St Anthony of the Desert is nearly as old as the Church. He is credited as the (unwilling) founder of monasticism, founder because men who saw his holiness and love of God would set up monasteries around him, and unwilling because he would keep running away to an ever more severe hermitage (out of charity he stayed with them in the end). Renowned across the ancient world and through the centuries for his wisdom, countless men have followed his example of seeking God in silence and solitude. St Anthony is known also for his constant struggles against satan, who would tempt and torment him mercilessly. At times he would launch ravenous beasts to terrify him, at others arouse impure desires – each and every time, by his trust in the grace of God he prevailed.
St Anthony of Padua began this life the son of a noble house (and, perhaps, inheritor of crusading blood), cultivating zeal for the faith first with the Canons Regular of St Augustine and then with the Order of Friars Minor. Ordained priest and appointed resident pastor for a hermitage, the legend of his preaching began soon after at an ordination mass for young Franciscans and Dominicans. Appointed by St Francis himself to teach the sacred sciences, St Anthony is famed for his preaching which ensnared even the fish of the river Brenta (near Padua). The other mark of this great saint is his visions and miracles – St Anthony was graced by a meeting with the Holy Infant Jesus, whom he bore in his own arms.
The Order of Preachers was founded by St Dominic early in the 13th century, and encompasses Friars, Contemplative Nuns, Active Sisters (all using the postnominal OP) and Laity (OPL). St Dominic founded his order to combat the heresies of his age by sound preaching, communal prayer, and personal penance. The motto “Veritas” reveals our love for God as the fullness of Truth, while “Laudare, Benedicere, Prædicare” outlines the mission of every Dominican: to Praise God, to Bless His people, and to Preach His love.
Chosen by my parents and given at my baptism, “Anthony” is one of the names I have had all my life. At the time of confirmation I didn’t really put much thought in, and when the Bishop asked me what name I had taken, I just gave him my middle name. Looking back, I suspect it wasn’t merely the folly of a child at work. Anthony, a name resounding with monastic discipline, evangelical poverty, persistent prayer, conquering temptation, felicitous study, radiant preaching, love for creation, and devotion to the Child Christ – what better name for a future Dominican!
So it was that on being clothed as a Novice in the Lay Associates of the Order of Preachers, I again took the name “Anthony”. I persist in my refusal to admit whether I had placed myself under the ancient hermit or the friar minor, since to be frank I believe that they both chose me.
In this world, for the next.
I am a current student of the University of Technology, Sydney hoping to graduate with a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. I am presently in Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan at the University of Yamanashi for the last stage of my Arts degree, “In Country Study” (ICS). I have an active interest in science and international culture (being a product of it, myself) though these past years at university have me considering a future in fields even higher than these – philosophy and theology.
Though I enjoy playing with language, as well as writing informatively, I have never cultivated the discipline to write consistently. Indeed, the reader could be forgiven for thinking that my writing merely plays with them at times. As an amateur photographer, most of the images you see on this site will also be produced by my own unskilled hand.
That’s the real joke behind “chiral capers”: χειρ (cheir) is the Greek for “hand”. It is the basis of “chirality”, a fundamental chemical principle of optically active enantiomers (chemicals which are identical mirror images of one another), thus alluding to my scientific endeavours. It’s also a bit of a play on the “Hand of God” (manus dei) as that by which all things are formed. We are all the work of God’s hand, and He has a sense of humour. After all, without His we couldn’t have one of our own.