On the Feast of the Presentation: Saints Simeon and Anna
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
As poor, childless celibates consecrated to the presence of God in His Temple, Anna and Simeon must have seemed to have little to offer the world around them; no legacy, no clear and present offering apart from their prayer and their aging bodies. Luke makes it clear that they did nothing but wait. Yet in the end, they embraced Christ; and it is in this way that for all their poverty and delay, the two old people of the Temple show us that which is, in reality, the very height of human existence.
Msgr. Giussani puts it this way:
"It is the man who thinks he is the measure of all things who is really alone, like some friendless god. The hands may grasp things, they may caress the face of a loved one, they may shake other hands, but there is no real relationship. Man is then like a light that glides over the surface of rocks and water- though inseperable from them, he is foreign to them. Condemned to a certain conception of freedom as autonomy from God, man comes to realize that his freedom is estrangement. And thus, he is free for nothing. Every attempt to grasp a thing puts it at a further remove; things withdraw ever more from us, and become completely unattainable. It is the man who is so free as to be the measure of reality who is condemned to an abysmal loneliness."
Contrary to this warning, we recall that the lonely Anna and Simeon, having waited for God, embrace Him at last; and then they go on their way, rejoicing.