GOD’S CONTINUED FAITHFULNESS
“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people...” (Lk 2:29-31)
I’ve never been one to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. This structured way of praying throughout the day seems so strict and forced. But I see beauty in the tradition of including the Canticle of Simeon from today’s Gospel in Compline (Night Prayer). As monks and others who pray the Office end their day, they recite the canticle as part of their evening intention. They entrust their lives to God with Simeon’s words, echoing his sense of relief in God’s faithfulness. Some translations capture this spirit more fully for me: “...let your servant go in peace. You have fulfilled your promise.” There is great trust and faith in somehow recognizing that God fulfills God’s promises each and every day.
This Advent, I’ve felt greater desperation personally and from others for God to fulfill God’s promises. As Christmas Day has come and gone, however, we continue to wait. I still have desires and need growth in the same areas, loved ones are still sad and struggling, the Church remains broken, and our world continues to be in turmoil. The Christmas season has just begun, but what real difference is it making?
I find help in imagining what it might have been like for Simeon in the years before and after holding the infant Jesus. I suspect that he was able to recognize the fulfillment of God’s promise in a helpless baby because he continued to cultivate a sensitivity to God over time. Perhaps, like those who pray the Office, he had to look each day for smaller, more subtle ways God was being faithful. Even after seeing Jesus, Simeon did not witness the complete unfolding of God’s plan of salvation. Maybe he too had to hold on to the glimpses he received into God’s work, trusting each day that, slowly, somehow, God is being faithful and “the darkness is passing away.” (1 Jn 2:8)
What gift or grace from the past few days speaks of God’s faithfulness? What might help you to rest in peace today and trust that God’s promises are being fulfilled?