The Prayerful Prophetess

Luke 2: 36-40
1 Jn 2: 12-17/ Ps 96:7-8a, 8b-9, 10

She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer…
(Luke 2:37)

In our devotion lies salvation
Prayer always brings out the best;
To the hopeful and the prayerful
Grace from heaven will come to rest.

There was also a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow up to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him. (Luke 2:36-40)

Reflection

As we come to the end of the year, the Word of God shows us the life of Anna, the prophetess in the temple of Jerusalem where Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to be presented to the Lord. Little is known about her life, except that she was widowed after a brief marriage of seven years, and never remarried, but decided to spend the rest of her life praying in the temple, and fasting night and day. Like Simeon before her, she was also privileged by the Holy Spirit to recognize and to proclaim the baby Jesus as the promised Messiah.

If only for today and perhaps tomorrow as well, let us follow the example of St. Anna, the prophetess, and spend the ebbing hours of 2009 in meditation for the year that was, so that we can prepare for the new year that will soon be upon us. How much time did we spend in church or in prayers at home to worship the Lord? As we reflect on her devotion in the temple, let her example inspire us to take our quiet moments with God as the most important times in our day-to-day life. As we reflect on her spiritual hunger to see the Son of God in the flesh, let us ask ourselves: Have we been as eager to nourish our spiritual life this past year by receiving Jesus more often in the Holy Eucharist? Or have we instead been too busy pursuing temporal ambitions and enjoying material comforts and indulgences?

Let us meditate on the words of St. John in the first reading: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of the Father remains forever.” (1John 2:15-17) Just as we know that 2009 will soon be passing away, let us resolve to turn our minds and hearts this coming year to the things that will never pass away. May you have a new kind of life this coming year!

Forgive us, Lord, if we have not been as prayerful this past year. May the example of St. Anna inspire us to come to Your presence more frequently in prayer and adoration in the coming year, and for always. Amen.

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