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Life of Antony

Should always strive to become better va 7 in this

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should always strive to become better ( VA 7). In this way, one will be unwaveringly ready and vigilant against the advances of the devil, as well as be in a state of purity that is always fit before God. In his pursuit of the ultimate ascetic life, Antony comes to encounter the devil many times. The devil attempts to break Antony’s resolve by means of mental stress, bodily harm and sexual temptation, but Antony resists all of the devil’s attacks. In this section, Athanasius emphasizes the “sin in the flesh” and the importance of holding “…to the ascetic life intensely, and not to seek the things that relax the body…” ( VA 7). This idea that the body should be disregarded when seeking the ascetic lifestyle is stressed throughout the text by Athanasius in his depiction of Antony’s suffering physical abuse and still remaining faithful and resolute in his soul. Antony maintains a strict and meager diet, lives in unsuitable conditions, and yet remains unaffected no matter how many years pass. “The state of his soul was one of purity… not constricted by grief, nor relaxed by pleasure, nor affected by either laughter or dejection. He maintained utter equilibrium…” ( VA 14).
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