"There was a prophetess, Anna...she never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." Luke 2:36-40
It's that time of year again, when people everywhere focus on a fresh start. It's time to put the past behind us, the past that is full of mistakes and regrets, and focus on beginning again. I like the words of Anne of Green Gables, "tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." I always begin each new year, each new Lent and each new Advent season with high ideals. This is the season when I will pray more, be kinder, eat less and exercise more. I am sure that this time will be different from all of my past failed attempts at self-improvement and sacrifice for God.
The prophetess Anna sets a high standard to aim for. Just thinking about trying to follow her example of fasting and prayer day and night, without leaving the temple wears me out. At first glance, it would seem impossible to live like Anna. But,when I consider that my body is the temple of God, the task seems more achievable even while it remains difficult.
My body is the temple of God, so by caring for myself to the best of my ability, I am remaining in the temple, worshiping God day and night. God is always within me and when I treat my body well by eating healthy, refraining from junk food and sweets and spending some time exercising each day, I am offering prayer and fasting to God. It isn't easy, and I know there will be times when I fail to do my best, when my prayer of healthy living will lose it's luster, but God will take my weakness as well and use it for His glory.
St. Paul tells us to pray constantly. By offering my days to God and turning to Him again and again, through my successes and failures, I will be remaining in the temple like Anna. When I begin each day asking God for His love and guidance in all things and telling Him how much I love Him and desire to follow His will, I will be praying constantly. What a wonderful New Year's resolution this can be!
Lord, help me to be like Anna. Let me remain in the temple of Your love, worshiping you night and day with fasting and prayer to the best of my ability. Accept my successes and failures as my sacrifice of love for you. Amen.