Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew. - Saint Francis de Sales (1567 – 1622: Bishop of Geneva)
Gospel text: (LK 2:36-40)
There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
The passage in today’s Gospel retells the story of decades of waiting by the prophetess Anna. These verses from the Gospel of Luke have always intrigued me. If I put myself in Anna’s position as a patient servant of God awaiting the Messiah, I would not fare well. I’ve become too conditioned by the society’s standards. I expect immediate answers to any questions I might have and quick gratification to my everyday needs: from 24/7 news and information service to overnight package deliveries to microwaveable food. However, God does not work that way. My faith walk demands my patience and attention.
Just like Anna, daily spiritual activity is integral to our journey.