Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saying of the Desert Christians: Love 3


Abba Antony said, "I no longer fear God, I love him; for love casts out fear."

Some thoughts

In Proverbs 1:7,it is written that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Which I have always understood to be a deep deep respect or veneration and not fear as in "I'm afraid of spiders." I have often wished I knew Hebrew because I am confident that if I did I would see for myself that the "fear of God" is a word very different from the Greek phobos, from which we get phobia, for instance.

Something I have seen in the Sayings is a fear that monks might lose their salvation if they sinned even a tiny bit. In fact there is a very famous icon of the Ladder of St John Climacus which has monks reaching the highest rung on the ladder only to be snared by demons and plunged into hell. is a place where you can see the icon if you happen to be unfamiliar with it.

I wonder myself if this is what Anthony means. That he and God are so in love with each other that Anthony no longer fears that anything could part him from God. Sure he might have disasters and if any have read the Life of Anthony by Athanasius then we already know that Anthony had his own demons to battle. But at his deepest core, he rests in the knowledge that because of the love he and God share, that no matter he might go through, nothing can separate him from God.

That's what I take from this. I look forward to your thoughts.


  • At 3:32 AM, Blogger MikeF said…

    I absolutely agree with you about Anthony and loving God - and yet there is something deeply resonant about that Climacus image, something deeply ingrained in the human heart that would throw away the pearl of great price for some trinket at the last moment. I can think of examples, even in my own life, as can many people I suspect. 1 Corinthians 3.11-15 seems to apply here!


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