Twenty-nine years ago today, hubby and I embarked on our parenting journey. Our first-born entered the world with healthy lungs announcing his displeasure at the sudden change of venue. We joked about him seeing his shadow and wanting to go back for six more weeks of snoozing. When hubby began the round of phone calls to share the good news, mention was made of it being Groundhog Day. But it was our dear Benedictine friend, Sr. Grace, who gently reminded us that it was also the Feast of the Presentation.
Luke’s gospel story of Mary and Joseph presenting the baby Jesus in the temple is filled with rich words and memorable characters. (Luke 2: 22-39) I always had a fondness for the prophet, Anna. She spent a mere 7 years with her husband, and was a widow until 84. Her days were spent praying and fasting in the temple.
Do you know an Anna? Our parish has been blessed with many Anna’s over the years. These are the faithful and faith-filled women who form the small remnant of weekday mass goers. They are present at every Eucharistic Adoration or extra prayer service. They arrive early, and leave late in order to pray more. They are the ones with the tattered prayer books and worn-out rosary beads. In our parish it was Anne, Pearl, Kay, Catherine, Helen, Tessie, Kate and more. When we first came to the parish, 30 years ago, some were already widows. Some are still alive today. Others have joined the glorious communion of saints, still joining their prayers with all holy women and men across time.
My favorite Benedictine community also had its Anna’s. These elder nuns were no longer able to participate in active ministry. But, they spent hours in the chapel praying for all.
Of course, we cannot forget the Simeon’s. But the men in the temple are usually front and center, so it is not easy to forget them. Today let’s remember, with gratitude, all the quiet women prophets in our midst.