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The Heart of a Witness
The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
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.
Opening prayer: Holy Spirit, come and enlighten my heart so I can see as you see. Prepare my heart to encounter Jesus, who was born for me this Christmas season.
- Awaiting Redemption: After original sin, darkness made itself a home in the world, bringing with it conflict, anguish, and fear. People now lived with violence, hatred, revenge, and war. The Hebrew people knew they desperately needed a savior. They had experienced time and again their own infidelity, and how hard it was to believe in one God and be his people. To this day, even though Jesus has already come, we are in desperate need of redemption. There are many people who have never experienced his love. There are many people, even among believers, that have no idea how beautiful it can be to live in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Let our hearts break at our own and humanity’s need for a savior, and ask God how we can help.
- God Prepared Her: God uses everything and anything in our life to sanctify us and prepare us for our mission. Many times, he uses difficulties and hardships to make us stronger. Anna lost her husband after only seven years, but she didn’t lose her faith. She must have realized that suffering and pain are never meaningless with God at our side, and she decided to stay close. Scripture says Anna never left the Temple. She fasted and prayed unceasingly. God was preparing her for the moment when she would witness, through her prayer of thanksgiving, to thousands upon thousands of future Christians.
- She Spoke about the Child: The prophetess Anna knew by her encounter with the Christ Child that redemption was at hand, and she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. She couldn’t keep it to herself. Anna’s heart was on fire, and fire can’t help but spread. When we truly encounter Jesus, it is hard to contain the joy in our hearts. We become a witness to those around us of the incomparable goodness of God.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to find in you the meaning of my life. Deepen my love for you until my heart overflows with joy. Let me experience your redemption in such a way that I become your witness to a world who needs you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will try to find an opportunity to talk about you with others. In this Christmas octave, I will try to remind those around me that this season is about you.
For Further Reflection: Read Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).
Gaby Ruiloba is from Aguascalientes, Mexico. She consecrated her life to God in Regnum Christi in 2009 and currently ministers at Everest Collegiate High School & Academy in Clarkston, Michigan.