"There was a prophetess, Anna,...(who) never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." Lk 2: 36, 39
There are people, even today, who are called to live in almost total silence and dedicate their lives to prayer. The Poor Clares, for instance, are powerful women all around the world who live quietly, usually on the outskirts of towns and cities, and work to create a sacred space where God can work in them and for us. They pray in common, before the Blessed Sacrament and privately, and usually make altar breads or sew vestments for the Eucharist to support themselves. Remarkably, although they rarely make enough money to pay their bills, many believers, grateful for their deeply committed lives, are happy to bring them food, money and other necessities because they realize how important their lives are in the church.
Anna, the prophetess, might have been a Poor Clare or a member of one of the other contemplative communities in the church. Anxious to know God and do God's will, and even more anxious to proclaim God's desire to all who yearn for a Messiah, Anna would have slipped to the background in order to offer her prayer and serve God, and in all of this she offers contemporary people powerful lessons.
Life is not about being seen, recognized or lauded, but about being faithful to the vocation to which God calls us. If that means listening more than talking, praying as much as working, and living compassionately with other like minded women in an enclosed space, or working the streets tirelessly among the poor, we have only one responsibility: Be faithful to our call to live the Gospel and let ourselves be drawn more deeply into the mystery of God.
Today, take five minutes to remember that you are, before all else, a child of God.
Do you know an Anna in your life?