January 14, 2020

1 Sm 1: 9-20

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 worshipped 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.’

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Remember God

In a famous scene from The Lion King, Simba communicates with his dead father Mufasa. As Mufasa’s voice fades, his final words reverberate: “Remember who you are. Remember.”

Watching this scene, I usually associate Mufasa’s voice with God’s. But today it is a human voice — Hannah’s — that reminds me of Mufasa: “Remember me. Do not forget your servant.”

Remember that you are the God who gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. Remember me the way you “remembered” Rachel, wife of Jacob, whom you also granted a son after many infertile years (Gen. 30:22). Remember.

It’s fair to ask, “How could God ever forget?” But if nothing else, when we remind God to remember us, we also remember God. Like Hannah, we “present ourselves before the Lord,” to remember him and be remembered. And isn’t that prayer?

How will you remember God today? And how might God remember you?

Dan Everson, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Central and Southern Province who currently teaches theology and coordinates community service at Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver.

Prayer

Loving God, just as I ask you to remember me, help me to always remember you.  Deepen my relationship with you so that I can recognize your presence in all things.  Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer team

Troy Bengford