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Here is part of today’s Old Testament reading, from 1 Samuel: ‘At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down within the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place’.

The ‘Here I am’ of Samuel recalls the response of Our Lady to the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. As Julian of Norwich would later express it, ‘Lo me here, God’s handmaiden’. Today we have the opportunity to examine our own response to the call of God – do we say, ‘Here I am’, with no conditions? Let us pray for the grace to respond totally with an undivided heart, to say a full ‘Yes’ to God’s will for our lives. May God bless you.