When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord.
For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” She left him there for the Lord.
The passage from the First Book of Samuel provides us with a thought-provoking building block for our Advent observance. Interesting parallels suggest themselves. Three women–Hanna, Elizabeth and Mary–are linked together by a common experience: each of them had been without a child, but now each is carrying an infant within her. Sterility, advanced age or virginity….each is overcome by the miraculous intervention of God to further the unfolding drama of world salvation.
These events suggest provocative questions for us. Am I open and available to the will of God? Are my heart and mind prepared for unforeseen changes which contribute to the fulfillment of a divine master plan? How will Christ’s birth and earthly life impact on my personal response to God’s higher calling to me?
—Fr. Walter J. Stohrer, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.
Open my eyes, Lord, to see the stirrings of new life within me. As I strive for a deeper relationship with you, help me to be open to co-laboring with you in new or unexpected ways in service to your kingdom. May I be forever changed by your invitations in my life.
—The Jesuit Prayer team