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Tuesday, December 30, 2003

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1 John 2:12-17
Psalm 96
Luke 2:36-40

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waiting and ready

Anna "was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer." —Luke 2:37

Anna the prophetess would have made a great watchman. She had worshipped and waited expectantly for perhaps sixty years! Anna must have often prayed this psalm as her life's mission statement: "My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn" (Ps 130:6). When the greatest moment a prophetess could ever hope for finally came to pass, Anna was completely and immediately ready for it. The infant Jesus appeared in the temple where Anna constantly prayed, and she "gave thanks to God and talked about the child to all" (Lk 2:38). She was alert and instantly ready to talk about this great hope of hers (1 Pt 3:15).

How can someone continue to hope so long without slacking in vigilance? First, Anna was afflicted. She lost her husband early in life. This affliction led her to "the Temple, worshipping day and night in fasting and prayer" (Lk 2:38). She grew closer to the Lord, and so Anna's affliction led to endurance (Rm 5:3).  As she grew in endurance, her spirit was strengthened and she learned to trust God more deeply. This trust, born of affliction and endurance, led Anna to a strong holiness, a "tested virtue" (Rm 5:4).

Anna could have been tempted to feel that nothing good would ever come her way after so many years of lonely waiting. Yet her "tested virtue" made "for hope" (Rm 5:4). Anna knew this hope would not leave her disappointed (Rm 5:5) because all her confident waiting on the Lord had renewed her strength (Is 40:31). Finally, after decades of waiting, Anna saw Jesus, her "Hope of glory" (Col 1:27), and joyfully prophesied "to all" (Lk 2:38).

Prayer:  Father, may I not grow sick and tired while I wait, but instead grow hopeful and holy as Anna did.

Promise:  "The man who does God's will endures forever." —1 Jn 2:17

Praise:  Ron fasts weekly for his wife out of his great love for her.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003