Daily Reflection
January 15th, 2002
Fr. Rich Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation
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1 Samuel 1:9-20
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
Mark 1:21-28

Nothing Held Back

We all long to see the face of God, but perhaps as close as we may come in this present life is to have the privilege of listening to someone pray.  

We have such a privilege in today’s reading from the first book of Samuel.  Hannah opens her heart to God in prayer and we receive the benefit.  It is the prayer of an “unhappy woman,” as she herself states.  Powerfully descriptive words run through the entire account:  bitterness, weeping, sorrow, misery.  

We might sit back in reading quickly this account and simply feel sorry for Hannah (she is longing for a child).  But a second reading beckons us to be amazed at her prayer:  she powerfully, directly, pours out her sorrowful heart to the Lord.  Nothing is held back, nothing is sugar-coated, nothing is hidden.  She asks for what she wants.  Most amazing of all, there is not the slightest hint that this is an inappropriate way to pray.  Everything points in the opposite direction.

This text raises up Hannah as the model for all who lament.  “Be bold with God,” she encourages us.  “Hold nothing back, tell God what you are feeling and thinking, ask for what you want.”  

What is to prevent us from that kind of courageous prayer?  

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