Sister Anna: A litany for worship inspired by the Prophetess Anna

Rembrandt, “The Prophetess Anna”, 1639

By Ken Sehested

Sister Anna. Last-named prophet in Holy Writ, more
likely listed among household property and livestock.

When did your Temple-dwelling vocation begin?
What sustained your twenty-four-seven vigil
for all those years?

            Anna, school us in the habits
of vigilant perseverance.

How did those old eyes of yours spot the incarnation of
God’s redemptive Promise cradled in the arms of a
Galilean maiden?

          Anna, ancient saint and elderly sister,
teach us to pray with urgent patience.

Was it a hint from Simeon’s voice, or a ghostly shade
over Joseph’s face?

            Anna, bolster our resistance
to despair’s resignation.

Or did the Light leak from Mary’s gaze?

            Anna, let prophetic vision shield us
from profit’s endless allure.

And vouchsafe us, we pray, for Redemption secure.

©Ken Sehested @ Inspired by Luke 2:22-40, a text which tells of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus coming to the Temple to fulfill Jewish ritual after the birth of an infant. Here they meet Simeon and then the prophetess Anna, who is 84 years old and has been praying and fasting in the Temple her whole life.


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