the discipline, coming one night with a multitude of demons, he so cut him with stripes that he lay on the ground speechless from the excessive pain. For he affirmed that the torture had been so excessive that no blows inflicted by man could ever have caused him such torment. But by the Providence of God--for the Lord never overlooks them that hope in Him--the next day his acquaintance came bringing him the loaves. And having opened the door and seeing him lying on the ground as though dead, he lifted him up and carried him to the church in the village, and laid him upon the ground. And many of his kinsfolk and the villagers sat around Antony as round a corpse. But about midnight he came to himself and arose, and when be saw them all asleep and his comrade alone watching, he motioned with his head for him to approach, and asked him to carry him again to the tombs without waking anybody.
9. He was carried therefore by the man, and as he was wont, when the door was shut he was within alone. And he could not stand up on account of the blows, but he prayed as he lay. And after he had prayed, he said with a shout, Here am I, Antony; I flee not from your stripes, for even if you inflict more nothing shall separate rues from the love of Christ. And then he sang, 'though a camp be set against me, my heart shall not be afraid .' These were the thoughts and words of this ascetic. But the enemy, who hates good, marvelling that after the blows he dared to return, called together his hounds and burst forth, 'Ye see,' said he, 'that neither by the spirit of lust nor by blows did we stay the man, but that he braves us, let us attack him in another fashion.' But changes of form for evil are easy for the devil, so in the night they made such a din that the whole of that place seemed to be shaken by an earthquake, and the demons as if breaking the four walls of the dwelling seemed to enter through them, coming in the likeness of beasts and creeping things. And the place was on a sudden filled with the forms of lions, bears, leopards, bulls, serpents, asps, scorpions, and wolves, and each of them was moving according to his nature. The lion was roaring, wishing to attack, the bull seeming to toss with its horns, the serpent writhing but unable to approach, and the wolf as it rushed on was restrained; altogether the noises of the apparitions, with their angry ragings, were dreadful. But Antony, stricken and goaded by them, felt bodily pains severer still. He lay watching, however, with unshaken soul, groaning from bodily anguish; but his mind was clear, and as in mockery he said, 'If there had been any power in you, it would have sufficed had one of you come, but since the Lord hath made you weak you attempt to terrify me by numbers: and a proof of your weakness is that you take the shapes of brute beasts.' And again with boldness he said, 'If you are able, and have received power
against me, delay not to attack; but if you are unable, why trouble me in vain ? For faith in our Lord is a seal and a wall of safety to us.' So after many attempts they gnashed their teeth upon him, because they were mocking themselves rather than him.
Again about demons
'Again they are treacherous, and are ready to change themselves into all forms and assume all appearances. Very often also without appearing they imitate the music of harp and voice, and recall the words of Scripture. Sometimes, too, while we are reading they immediately repeat many times, like an echo, what is read. They arouse us from our sleep to prayers; and this constantly, hardly allowing us to sleep at all. At another time they assume the appearance of monks and feign the speech of holy men, that by their similarity they may deceive and thus drag their victims where they will. But no heed must be paid them even if they arouse to prayer, even if they counsel us not to eat at all even though they seem to accuse and cast shame upon us for those things which once they allowed. For they do this not for the sake of piety or truth, but that they may carry off the simple to despair; and that they may say the discipline is useless, and make men loathe the solitary life as a trouble and burden, and hinder those who in spite of them walk in it.
Text above is from Athanasius: Select Works and Letters, Volume IV of NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS, Series II, Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, editors. The pagination of this edition has been preserved here for citation purposes.
Antony is said to have gone mad in the desert hearing voices.
The practice of Lectio Divina bought on demonic encounters with very real demons. Theresa of Avila had similar encounters with demons and voices.She found if her focus got of Christ even a little bit demonic voices would invade. The encounters were with mature adults who were very tough often living only off bread and water with a little salt.
This isnt some sort of Harry Potter movie folks demons are very real.
Is this something we should get very young children mixed up in?
And is this unbiblical ritual something we should teach to unsaved children?
Who are they going to get speaking to them.
If you think demons won't target small children because they are looking for Jesus you had better get your head out of the dirt or wherever else you may have it buried.
Here is another practice of the Desert Fathers adopted by the church is Brian Mclaren and his goofy bunch going to bring this practice back as well.
The Church adopted it's use of the scourge from a tribe of monastics who settled in small communities in the Egyptian Desert in the year 381 AD. These 'desert fathers', who believed that any sort of physical pleasure was sinful, were avid practitioners of self-flagellation. They were of the opinion that pain and discomfort blunted cravings for the sensual pleasures of the flesh and proved the insignificance of the body. Following their lead, the Church, even in it's earliests ages embraced the practice of flagellation, both self inflicted and otherwise. Indeed, the tales of flogging within the church are numerous. Take the Pazzi, St. Rose, for instance, who would often run out into the rose garden and roll around on the thorns, after which she would race back into the convent and demand to be tied up and beaten.
Tell you what as a parent of four kids you should watch everything your church introduces and do your own research on the subject.