“Learning from Anna, the old lady, ‘young and vibrant at heart’ to pursue what we are to be and to discover ‘why I am born!’”
(Based on 1 Jn 2:12-17 and Lk 2:36-40 – 6th Day in Christmas Octave)
There is a quotation by William Barclay, a famous theologian:
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why!”
One of them is easier and simpler than the other.
One is just a date and a moment in history.
It could be something like the 19th of January or the 2nd of November or the 29th of December or the 17th of June or the 28th of November or 16th of January etc…
This was the day, we first made our appearance on this earth.
This day is special….
The other day is also special…
… but it’s not easy to discover it!
In fact, it is an arduous task and a patient undertaking.
That is day we figure out why we are on this Planet Earth.
That is the day we come to a greater realization of our Life.
The first day tells that I am here in this earth!
The second day would tell us “why” I am here on this earth!
To discover this meaning and purpose of life and seek to live it fully well, will make our lives satisfying and truly happy.
It could happen in one day!
It could happen over a period of some years!
It could happen over one’s whole lifetime!
Yet, the most important thing is to “keep seeking for it and be alert for its discovery”
Am I in this all-important process of discovering “Why I am born in this world?”
The Gospel of the Day will point out today to a person who discovered greatly this aspect of the purpose in life, and dedicated her whole life for it – Anna, the Prophetess.
We are still in the festive passages of Christmas – the Nativity of our Saviour.
Joseph and Mary have brought their Beloved Child, Jesus, to the temple to be presented to the Lord.
After the ritual purification rites and customs, the Holy Family of Nazareth is encountered by Simeon.
He who was docile and open to the promptings of the Spirit discovered the Glory of God.
He who was patient and constantly in quest, was blessed with the true meaning of his life.
At the same time, another woman was also eagerly waiting for the Messiah…in constant eagerness and longing… Anna!
‘Anna’ is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Hannah, which means, ‘Grace’
Like the Old Testament Hannah, this Anna is also characterized by prayer and fasting
She was the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
Asher was one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Asher is considered to be one among ten of these tribes, which had strayed away from the path of the Lord, that were taken captive by the Assyrians in 722 BC, before the northern Kingdom fell.
However, “some men of Asher, of Manasseh, and of Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chr 30:11).
So, Anna belonged to that small remnant of the tribe of Asher that had humbled itself to seek protection and providence in the Lord.
Anna was, however, a widow
She was a widow for a very very long time…
… for over seven decades, she had been a widow.
It was a tremendous grief to live so long without the love of a husband.
It was a dreadful challenge to struggle for survival and existence as a widow.
Sorrow can cause two consequences to a believer….
It can make one hard, bitter, resentful and rebellious against God
It can make one kinder and dependable on God!
Sorrow can cause our faith to be spoilt
Sorrow can cause our faith to take deeper roots!
Anna, the widow, chose the better part!
She chose to reveal and revel in the Grace of God and live a Gracious Life!
And this process of her discovering “why she was born in the world” made her to…
- Practice a life of purity: She lived in holiness and integrity.
- Pray constantly: She lived in the temple continually and was incessantly fasting and praying
- Persevere Patiently: She battled loneliness and depression and persevered successfully to meet the Lord.
- Proclaim Boldly: She challenged others in their cozy life by proclaiming the Messiah and His promises!
Life is constantly calling and challenging us to discover “the day why I am born”
It’s easy to while away our time in comforts and pleasures of this world.
But that will certainly not serve the goal of our existence here on this earth.
Each of us have a specific task and responsibility entrusted by the Lord.
This role is proper to our own vocation as in family life or in a consecrated life.
In God’s precious eyes, there are no small or great responsibilities.
He values and treasures each and every duty -small or big- with equal measure.
Every task, when performed with immense love and dedication has its greatness.
Anna, the old lady, “Young and Vibrant at Heart” teaches us today…
To pursue what we are to be…to discover “why I am born”…to prevail in our aim!
… by Practicing a Life of Purity
… by Praying Constantly
… by Persevering Patiently
… by Proclaiming Boldly!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “No matter where we are…