Hannah ends her fasting and sadness over her barrenness and rises at the pilgrimage site Shiloh. The priest Eli prays that her holy meal will be a blessing and her prayers will be answered. Indeed, she conceives and bears Samuel. Our reading continues with the responsorial today not being from the psalms but continuing the story of Hannah’s lavish praise for the blessing of Samuel. This proclamation becomes a canticle heritage of praise and thanksgiving for all to absorb in their very being, including, later on, a grateful Mary of Nazareth.
Yet, we know that many couples today struggle with infertility and that Hannah’s joyful praise can be painful for these couples to hear. Our eucharistic living calls us to reach out uniquely, not by repeating phrases or statements that add to a couple’s pains. The mysteries of God and our human bodies always leave more to be discovered. We may need to be quiet in the presence of infertility and listen with hope. And if we cannot be quiet, Hannah demonstrates that it is okay to grieve and be filled with discontent when dealing with infertility.
It is so hard to know the ways of God, the time and the seasons of when things will be, and what the future holds for us. Hannah’s life invites us, at the beginning of the new liturgical season of Ordinary Time, to marvel at God’s time. It is a blessing but also a struggle for us humans who sometimes so desperately want things to happen on our time and in our way.
We pause to acknowledge the winter that many suffer, as we hope for a new spring of possibilities for all who experience desolation. How can I witness hope to those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and challenging pain?
Let Us Pray:
Lord God, you help us to understand the unknown and your many ways of mystery. Give us the courage and understanding to support those most in need and be your quiet assurance of support in times of trouble and uncertainty. Through Christ our Lord.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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