Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Hannah Teaches Us!

In today's first reading, 1 Sam 1: 9-20,  Hannah enters the Temple and "presented herself before the Lord."  She does not use a book to pray traditional Jewish prayers. No, she presents herself. She pours out her heart to the Lord. She is filled with sorrow at being barren and shares that sadness with the Lord, "weeping copiously".  "In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: 'O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives'....When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the Lord remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel since she had asked the Lord for him.."  

Hannah teaches us the importance of 1) taking our problems to the Lord, 2) being honest with the Lord in prayer and 3) expressing our needs--telling the Lord what it is that we would like from Him. We need to be real with the Lord, as a small child is real with its parents! However, if we are neither truthful with ourselves nor with a trusted other about our feelings and our needs, it is unlikely that we will share our truth with the Lord in prayerful encounters!  How often do we not go into prayer as dry a desert and come out the same way! How often than not do our relationships reflect the same barrenness--nothing of significance happens between us because nothing of significance nor of the truth about ourselves is honestly shared, that is, we hide our vulnerabilities. Hannah did nothing of that sort!

Lord, help me be humble enough to be vulnerable in my relationship with myself and trusted others and honest with you in prayer!  It's not the right prayer that I need but an open heart that I am willing to speak my truth to you.  May I keep no secrets from you, Lord!