By Carol Younger
I LOVE ANNA! I really love Anna. She reminds me of that lovable grandmother whose first grandchild’s photos and visits can’t arrive often enough or quickly enough. She wants frequent visits with that baby and l-o-n-g visits. And she’ll even interrupt any conversation with anyone to ask: “Have you seen my grand baby’s recent pictures?!” Anna is one of those bubbly, over-the-moon-with-joy grandmothers about the Christ Child of God and Mary.
Maybe my exuberant love of Anna the Prophetess is understood or motivated by what I didn’t have as a grandchild: a grandmother. My maternal grandmother died before my mother was fully grown. I never knew her. I missed her, but I never knew her. My paternal grandmother only had one comment about me when she met me: “My, how dark she is,” she said. My mother never got over that remark. And I heard that remark often as a child, as a young girl and even as a young woman. It still reverberated. Determined to be the mother and grandmother who LOVED, my children and grandchildren are supported, encouraged, talked about, and loved publicly and privately by me.
Still, when our grandchildren started arriving (eight now, and counting!), I tried hard not to be that overexcited, over-the-moon grandmother boasting and publicly extolling them to everyone everywhere, and at all times. It wasn’t really difficult, and I managed to have eight favorite grandchildren.
And then the great-grandchildren started arriving! Oh. My. Goodness! What joy! Uncontainable! These ten wonderful children, gifts from God, are always at the top of my gift-giving lists. And since my “love language” is gift-giving, my budget is always blown away.
And that’s how I began to really understand Anna the Prophetess. I understood her as the one who longs for her children, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren with love. Anna listened to the whispers of the Holy Spirit for decades, and adored, and prayed in the Temple. Now, here is the Child she has prayed for, longed for, listened to prophecies about, watched the signs of the times about. And her reward? To see…to touch… and (I believe) to hold Him with her failing physical strength. Her own eyes record and memorize His Face, the tenderness of His Body in her arms – and nothing – nobody – can keep her from telling everyone all the time – all the love that her heart holds because of this Baby. This Christ Child Who brings rescue for everyone, salvation for all who will hear of Him and accept Him? How can she not tell and retell the Story?!
I can hear her proclaiming – over and over – the other readings of this Sunday, can you?
“…children…your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.”
“Do not love the things of the world….whoever does the will of God remains forever.”
“ …Give to the LORD glory and praise;…Bring gifts, and enter his courts; worship the Lord in holy attire.”
“A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. Today a great light has come upon the earth.”
Speak again, Anna, tell us the story again! Prophesy to us about the Child Who dwells in the Eucharist, so that He will grow and become strong within us. Help us to know His wisdom and the favor that God has brought to us!
Tell us the story again, Anna!
About the author:
Dr. Carol Younger – A Senior Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Advisory Board Member for the Great Adventure Bible Studies, author of Listening and Study Guides for biblical and theological presentations through St. Joseph Communications, author of the Retreat Companion for 33 Days to Morning Glory through Marian Press. An accomplished leader in public and private education and a popular adjunct professor at an evangelical Christian university in Southern California. Active in many parish ministries, including RCIA and Catechetical training.