Saint of the Month - St. Hannah the Prophetess - December 9
Hannah, of the tribe of Levi, is the mother of the Holy Prophet Samuel. Her story opens the First Book of Samuel found in the Old Testament. Though childless, she kept all the commandments of the Law and prayed with fervor that she might give birth to a child.
At one time she went up to the Temple and prayed and wept before the Lord. Then she made a vow, and said, "O Lord of hosts if you will give Your servant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life." (1 Samuel 1: 11) Eli the priest was watching her as she stood silently, for she was praying in her heart. He addressed her saying, "Go in peace and the God of Israel grant your petition." (1 Samuel 1:17) She believed his word, and went home.
Then she conceived and brought forth a son, and she called him Samuel, which is interpreted as "being asked for", because she said, "I have asked him of the Lord." When he was old enough, she took him to the Temple of the Lord, as she had vowed. She brought the child to Eli the priest, and she said, “I am the woman who stood by you here praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:26-28)
Then she praised God in that well-known praise attributed to her. Her beautiful song of praise and thanks (1 Samuel 2:1-10) has become the third Biblical Ode of the Matins Canon. Despite her age, God granted her three sons and two daughters. She lived after this a life well-pleasing to God, and she reposed in peace at a very old age.
Hannah’s Prayer from 1 Samuel 2:1-10
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
“There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
“Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the Lord is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.
“The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.
“The Lord brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.
“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.
“It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
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