January 12, 2016
1 Sm 1: 9-20
After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”
As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.”
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer. They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the Lord.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
God’s “to-do” List
The moment I woke up today and saw my extensive ‘to-do’ list, I felt paralyzed, sluggish, and unprepared to tackle my day. But I knew if I wanted to begin my day properly, I had to start with my top priority—prayer—or in this case, asking God what was on his ‘to-do’ list for me. After 10 minutes, I realized that I was doing all the things on my “to-do” list for me, rather than doing them for others—or for God.
Hannah, before she became the mother of the prophet Samuel, was a childless parent. She was unhappy because the most important item on her “to-do” list (having a child) would not be accomplished. But it was precisely her “deep sorrow and misery” that prompted her authentic prayer. Eli would respond to us who are feeling overwhelmed: “your ‘to-do’ list is not yours, but God’s… Go in peace.”
—Michael Martinez, a Jesuit scholastic of the Antilles Province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Lord, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love.
Bless us with Your strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us.
We trust that in living close to You,
we shall see Your hand, Your purpose,
Your will through all things.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
Please share the Good Word with your friends!