Monday, November 9, 2015

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), November 15, 2015 - 1 Samuel 1:4-20 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Marc Chagall: Hannah (c. 1956)
Hannah's Hymn

Tune: St. Catherine (Faith of Our Fathers; Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me)
[Note: The following could also be read as a poem without singing, in which case the refrain at the end of each stanza can be removed.]

Hannah could never know some day
Her prayer would be the model for
Another pray-er who magnified
The Lord, rejoicing in whom she bore.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

But Hannah knew how Elkanah
Forsook her not, nor cast aside,
And as a spendthrift, even more,
On Hannah, lavished love with pride.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

Letting loose doubt the Lord provides,
Pouring out faith set Hannah free,
By love and prayer her wish bore fruit,
And what she asked for, came to be.
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

"There is no Holy One like the LORD,"
Thus Hannah prayed, exulting that day;
Girding the feeble and thwarting the proud,
Love for the world will find a way!
Faith of our mothers, fathers, too,
Teach us God's love makes all things new.

Scott L. Barton

On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb. So it went on year by year; as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the LORD. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the LORD. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: “O LORD of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.”

As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, “How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.” But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your sight.” Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him of the LORD.”



Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.

“There is no Holy One like the LORD,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's,
and on them he has set the world.

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this poem. Beautifully written and so true for some of us.

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    1. Thank you, Paula. I'm glad you like it. I did worry that it might not speak to everyone. Hannah may not be the model that every woman desiring a child needs. On the other hand, even for Hannah, whose prayer was "answered," there were other surprises up God's sleeve, like giving up her son to old Eli, but she still rejoiced.

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