Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HANNAH A Model Woman of Faith 1 - 13 -10

James Tissot (1826-199209 HANNAH AND THE HIGH PRIEST

In times of travail some people walk away from God -- assuredly most of us know family members or friends who have given up on God -- while there are others who carry crosses we would not wish on anyone -- likewise most of us have encountered these noble men and women, saints in our estimation.

At the present time in our national history and consequently in our personal history many families have been dealt hands, as we might say, that seem unjust or unfair. For the wives, especially, in these difficult moments when they themselves and/or their spouse have lost jobs or seen their investments melt in the heat of recession or the greed of individuals who have marred their lives and the lives of others, Hannah, yes, Old Testament Hannah is a marvelous model. Without any doubt she can also be a model for us men as well.

Today's first reading from the Book of Samuel is witness to this woman's strength. She can be associated with three other powerful women of the Old Testament: Sarah, Ruth and Esther. In challenging moments these women did not give up on God. Hannah should always come to mind when we hear readings from the Book of Samuel. That prophet was his mother's only son, a gift to her from the Lord and to humanity.

What we should take from a reading of the first two chapters of the Book of Samuel, the story of Hannah, is that she, like so many holy women of all times, were strong women who had to endure real problems. While working in Rome some years ago and in the various churches where this blogger has served the Church, I have often looked upon the women who come to the church and spend much more than a quick "Hail Mary" before the Blessed Sacrament. What is the problem they are praying about with the God in whom they seem to have placed so much trust? Is it doubts about a spouse's fidelity? Is it about financial losses that have hurt her family and her dedicated husband? Is it the son or daughter who seem to have abandoned the faith? Is it the older parent whose life is miserable because of health issues? Is it the grandchild who has become a drug addict or alcoholic or a sex addict?

Hannah and all the Hannahs we have encountered are great teachers for each of us. They persevered through challenges. They are good women who are asked by God to carry a particular cross. They accept the invitation and do not walk away from it. They truly believe that God will help them and those for whom they pray.

So, what is all this for us? We have many great models in Scripture. Yet, are we truly aware of these sources of support and intercessory graces? In your difficult moments, did you ever think of Hannah? Did you ever offer a prayer to her, seeking her intercession on your behalf?

Today there seems to be an abundance of needs in all families. Today these circumstances offer so many of us the opportunities to become men and women of faith. How strong is your faith, especially in trying moments?