The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Simeon en Anna by Jan van't Hoff
Simeon en Anna by Jan van't Hoff

Sister Helen Robert Boyd shared this reflection with the Sisters and Associates at Mass today in Dominican Convent.

Today the Gospel draws our attention to two senior citizens whom we have known as Anna and Simeon. We are told they were both dedicated to Temple worship for their entire lives. Simeon had been a faithful priest for the better part of his eighty-four years and Anna who had been married and widowed at an early age was also in the upper stratosphere of aging as well (not unlike us). Both of them were longing for the coming of the Messiah. Through Divine inspiration, Simeon was confident that he would live to see the advent of the Messiah. And so, it happened when Mary and Joseph presented their son for the customary dedication.

Simeon’s words in what we know as the Nunc Dimittus, reflect beautifully that God keeps his promises:

Now thou can dismiss your servant O Lord according to thy word in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which has been prepared in the sight of all peoples; a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people, Israel.

Both Simeon and Anna are great examples of the virtue of patience. Let us take a minute and see how we measure up to this practice in our own daily lives. Teasingly today, we have heard it said, “Patience is a virtue found seldom in a woman but never in a man.” Sorry Guys! But today’s Gospel characters are an exception to that rule. Anna and Simeon both manifested in their lives the utmost patience and trust that in time, their patience would be rewarded.

We, too, have been blessed with the gift of years to practice this virtue as they did so well. There are innumerable occasions, whether in our personal lives, communal lives, or in our attitudes toward the world, that we have the opportunity to test ourselves regarding this challenging practice. How many times do we become frustrated with our own spiritual development when we don’t feel God’s presence in our daily lives, or because of our aridity in prayer, or when we become impatient with others because they don’t meet our expectations, or simply rub us the wrong way?  We forget that God only desires our sincere efforts and not perfection.

God must have a good laugh when he sees our ineptitude in seeing our own faults when we so easily see them in our neighbor. Each of us has been called to fill a special place in God’s plan as in a mosaic where each piece of glass or pottery contributes to the picture. No one piece stands alone. Let us have a holy respect for each person’s efforts.

Finally, we are not the masters of history–only God is! This world of ours today calls upon us to develop a reservoir of extraordinary patience as we are confronted every day by violence, a loss of values, and a deplorable lack of compassion and respect for human life. Let us continue to ask God’s help to be instruments to change the world into the Kingdom that God yearns to see become a reality.

Today, as we receive the Eucharist, may our hearts be filled with gratitude for God’s unconditional patience with each of us as we strive to be more patient with ourselves, our community, and our world.


– Sister Helen R. Boyd, OPSister Helen Robert Boyd

 Sister Helen resides in Dominican Convent where she serves
on the Life Enrichment Committee and co-chairs the
Mission Outreach Committee.



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