Today is the feast day of Holy and Righteous Simeon the God-Receiver and Holy and Righteous Anna the Prophetess (Luke 2:22-40) and I thought I'd make a few comments about them.
I love these two saints because they show me two particular virtues I struggle attaining: long-suffering and patience.
The Latin word, patientia, is where the English word "patience" comes from. It literally translates as "suffering."
Speaking of suffering, (*wink*) my wife and I teach the Junior High Sunday School at St. Nicholas (cue: your cry of sympathy here) and we talked to the kids about this incredible story.
One of the things we highlighted was the expectation these two holy people had during their life. The anticipation of seeing the "salvation of Israel" kept them going throughout their life of prayer, fasting and contemplation in the temple. In verse 26, we see this:
"And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ."
One of the points brought up in class by the kids was that we don't know when this truth was revealed to St. Simeon during his life. Was he 13 years old? 33 years old? 63 years old? Who knows how long he patiently waited in prayer and asceticism *without* knowing! And how sad it is that we, having a more complete knowledge of the truth than he, fail so miserably in acquiring and exercising the virtues of long-suffering and patience!