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August 20, 2014

Homily on the Prophet Samuel, the Fruit of Noetic Prayer (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Holy Prophet Samuel (Feast Day - August 20)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

The person of the Prophet Samuel, who we celebrate today, holds a great place in the Old Testament, as well as in the Church of Christ. He is one of those people who paved the way for the incarnation of the Son and Word of God and was obedient in all things to the will of God throughout his life. In today's homily we will highlight some points of his life.

First, the Prophet Samuel was the fruit of the faith and prayers of his parents, since his parents, Elkanah and Hannah, received him after prayer and obedience to God, and the same parents dedicated him to the Temple immediately after his weaning.

Then, at a young age he was made worthy, while in the Temple, to hear the voice of God asking him to convey a message to the priest Eli. The Prophet Samuel had continuous communication with God throughout his life, which is why the people called him "the Seer". The people called their prophets "seer" and "visionary", because they saw God and brought to the people His commandments.

Samuel lived in the eleventh century B.C. and he was made a Judge and indeed was the last of the Judges, before the establishment of the Kingdom. Samuel led the Jewish people, and when the people asked for a king, along the lines of other nations, he received a message from God to bring it about. At first he anointed Saul as king, and after the fall of Saul he anointed David as king. He had great prestige before the people and one admires the boldness he had before God, as well as the prestige that had with the people.

Everyone can benefit when they read the life and disposition of the Prophet Samuel. Spouses can learn how to lead their lives together, parents can learn how to give birth and raise their children, young people can learn how to conduct themselves before God and spiritual fathers, Clergy can learn how to pastor their flock given to them by God, secular rulers can learn how to govern the people for whom they were installed. Generally all people can learn how to conduct themselves before people, our neighbors, and what we must do for our salvation. The gifts of the Prophet Samuel were great, namely purity of heart, obedience to God, forbearance, love for the people, and many others.

The hymns of the Church that refer to him use many phrases to emphasize his great value. In one hymn we pray to him: " Prophet all-revered, you stood with the prophets, conversed with the righteous, and partook with the angels."

Previously we said that the Prophet Samuel was the fruit of the prayers and obedience of his parents towards God. Hannah was barren and Elkanah conducted himself with great love towards her, without undervaluing her, since childlessness then was considered a disgrace. And Hannah was a holy woman who had great faith in God, and she had noetic prayer, since she prayed with her heart to God to give her a child. Holy Scripture says regarding this: "Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk" (1 Sam. 1:13). If one notices every word in this passage they can connect it with what the Holy Fathers said about noetic prayer of the heart, and then they will understand why Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, had such an experience of prayer. This is why the sacred Chrysostom writes that the beginning of the birth of Samuel was prayer, tears and the faith of his mother.

Eventually we realize that the education of children is a big deal, which is not only advice of human opinions, but with the whole personality of the parents, with their faith in God and especially their prayers.

May we have the intercessions of this great Prophet, "the Seer", and his parents, that each of us may be able to achieve our mission and work.

Source: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, "Κυριακή 20 Αυγουστου, Προφήτης Σαμουήλ", July 2006. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.