Something for you,
to spark you on an adult level
I’ve seen the icon for the Presentation of Christ in the Holy Temple many times. I’ve heard sermons about the Righteous Simeon waiting years to see the Christ; fulfilling a promise from God.
Every year a women standing in the middle of that icon has gone all but unnoticed. This year, I’m taking some time to think about the Prophetess Anna. We know that she was widowed as a young women and lived in the Holy Temple serving others. She lived a life of prayer and fasting. We learn about her in Luke 2:36-38 while he tells the story of Christ’s presentation.-
33And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
I’ve often wondered at how Mary was prepared for motherhood, who raised her? We know that the Saints Joachim and Anna brought her to the Holy Temple when she was weaned (so about 2-3), and died shortly after. We know that Mary spent much of her childhood in the Holy of Holies and was educated by the priests. We also know that she was working on a new tapastery to cover the door to the Holy of Holies when the Angel Gabriel appears at the Annunciation.
But who taught her to sew, embroider or weave?
I don’t believe its a cooincidence that Anna was on her way to pray as Mary brought Jesus to the Holy Temple. Mary would have known her routine from childhood, afterall she hadn’t been gone very long. This may be a glimpse at a very special relationship between two faithful women of God. This may be the mother-figure who raised up the Theotokos.