Lent with Anna, the Prophetess

Now that we have begun Lent deeply immersed in the concerns and trials of the world at this time, many are wondering more about plagues, scourges, wars, famines, floods, as they were told to us in the Bible.

We begin to see that our current situation is not just for our times, but has happened before – not once but several times. Is this God’s way of getting our attention? Have we been forgetting Him and casting aside our prayer life and penance to prepare for the journey home to Heaven?

In short, I think Anna, the Prophetess would have faced similar tests and trials and this is why she would devote her life to prayer and penance day and night in the Temple. She knew the Lord would come and gave comfort and consolation to those around her, by telling them her prophesy which ultimately did come to fruition as we know from His birth.

Today on our Lenten path, we can pick up now – to begin to pray, fast and do penance in the mind and heart of Anna, the Prophetess in a more devoted and committed way. There is so much for us to turn to in our times also, that we don’t need to be alone in our prayer life and soul searching.

We can read the Bible (Psalms), watch videos about the Desert Fathers and how they handled their trials never putting down the Jesus Prayer Rope, but continually reciting the Jesus Prayer – Jesus Christ Have Mercy On Me A Sinner. We have excellent teachings on a variety of Orthodox Websites and all of these can encourage us to move forward while remaining focused on our prayer, fasting and penance.

God bless everyone around the world and at home as we lift them all up to Jesus who knows and sees all.

Time to purify our Nous! Come, Lord Jesus…..

Psalms from the Psalter below –

Lent is upon us!

CHRIST CONQUERS

Now that we are into Lent, God is asking us to take our penance, prayers and fasting to a different level; a level that calls us to discern and discipline our lives, behaviors and deeds.

Lent is not merely a rubric we follow, it is a way of life that becomes more intense before Pascha, so we can be better prepared by cleansing our minds, bodies and souls to die and rise with Christ.

Each day we die and rise in a variety of ways, however during Lent we focus more the meaning of dying and rising, letting go of all that puts barriers in meeting our Lord, and strive to fulfill our commitment to our Orthodox faith and grow into a spiritual maturity.

Anna, the Prophetess prayed and fasted for many long years in the Temple while waiting for the Lord to come. She waited in trust and hope as she herself was dying and rising in her own heart. Finally, Jesus was born and in seeing her prophecy become a reality, she could only grow more deeply in love and peace that would come to her through God’s grace.

At this time and shortly after, Anna died knowing she would be with God for all eternity and she was faithful and instrumental in fulfilling His mission.

We all have a mission from God; small or big – known or hidden, and during Lent, when we come to know the Lord more intimately through our prayers, penance and fasting – dying and rising with Him, we will also be strengthened to live out our mission.

Surrender and trust in God this Lent so we can become more like Anna the Prophetess and be an example to all those around us. Keep the light of Christ in our Nous (eye of the soul) so we can experience the knowledge of God as he wrote it on our hearts!

*Scripture Readings about Fasting are –

Neh. 1:4

Ps 35:13

Ps 109:24

Jer 36:6

Dan 6:28

Joel 2:12

Matt 6:18

Matt 17:21

Acts 10:30

1Cor 7:5

Luke 2:37

2Cor 6:5

*St Athanasius (Anthony) of the Desert about Fasting –

“When the demons see Christians, especially the monks, working joyfully and growing in the spirit, first they fight them with temptation and by placing obstacles to hinder their growth, trying to inject evil thoughts in their minds, however there is no reason for fear from their temptations because their offenses fail instantly by prayer and fasting, especially if you have armed yourself with faith and the Sign of the Cross.”

Blessings during our holy Lent and Pascha

A Video: Journey Into Pascha

Who Is St Simeon?

My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

SIMEON is here in the icon with Anna the Prophetess. He was also a Prophet and we will read Simeon’s Song to learn what he said during the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.

Luke 2: 25-35

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord Christ.

So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your Word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples,

A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.

Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Christ is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

+++++

We understand from this Bible reading, the trust and hope Simeon (and Anna) had in God, that He would send the Messiah and salvation would come. As soon as the Prophet Simeon and Prophetess Anna saw baby Jesus, they were filled with joy at the deliverance the Messiah would bring to the Israelites.

All of this trust and hope continues down through the generations to be with us today as we still search, pray and fast for deliverance from our difficulties.

Simeon’s Song beautifully expresses the fulfillment of his prophesy and His love for God. The Canticle of Simeon is sung/chanted at Evening Prayers in the Orthodox Church while some also pray it at home.

Anna’s prayers are a wonderful example of how those who are elderly or lonely still have a mission to pray for souls and their Church. God reveals Himself to those who do not depart from Him. Anna served God in prayer for many years, while she prepared to meet her Messiah. We too, can serve God in this way!

Orthodox Blogs To Visit

Orthodox Family

To share a list of blogs and websites for viewing with a brief explanation of each. They are educational, spiritually inspirational and provide some open comments or sharing with others.

+++++

https://ancientfaith.com (podcasts, blogs music/chant, books, lectures, events & store)

https://ancientfaith.com (i sermon podcast – Fr Ted Paraskevopoulos -homilies)

eroosje.blogspot.com (Akathist Hymns, sharing)

fr ted talks youtube (a variety of topics)

https://goarch.org (Greek/English – daily Scripture readings, calendar, Saints, prayers current news and store)

https://mullmonastery.com (newly established, English speaking, Celtic Saints, blog (being updated) podcasts, videos, store – all from Monk Seraphim)

https://stpaisiusmonastery.org (Grk Orth Nuns specialize in prayer ropes)

https://orthodoxmonasteryellwoodcity.org (livestream Div Liturgy & more – English)

https://oca.org (current events, faith, questions & answers)

https://stkom.org (Grk Orth Nun’s Monastery – Div Liturgy, news & events)

Note: I am posting the above blogs & websites until I can list them on a sidebar.

+++++

Three Prophetesses you might enjoy reading/learning about regarding cleansing, deliverance and redemption” in the Bible are:

Miriam, the Prophetess – Numbers 12:1

Huldah, the Prophetess – 2 Chronicles 34: 14-33

Deborah, the Prophetess – Judges 4: 1-22 & Judges 5: 1-31 (Ode to Deborah)

Athathist Hymn to St. Anna, the Prophetess

Redemption
Photo courtesy of Eastern Gift Shop

AKATHIST to St Anna the Prophetess is celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation February 3rd, and while it is beautiful to hear it chanted in our Parish, sometimes when unable to attend, we can also recite it at home alone or with others having heartfelt intentions. We see Anna in the icon holding the scroll which is cherished for her prophesy to all in the coming of the Messiah who will redeem Israel. Today, we still cherish this prophesy, knowing Jesus is with us in our trials and tribulations redeeming us through prayer and fasting while receiving the Sacraments and following the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Praying the Akathist is a very deep and meaningful way to learn about Saints and come to know their holiness in our midst.

Terminology:

Troparion – Byzantine Chant sung in chant

Akathist – “unseated hymn” dedicated to a Saint, Holy Event, or one of Persons of the Trinity

Kontakion – form of hymn with biblical theme

Ikos – (household) hymn sung for particular Feastday

Troparion Tone 3

O Holy Mother Anna, thou didst look to Heaven while here on earth. Through fasting and prayer, they heart was purified. That which was hidden was made plain to thee. Thou didst see God as a little child and didst proclaim him to the world, that He might be known by all mankind.

Kontakion Tone 5

O Prophetess of God, we honor thee for age and infirmity did not keep thee from prayer or from hearing the Word of God or from proclaiming the Good News of the coming of His Son, but thou wast emboldened by the Spirit and strengthened by obedience to do the Will of God.

Kontakion 1

Enlightened from on high, thou didst recognize God in a babe and didst proclaim Him to all those awaiting their salvation who leapt with joy and sang to thee:

Rejoice, thou St Anna, Prophetess of God.

Ikos 1

Thy life’s story is hidden behind a veil of humility; in holy icons we find thee in the background, but when it was time for theee to speak, a door was opened to glimpse thy inner world. O venerable one, and rare jewel of noetic wisdom, thou wast deemed worthy to proclaim the coming of our Lord, and thy words resonate through the ages to speak to our hearts today. Therefore we sing these praises to thee:

Rejoice, thou who dost reach out to thy people.

Rejoice, thou who dost pray for our salvation.

Rejoice, thou who does guide us in a life of prayer.

Rejoice, thou who dost lead us to purity.

Rejoice, thou who dost help us to know our Lord.

Rejoice, thou who dost protect us from harm.

Rejoice, thou who dost kindle devotion in ou rhearts.

Rejoice, thou who dost faithfully serve Christ Jesus.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion 11

Thou wast a child of the Chosen People, dedicated to God at eighty days f age, and raised by devout parents who imparted their heritage to thee. The blood of the prophets was in thy veins, and we sing to thee: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos 11

Thou wast born to the tribe of Asher, the daughter of Phanuel, and didst serve in thy home as an obedient child, learning to follow the law and emulating blessed mothers Sarah, Esther, Deborah and Rachel. Thou didst marry as thy parents arranged, living with thy husband seven years from thy virginity. Therefore we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou who wast brought up in the law.

Rejoice, thou who wast faithful to the ways of thy people.

Rejoice, thou who didst long for the Messiah to come.

Rejoice, thou who wast a pure maiden.

Rejoice, thou who dist marry according to the law.

Rejoice, thou who wast faithful to thy husband.

Rejoice, thou who didst grow in they love for God.

Rejoice, thou example of a godly woman.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion 111

Holy St Anna, thou didst become a widow at a young age and didst mourn thy husband, donning widow’s garb and crying and lamenting. Then straightway thou didst enter the temple, leaving the world behind. Thy sighing day and night was for the Messiah to come, they longing was for the heaving bridegroom; thou didst fast and pray day and night, preparing thy heart that thou mightest be found awake and watchful on that great day to sing” Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos 111

The women of the latter times look to thee, O St Anna, who didst witness the dawn of salvation. Help us to remain faithful in these last days, that we may know our Lord when He comes again. Help us like thee to fast and pray, and pray to God that He may enlighten our hearts, as we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst leave the attractions of the world.

Rejoice, thou who didst choose to live in God’s holy temple.

Rejoice, thou who didst attain purity through fasting.

Rejoice, thou who didst pray day and night.

Rejoice, who whose heart was on fire.

Rejoice, thou whose light could not be hid.

Rejoice, thou whose sight was opened.

Rejoice, thou who didst see the glory of God.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion IV

The temple was thy monastery. There thou didst lead an angelic life, being obedient to God in all things, subduing thy body with fasting and vigils, conquering fleshly longings with longing for God, desiring the Messiah instead of a child of thine own flesh, and singing God’s praises at the appointed hours an at all times. Therefore, we sing to thee: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos IV

The memory of thy husband did not leave thee, and thou didst retain a pure love for him, praying for his departed soul. Though it was the custom of thy people to remarry and bring forth children, thou didst pursue a higher calling and respond to God’s request to help pave the way for His Son. Therefore we sing to thee such hymns as these:

Rejoice, thou whose secret prayer lit up the world.

Rejoice, thou who didst wait eighty-four years in patience and faith.

Rejoice, thou height of humility.

Rejoice, thou who didst embrace poverty.

Rejoice, thou who didst serve all in the temple.

Rejoice, thou who wast vowed to chastity.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion V

When thou hadst been in the temple more than fifty years, the Virgin Mary ascended the steps to also dwell therein. For ten years thou didst see her daily, marveling at her grace and purity. Therefore we sing with thee: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos V

O Holy Mother Anna, teach us also to persevere in prayer and all good works and to attain a venerable old age which is a blessing to the world. Pray to our Lord and His Mother for us, that we may attain purity of heart, as we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou whose fulfillment began when the child Mary entered the temple.

Rejoice, thou who wast astonished at her purity.

Rejoice, thou whose name means “grace” and who didst marvel at her grace.

Rejoice, thou who didst love this child with all thy heart.

Rejoice, thou who wast old yet learned from a child.

Rejoice, thou who didst see her grow in wisdom and humility.

Rejoice, thou who didst pray to be more like her.

Rejoice, thou who didst wait for what God would reveal.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion VI

The Virgin Mary left the temple to marry aged Joseph and returned with a babe. The heart of the pure prophetess rejoiced as she saw the Truth – this was not a child from an early union, but the Son of God: that this was not an ordinary woman, but the Ever-Virgin Mother of God, and she sang: Alleluiah (x3)

Ikos VI

As the aged Simeon took the babe in his arms and proclaimed the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles, so likewise did St Anna appear at that moment, giving thanks to God the Father and declaring His Son to all those who looked for redemption in Israel, saying, “this is the Long-Awaited One, and this is His Mother, whom all generations shall call blessed!” Therefore we sing to her such hymns as these:

Rejoice, thou bearer of the Good News.

Rejoice,thou who wast chosen by God.

Rejoice, thou who didst behold the King on His throne, and His Mother at His side.

Rejoice, thou partaker of the Wisdom of God.

Rejoice, thou witness of God’s glory.

Rejoice, thou foreteller of our redemption.

Rejoice, thou whose longing was fulfilled.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion VII

God the Word did condescend to become man, submitting Himself to human form, to birth from a woman, to circumcision on the eighth day, and to obedience to the laws of Israel. He was brought to the temple on the fortieth day to be consecrated to God, though He himself was God. the Mker of the Law fulflled the Law for our sakes. We stand in awe as we join the Heavenly host to sing: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos VII

O Holy Anna, thou wast present when the infant Jesus was brought into the temple, and didst not hesitate to embrace thy Saviour, though He came in a new and unexpected form. We seek to emulate thee. Pray that we be responsive to the spirit, embrace the Son, and obediently honor the Father, as we sing these praises to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst receive the King of Glory and the Salvation of the World.

Rejoice, thou who with Simeon didst offer thyself as a sacrifice.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive Him into thy heart.

Rejoice, thou who didst respond to His call.

Rejoice, thou who wast obedient to His silent command.

Rejoice, thou who didst sing His praises.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive great consolation.

Rejoice, thou whose future life was filled with peace and sweetness.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion VIII

Like a flower that bursts into bloom, St Anna saw the full truth concerning the Virgin Mary which before she had only glimpsed, that Mary had conceived her child by the Holy Spirit of God, that she had given birth but remained a virgin, that she had been deemed worthy to be the Mother of the Son of God. We join with St Anna to sing to her: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos VIII

O Venerable anna, thou didst lead us to the Holy ONe of Israel, held in the arms of a virgin. Thou didst adore Him, and didst also honor her. Therefore, we sing such praises as these:

Rejoice, thou who didst thank her who lifted the curse of Eve.

Rejoice, thou who didst praise the Mother of us all.

Rejoice, thou who wast awed that a woman could bear God.

Rejoice, thou who like Simeon saw her future sorrows.

Rejoice, thou altar of God from which prayers arise.

Rejoice, who didst live on earth but whose conversation was in Heaven.

Rejoice, thou who didst fulfill the mission of they widowhood.

Rejoice, thou who dost ever proclaim Christ Jesus.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess, of God.

Kontakion IX

While yet a babe, Christ Jesus was proclaimed to the world as the Saviour by the shepherds, the wise men, and thee, most holy prophets Simeon and Anna. To the shepherds it was revealed by an angel, to the wise men by a star, but to thee by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we sing to thee, Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos IX

The prophets and prophetesses of old, did predict the coming of the Messiah and thou, O Anna, didst declare the fulfillment of their words, explaining their meaning and convincing people that the longed-for-day was dawning. Hope was rekindled in many hearts. Thy words were treasured and told to children and children’s children, preparing them to receive Christ when they would be called. Therefore we sing these hymns to thee:

Rejoice, thou whose patience was fulflled.

Rejoice, thou who didst show the truth of prophesies.

Rejoice, thou who didst explain Isaiah’s words that a virgin should conceive and bear a son called Immanuel.

Rejoice, thou fulfiller of God’s plan.

Rejoice, thou who didst impart thy wisdom to the young.

Rejoice, thou who didst bring comfort to many.

Rejoice, thou who didst prepare a fertile field for God.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion X

Thy tongue was silent and out of humility thou didst not speak of the wonders which God revealed to thee in prayer, but when thou didst give the pure child a kiss, thy lips were on fire and thou couldst not help proclaiming Him to the world. Therefore we sing to thee: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos X

As St Paul declared in his epistle, “he who prophesieth, speaketh until men to edification, exhortation and comfort. As the first of the Prophetesses of the New Testament, thou didst also edify, exhort, comfort and dost continue to do so today. Therefore we sing to thee:

Rejoice, thou who didst encounter the Lord.

Rejoice, thou who didst speak like a rock that cried out.

Rejoice, thou who didst praise and glorify Him.

Rejoice, thou who couldst see the unseen.

Rejoice, thou for whom the boundaries of space and time were set aside.

Rejoice, thou who with thy spiritual gaze saw not only the present but future events.

Rejoice, thou bridge between the old an the new.

Rejoice, thou who didst receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion XI

After thy repose thou wast not forgotten. Thy words and deeds were repeated; the Evangelist hymned thee; the widows of the early Church took thee as their model and patroness. Therefore, we also do not neglect to honor thee, as we sing: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos XI

As the end of the age approaches, thou dost once again reach out to thy people – this time not to the Israelites along, but to all who seek to follow Christ. Our hope is kindled, our dedication strengthened, as we sing to thee such hymns as these:

Rejoice, thou who didst dedicate thy life to God.

Rejoice, thou perfection of chastity.

Rejoice, thou model for the unmarried and widowed.

Rejoice, thou model for women who children are gown.

Rejoice, thou who didst impart the Truth to the young and save their souls from despair.

Rejoice, thou model of old age.

Rejoice, thou who wast ancient in body but young in spirit.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion XII

The Prophetess Huldah, became a gateway to the temple of the law, and thou, O Anna, art become a gateway to the Temple of Grace, opening our hearts and minds that we may recognize Christ and sing: Alleluia! (x3)

Ikos XII

God had spoken through His prophets in times past to exhort the people to righteousness and to predict the coming of the Messiah. the line of prophets and prophetesses continued with St Anna, the first eldress of the New Testament. With Simeon, the dispensation of the law did pass away, with her the dispensation of grace began. Therefore, we sing these praises to her:

Rejoice, thou who like Deborah didst show the Jewish people how to be saved.

Rejoice, thou who didst sing before the Lord like the Prophetess Miriam.

Rejoice, thou who like Judith didst serve God in the widowhood.

Rejoice, thou who didst praise Him the rest of thy life.

Rejoice, thou who dost show us how to spend our last days.

Rejoice, thou who didst announce His coming in the nethermost world.

Rejoice, thou who dost eternally sing His praises in Heaven.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion XIII

O Holy Mother Anna, thou didst acquire the rank of Prophetess, seeing Heavenly visions and recognizing the son of God in all His glory. This was His perfect Will, that His coming might be made known to Israel. Now thou who wast old dost enjoy eternal youth with Christ and His angels, yet thy prayer has not ceased for us lowly ones. Continue to bless us, we pray: Grant us healing and enlightenment and intercede when we come before the just judge, that He may have mercy on our souls, and we may join thee to sing: Alleluia! (x3)

*Sing Kontakion three times.

Ikos 1

Thy life’s story is hidden behind a veil of humility. In holy icons we find thee in the background, but when it was time for thee to speak, a door was opened to glimpse thy inner world. O venerable one, and rare jewel of noetic wisdom, thou wast deemed worthy to proclaim the coming of our Lord, and thy words resonate through the ages to speak to our hearts today. Therefore we sing these praises to thee:

Rejoice, thou who dost reach out to thy people.

Rejoice, thou who dost pray for our salvation.

Rejoice, thou who dost guide us in a life of prayer.

Rejoice, thou who dost lead us to a life of purity.

Rejoice, thou who dost help us to know our Lord.

Rejoice, thou who dost protect us from harm.

Rejoice, thou who dost kindle devotion in our hearts.

Rejoice, thou who dost faithfully serve Christ Jesus.

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

Kontakion 1

Enlightened from on high, thou didst recognize God in a babe and didst proclaim Him to all those awaiting their salvation – who leapt with joy and sang to thee:

Rejoice, St Anna, thou Prophetess of God.

+St Anna, the Prophetess, pray for us!

*Courtesy of Pda. Margaret Bauman for the St Anna Sisterhood

Indianapolis, In. 46202