Advent November 29, Saint Sadwrn’s Day
Your Sacrifices Are Not Forgotten
“There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38)
After the Birth of Christ, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple, where they met Anna the Prophetess. Upon the moment of seeing them, Anna knew who Jesus was, and instantly spoke about him. Anna is honored in the scriptures, but certainly, we might have felt badly for her today. She was married as a young woman for 7 years, and after her husband died, she lived an ascetic lifestyle of prayer and fasting for the rest of her life. At the time of meeting Jesus, it appears that she was 84 years old. Clearly, her life of seeking made her sensitive to spiritual things, and opened her eyes in the moment she met the newly born Christ. Anna is evidence that a life of deep devotion will not be forgotten by the Lord.
Saint Sadwrn (aka Saint Sadwen) of whom the church and village at Llansadwrn, Anglesey is named was a soldier in Brittany. He married his cousin (who became Saint Canna), and not long after, the family moved to South Wales. He appears to have found faith in Wales, and being much older than Canna, he retreated to a monastic life in his latter years. Both Canna and Sadwrn would go on to start churches and monastic communities, and their names are found in multiple locations in Wales. He would die long before Canna, and she would be remarried and go on to continue missionary work. It appears that Saint Sadwrn left all things in his life behind to pursue a life of prayer and fasting. As strange as the life of a spiritual hermit may seem to us today in this hectic over-stimulated world, the traditions of silence and the pursuit of God remain a model for us. We need times of silence and seeking. Today, a remarkable 6th century engraved stone can be found in the church at Llansadwrn bearing Sadwrn’s name. Like Anna the Prophetess, Saint Sadwrn has not been forgotten.
Prayer: Remember our seeking. Remember our sacrifices. Remember our prayers. For those who have lost much, given much, and set aside the things of this world to seek you – remember us, and keep our names inscribed in the places of your heart, O Lord.