Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, wrote this about Antony, who lived as a monk in the Egyptian desert and created a rule for monks in the third century:
Antony was like a physician given by God to Egypt. For who met him grieving and did not go away rejoicing? Who came full of anger and was not turned to kindness? … What monk who had grown slack was not strengthened by coming to him? Who came troubled by doubts and failed to gain peace of mind?
How can you give joy to others? Turn their anger to kindness? Strengthen those who are growing slack? Give people around you peace of mind?
What habits of singing, fasting, praying, and working would help you to be that kind of person? What people would help you to live that kind of life?
O God, by your Holy Spirit you enabled your servant Antony to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil: Give us grace, with pure hearts, to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.