The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (2) – Anna glorifies Jesus. Every Catholic man grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can honor and support religious vocations and by building the Virtue of Prayer so he can speak with God throughout the day.
Christmastime – 6th Day in the Octave – December 30 – Lk 2:36-40
Forty days after the Nativity, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph travel to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill Jewish law requiring the presentation of first-born males (Ex 13:11-16). After offering the required sacrifice (two small birds), the Holy Family is met by Simeon, a devout old man, who holds Jesus in his arms, and offers a prophetic prayer called the Nunc Dimittis (Latin, “now dismissed”) which describes both the coming Judgment of God on the world, and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s future sufferings and sorrow.
In the Temple area, the Holy Family is approached by an extremely old woman (84 years old), the prophetess Anna, a woman who had lived a life of prayer, chastity and fasting for decades in the Temple. While prophetesses were rare, Anna followed other Old Testament women who offered prophecy (Miriam, Deborah, Hulda), and was recognized as a soul whose testimony was to be heard. Anna was of the tribe of Asher (meaning “blessed”) and the daughter of Phanuel (meaning “face of God”): she was blessed by seeing the actual face of God in Jesus. Anna’s presence underscores the prophetic fulfillment of the promise that widows would see the redemption of Israel (Is 54:4-5).
Given Anna’s many decades of devotion in the Temple, and her reputation as a prophetess, she influenced many over the years, particularly young women. Tradition holds the child Mary was presented at the Temple at an early age as a virgin consecrated to God, and remained in the Temple until the age of 12; though not confirmed in Scripture, the Blessed Virgin Mary may very well had encountered and been influenced by Anna during her childhood. Upon drawing near the Holy Family, Anna gave prophetic witness to Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of the World.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at the way in which Jesus prepares to be revealed to the world: Person of the Trinity, Jesus conceives and causes the births and lives of both Simeon and Anna; Divine Prophet, Jesus, through the Old Testament and the Temple, shape and form Simeon and Anna to offer prophecy of His Divinity; full of Divine Presence and Charisma, Jesus, though only forty days old, causes the holiest of people (Anna, Simeon) to be moved to ecstatic joy.
Honor and support Religious Vocations
Realize: After she was widowed, Anna’s long life of prayer, fasting, and chastity in the Temple drew her near to God, and yielded great blessings to many, across multiple generations; Anna prefigures the establishment of the vocation of religious sisters (nuns), and Simeon prefigures the establishment of the vocation of religious brothers (monks), of the Catholic Church.
Believe: Reflect upon Religious Vocations (CCC 914-933, 944-945).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so I can discern if I am personally being called to a religious vocation, I know how to help others in their discernment, and I actively support religious vocations and orders.
Speak with God in prayer throughout the day
Realize: Anna’s devoted lifetime of prayer drew her close to God, led her to be a blessing to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and inspired generations across time to build a life of prayer; every Catholic man can always draw closer to God in prayer.
Believe: Reflect upon The Battle of Prayer (CCC 2725-2745).
Pray: Almighty and Most Merciful Father, help me build the Virtue of Prayer (a part of Justice) so I persevere in prayer, I lead my family in prayer, and I experience the peace and happiness of being in intimate conversation with You in prayer every day.