Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
In the first reading, we hear of Hannah, the mother of the future prophet Samuel. It is helpful to recall the story of Hannah and how she got here. Hannah had prayed to God very hard to have a son but never could. In strong faith, her prayers were finally answered, and she was very thankful to have a son whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was much older, Hannah returned with him to the temple in Shiloh. This is where the first reading picks up and where Hannah shows her great faith, something that we are called to mimic. She gives thanks to the Lord and returns Samuel to Him. Samuel works for the priest Eli, eventually becoming a prophet and spreading the good news of the Lord.
Hannah teaches us that everything we are given, even our most beloved possessions, is a gift from God. Moreover, we are called to offer our possessions to God so that he may do good things with them. This reading calls to mind the Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.”
How can we live out this prayer? What do we have to offer the Lord? The Christmas season is a time filled with gifts and presents, giving and receiving. It is during this time when we can reflect on all of the gifts that God has given us. But it is even more important to reflect on how we can return these gifts to God. How can you fulfill God’s calling using all of the gifts he has given you? During this final week of Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, think of one “possession” of yours that is very valuable to you like Samuel was to Hannah. Pray on that possession, trait, skill, or blessing that you have and ask the Lord to show you how you can offer it as a gift to the Christ Child on Christmas day.