I just got back from adoration this morning. I wish I could say that I feel as inspired as I did at the beginning of the year, but I don't. After I finished my morning rosary, I reached into my work bag to discover that I didn't have my adoration book. Fortunately, I had my Magnificat so I guess that will have to do. I went into adoration feeling discouraged and distracted.
As it is a new month, I opened my Magnificat to the Editorial from Fr. Sebastian White that can be found on the front pages. I've often found great consolation in these monthly editorials, and this one did not disappoint. He wrote about The Presentation of the Lord which we celebrated on Feb. 2nd, but he had a different twist that I'd never considered before.
He shared an insight from Pope Benedict XVI that although the temple was filled with priests and Levites and many devout people and pilgrims, none of them noticed Jesus except Anna and Simeon! Fr. Sebastien writes,
"What gave [Simeon and Anna] the capacity to recognize Jesus? At heart, the answer is simple: it was a grace, a gift from the Holy Spirit. But grace is a divine principle that changes us, a reality that conditions our humanity to attain the purposes God has for us. And so I believe it is fruitful to ponder how God's grace forged within them the readiness to see him."
Think about that for a minute. Simeon was awaiting the consolation of Israel, and Anna never left the temple. They didn't just happen to be there, they were waiting for Jesus. What's more, they knew what to look for, and had eyes to see him. I suspect this was not unlike when Peter identified Jesus as the Messiah. "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father."
This begs the question: Would I recognize Jesus? I think it's safe to say that most of the time the answer is no, and the main reason is found in Fr. Sebastien's words above. "Grace...is a reality that conditions our humanity to attain the purposes God has for us." There is a great lesson here if we have eyes to see it.
God is always with us, but we don't always have eyes to see it. If grace is necessary then we can accept that sometimes He is hidden through no fault of our own. In those moments it is an act of faith to believe that truth and live as if it were true. Other times we can't see because we are blinded by our humanity, our own will.
Let us pray that we can look for God in our lives like Anna and Simeon. Let us pray that we can wait patiently during those times where He is hidden, staying the course and persevering in faith. Especially those who are in that place of desolation where God may seem hidden. Let us find consolation in knowing that Christ has already come to redeem us, and He is present in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church in the world. Let us go to Him as our primary source of renewal, in adoration and through the sacraments. I pray this through the intercession of Saints Anna and Simeon.
I will leave you with the words of Pope Benedict XVI...