Sixth Day of the Octave of Christmas
Today we have a brief encounter with one of the many interesting yet little-known characters of the Gospel: a prophetess named Anna. Her story is heartbreaking, a widow of many years after a brief marriage to her husband. She spent the rest of her years in the Temple praying and fasting day and night, longing for God. We can only imagine her grief; after so short a time with her husband it is likely she never bore children and having lived in the Temple all those years it is also likely she had no family nearby.
Yet this is a woman who, as Jesus would later teach, had stored up “treasures in Heaven.” (Matt. 6:20) For all of us yearn not only to belong to God, but for Him to belong to us. He is faithful even beyond death, beyond that final trial that even the most faithful spouse cannot fully accompany. We know that God was her treasure, for “where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (v. 21), and clearly her heart was with God. Placing her whole life in God Anna, at long last, received her treasure: in her old age a child is born, a son is given (Is. 9:6), and it so happens this child is He for whom her heart has ever longed. She who longed to be with God now holds in her weary arms Emmanuel—God-with-Us, God with her. She who never delivered a son has now by the Son of God been delivered, and her long expectation for new life has been fulfilled.
God heard Anna’s prayers and answered with His Word; He saw her fasting and sent her Bread. Let us then follow the example of Anna and wait for the Lord with prayer and fasting, being attentive to His Word and making Him our most cherished possession, seeking Him above all things. For in doing so we place our heart in His hands and having this open space in our lives for Him He comes, remaining with us “even until the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)