Virtue: Love of Solitude
by Hannah Roa
Everyone knows that Solitude is about being alone, but what else is it all about? Why would Saint Anthony choose a life in solitude when we know that being alone could be lonely, boring, depressing and maybe even make you go crazy.
St. Anthony had riches growing up for his family was wealthy, but he had a calling in his heart to know more and more about our Lord, Jesus Christ. So at an early age he asked to enter into the Monastery. When his father died he sold his inheritance and all his possessions and gave them to the poor. He took the Bible reading, (Matt. 19:21) “If you want to be ‘perfect’, go sell all you have give to the poor and come follow me”, seriously which was said by a deacon during a church service and considered every word he heard as directed to him personally. He wanted to live as Jesus and His disciples lived, a life of poverty. Because of his quest for spiritual excellence and perfection he chose to live in solitude.
In his quest for spiritual closeness to the Lord he learned quietness, humility, silence, continuous prayers, asceticism and keeping vigil from examples of ascetics he met; all the virtues that are connected in living a life in spiritual perfection in solitude. He sought out these virtues in every person and learned from them, not imitating one but learning lessons from many. From years of practicing and learning about the virtues he taught others his wisdom, to meditate on the scriptures not to rigidly interpret them.
With living the life in solitude he found peace and the Lord and went on to teach and guide other monks his examples. He may have sold his riches and not marry, but in the end he received more than he gave. For the land and properties that now belong to the monasteries of St. Anthony greatly exceeds 300 acres he had given up and now has thousands of monk-sons in every generation who call him “father”. Because of his determination to know more of our Lord and follow Him, his love of solitude had made his name eternal that we call him “St. Anthony the Great”, a symbol of a life of solitude, meditations and prayers and a symbol of the life of a monk with all its virtues and spiritualities.
So when you find yourself wanting to know more about the Lord look at the life of St. Anthony and follow on his footsteps. Don’t be scared of being in solitude for who knows you may one day be as great as he.