Most of us have no idea when we are going to bid goodbye to this world and enter the next. We hope for a long life, the joy of being with family and loved ones till the cows come home.  But how many years? No one knows. Simeon, in Luke’s gospel, is an exception. The Holy Spirit assures him he will not see death until he has seen the anointed of the Lord.

This happens on the day Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord.  By grace, Simeon is there and he knows this is the One. His prayer is answered. He holds the child tenderly. As far as he is concerned, his pilgrimage is over. He tells God: Take me; I’m ready.

Most of us are not exceptions. We remain in the dark about the length of our days. So it was for Joseph. And for Mary. Simeon predicted a sword would pierce the heart of Jesus’ mother. That pain would bring each time a kind of death. Like Mary, then, we live the days God grants us—many or few.

We accept the arrows and heartaches, along with the Simeon-like ecstasies that come our way. We know not the hour nor the day, but through our daily offering tell God we are ready when he is: Take, Lord, and receive all that I am!

—Fr. Paul Faulstich, SJ spent many years in India and is now doing pastoral ministry at Loyola University in Chicago.