Ordinary Time Week 1: Saturday
— Saint Anthony, Abbot —

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)

Origen of Alexandria comments on these verses from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“I think that the saints, as they depart from this life, will remain in some place situated on the earth that the divine scripture calls “paradise.” This will be a place of instruction and, so to speak, a lecture room or school for souls, in which they may be taught about all that they had seen on earth. They may also receive some indications of what is to follow in the future, just as . . . in this life they had obtained certain indications of the future, seen indeed “through a glass darkly” and truly “in part,” which are revealed more clearly and brightly to the saints in their proper times and places. If any are “pure in heart” and of unpolluted mind and well-trained understanding, they will make swifter progress and quickly ascend to the region of the air until they reach the kingdom of the heavens, passing through the series of those “rooms,” if I may so call them, which the Greeks have termed spheres, that is, globes, but which the divine Scripture calls heavens. In each of these they will first observe all that happens there and then learn the reason why it happens; and thus they will proceed in order through each stage, following him who has “passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,” and who has said, “I desire that they also may be with me where I am.” Further, he alludes to this diversity of places when he says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” He himself, however, is everywhere and runs through all things. And we are no longer to think of him as being confined within those narrow limits in which he once lived for our sakes, that is, in that circumscribed condition which was his when he dwelt on earth among humans in a body like ours, so that it was then possible to think of him as being enclosed in some one place.” (On First Principles, 2)

O God,
Who brought the Abbot Saint Anthony
to serve you by a wondrous way of life in the desert,
grant, through his intercession,
that, denying ourselves,
we may always love you above all things.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen