REFLECTION FOR TODAY,
December 30, 2020
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
There was a prophetess, Anna…She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36–38
Christmas invites us to ponder how the mystery of the Incarnation touches every aspect of our life, including our deepest needs. Today we are invited to focus on what our true desires are, not the things of this world that will pass, but rather those parts of our life that need the light and love of the Messiah. It calls us always to reflect on the great call God has made on us and how we are responding to the call.
We all have a unique and sacred calling given to us from God. Each one of us is called to fulfill that calling with generosity and wholehearted commitment. As the famous prayer of Saint John Henry Newman puts it:
God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons…
Anna, the prophetess, was given a very unique, one-of-a-kind mission. When she was young, she was married for seven years. Then after losing her husband, she remained a widow until she was eighty-four. During those decades of her life, the Scripture reveals that “She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.” What an incredible calling from God!
Anna’s unique calling was to be a prophetess. She fulfilled this calling by allowing her whole life to be a symbol of the Christian vocation. Her life was spent in prayer, fasting and, most especially, in anticipation. God called her to wait, year after year, decade after decade, for the one and definitive moment of her life: her encounter with the Christ Child in the Temple.
Anna’s prophetic life tells us that we each must live our lives in such a way that our ultimate goal is to continually prepare for the moment when we meet our divine Lord in the Temple of Heaven. Unlike Anna, most are not called to literal fasting and prayer every day all day within the church buildings.
But like Anna, we must all foster an interior life of ongoing prayer and penance, and we must direct all of our actions in life to the praise and glory of God and the salvation of our souls. Though the way this universal vocation is lived out will be unique to each and every person, Anna’s life is nonetheless a symbolic prophecy of every vocation.
Reflect, today, upon how well you imitate this holy woman in your own life. Do you foster an interior life of prayer and penance and daily seek to devote yourself to the glory of God and the salvation of your soul? Evaluate your life this day in light of the wonderful prophetic life of Anna that we are given to ponder.
Lord, I thank You for the powerful witness of the prophetess Anna. May her lifelong devotion to You, a life of continual prayer and sacrifice, be a model and inspiration for me and for all who follow You. I pray that You daily reveal to me the unique way in which I am called to live out my vocation to total dedication to You. Jesus, I trust in You.