Always breathe Christ.St. Anthony of Egypt
St. Anthony (or Antony) of Egypt, Anthony the Great, is known as the “father of monks” and one of the most significant of the Desert Fathers. His life is a fascinating one, and is known to us because of the “Life of St. Anthony,” written by Athanasius of Alexandria in the Fourth Century. In this biography, we receive Anthony’s final exhortation to his followers as he lay dying, which includes these three words, “Always breathe Christ.” I like to think of these words as the “ABCs of Christian Spirituality” – Always Breathe Christ.
These words beautifully tie together the two sides of the coin that is Christian spirituality. We breathe in Christ through prayer, scripture reading, and other devotions. And we breathe out Christ through sharing our faith with others, loving and serving others in imitation of Jesus, and striving for justice and peace in our world.
Breathe in, breathe out. Both are important. Which is more important? Whichever one you didn’t just do! Have you been busy serving others? Then take some time to breathe in Christ through prayer, solitude, devotional reading, etc. Have you had ample opportunity to spend time with God in prayer? Then breathe out Christ through loving and serving others and helping to make this world look just a little more like the kingdom of God. Breathe in, breathe out. But always breathe Christ. Such a perfectly simple summary of our life in Christ!