Today’s Gospel shares the story of Anna, the prophetess. We can feel Anna’s sorrow and immense grief in this passage of Scripture. After just seven years of marriage, she lost her husband before they had the chance to have children. As a young woman, Anna never could have imagined that she would be left heartbroken and alone. A life of pain in suffering is not what anyone envisions for the future.
Anna, however, does not grow bitter or angry or resentful. She commits herself to the Lord. She spends all day and night worshiping in the Temple. Not just for a few weeks or even a few years, Anna spends decades devoting her life to prayer and fasting.
Some might be tempted to look at her life and say that it was uneventful, unsuccessful, and boring. But, as today’s first reading from 1 John reminds us, “… all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” Anna lived this verse to the fullest. She believed in the promise that God would meet all of her needs in a way the world never could.
And, that’s exactly what God did.
After years of prayer and fasting, Anna was blessed beyond measure to see the Christ Child coming into the Temple in which she worshipped. Because Anna had spent her life focusing on God, she immediately recognized His Son.
If you’re in a season of pain and suffering, think of Anna’s response. If you’re getting tired of waiting on God, think of Anna’s perseverance. If you don’t think prayer and fasting work, think of Anna’s reward.
Continue to pray, fast, and wait on God, and someday you too will recognize the Lord!