By St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord" (I Samuel 1:27-28).
Besought of God and dedicated to God, Samuel was a prophet and leader of the people of Israel. The blessed Hannah, his childless mother, besought him from God with tears and sacrifices. And she gave him, her one and only greatest blessing, to the service of the Lord from his infancy.
A wise mother does not consider her children as her own, but rather as God's. They are God's both when God gives them and when He takes them, but they are mostly God's when a mother herself dedicates them to Him. God's gift is returned to Him as a reciprocal gift, for we have nothing of our own to give to Him but only that which we receive from Him.
The young Samuel lived in the Temple among the iniquitous sons of Eli the high priest, and he did not become corrupt. The Lord would not reveal Himself to the sinful elders, but He appeared to this pure child: "for Samuel did the will of God, and did let none of his words fall to the ground" (I Samuel 3:19).
Samuel was a judge of the people of Israel from his youth to old age and committed nothing wrong either before God or before the people. God gave him the power to prophesy and work miracles. He defeated all of God's enemies and the enemies of the people, and he anointed two kings, Saul and David. When he grew old, he called the people together and asked them if he had ever committed any violence against anyone or accepted a bribe from anyone. And the people replied with one voice: "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand" (I Samuel 12:4).
Behold, such a man was he, who was given by God and given to God as a reciprocal gift, and who grew up with the blessing of God and the blessing of his mother. Let mothers benefit from the example of the blessed Hannah; let judges and rulers of the people benefit from the example of the righteous Samuel.
O Holy and Most-holy Lord, gracious and most gracious, open our souls to see Thy holiness and Thy goodness, that we may repent of our evils. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.