There was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. After leaving her father's home, she had been seven years with her husband, and since then she had been continually about the Temple, serving God as a widow night and day in fasting and prayer. She was now eighty-four. Coming up at that time, she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.
When the parents had fulfilled all that was required by the law of the Lord, they returned to their town, Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew in stature and strength and was filled with wisdom: the grace of God was upon him.
The divine revelation is accessible to all, however, only those who have the vision of faith can perceive this truth, hidden in our heart. The faith is helped by the prayer and contemplation. It is in this deep contemplation that Anna could perceive the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and act upon it.
We are called to follow this divine inspiration. Jesus even in His childhood has allowed the Holy Spirit to guide Him. Our imitation of Christ should help us to give this freedom to the Holy Spirit and surrender ourselves in front of the divine goodness. It is in this total surrender that we discover the divine plan and glorify God at all circumstances. The fruit of this total surrender will be inner peace and joy.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Jesus, though rich, became poor for us, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.
"Anna, who, by reason of her years of widowhood and her virtues, is set before us as wholly worthy of belief, announces that the Redeemer of all people has come... Not without purpose, however, does he make mention of the eighty-four years of her widowhood, because both the seven twelves and the two forties seemed to imply a number that is sacred." (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 2.62)
«She gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all»
Fr. Joaquim FLURIACH i Domínguez
(St. Esteve de P., Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Joseph and Mary have just celebrated the presentation rites of their first-born, Jesus, at the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph observe what the law says, because doing what God wants is a sign of faithfulness and love for God.
Since their Son —and God's Son— was born, Joseph and Mary have experienced surprise after surprise: the shepherds, the three wise men, angels... Not only external extraordinary events, but also interior ones, in the heart of people who have had some sort of contact with the Child.
Today Anne turns up. She is an elderly widow, who at a given moment decided to devote all her life to the Lord, with fasts and prayer. We are not making a mistake when we say that this woman was one of the “prudent virgins” of our Lord Jesus Christ's parable (cf. Mt 25:1-13): always faithfully watching over what seems to be God's will for her. And of course: when the moment comes, the Lord finds Her ready. The Boy fully rewards her for all the time she has dedicated to the Lord. Ask her; ask Anna if so much prayer, fast and generosity was worthwhile!
The text reads that «she gave praise to God and spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem» (Lk 2:38). Joy turns into determined apostleship: it is cause and effect. The Lord is infinitely generous with those who are generous with him.
Jesus, God incarnate, lives a family life in Nazareth, like in all families: growing, working, learning, asking, playing... «Holy and daily routine», where the souls of men grow stronger almost without realizing of it. How important the little things of every day are!