It seems Anthony was a bit of a hard case. He told it as it was, whether it was polite or not. I guess becoming a recluse does tend to take a toll on your social graces. One of the quotes that struck me, as it was said in the late third and early fourth centuries, was this:
He also said, 'God does not allow the same warfare and temptations to this generation as he did formerly, for men are weaker now and cannot bear so much.
What does this say about us? We are many, many generations removed from that and are obviously weaker than even that generation. Coming from the first century Christians who were willing to die, en masse, for their beliefs, to renounce not only the popular idea of the time but their ruler, to proudly proclaim that they were followers of Jesus. Then we have Anthony's era who were willing to leave the comforts of their homes, selling everything they have and giving it to the poor, and living off of the grace of God in hermitages or as recluses. To the generation of the 21st century, where we only live as Christians when its convenient, not really prepared to die for our beliefs, we negotiate with God what we are willing to do, and everything for the Church is subject to schedules of secular activities.
How far we have come from the faith of our fore-fathers and mothers! It is a good thing that we do not have the temptations they had, because we could not bear them! So, the next time that you feel that it is too hard to be a Christian and that the temptations are more than you can bear, remember it is easier now than any other time in the history of Christianity to be a Christian and a follower of Christ, and we are weaker in our faith rather than gaining strength in the ground-work laid by the martyrs and the defenders of our faith.
I hope you take this opportunity to remind yourself that we must be strong in the faith, not taking for granted the ease with which we live, and use this to build up our faith rather than have it wither and die.