St. Samuel—Blessed with the Spirit of God

The feast of St. Samuel is Aug. 20.

Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), “Hannah Presenting Samuel to Eli”
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674), “Hannah Presenting Samuel to Eli” (photo: Public Domain)

When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” ―1 Samuel 3:9b–10

Samuel was a prominent Old Testament character during the establishment of the Israelite monarchy. He is typically considered to be the last of the judges as well as a prophet and a priest who anointed Israel’s first two kings.

Before he was even born, Samuel’s mother, Hannah, had been terribly distraught over having no children, and with a grieving heart, she promised God to raise a child devoted to his glory―if God would bless her with a baby boy. Within one year, Hannah gave birth to Samuel. As soon as Samuel was weaned, Hannah fulfilled her promise to God by bringing her son to live and serve in the temple in Shiloh.

As Samuel grew, it became clear that the spirit of God was with him, and Samuel became a good prophet. He strove hard to encourage fidelity to the Lord and passed on divine guidance to the Israelites as they struggled through various difficulties.

Unfortunately, Samuel’s sons grew to be very ungodlike in their ways, and as Samuel aged, the Israelites worried about these sons taking their father’s place. They began to press Samuel into arranging for a king. Samuel warned the Israelites of the corruption so often associated with kings and encouraged a stronger trust in God instead. They persisted, and reluctantly, Samuel, with the guidance of God, anointed Saul as king of Israel.

Saul began his kingship nicely; however, before long, he began to sin and ignore the words of God. God then sent Samuel to quietly anoint David as king. Intriguingly, before publicly reigning as king, David served for King Saul as a harp player, armor-bearer and soldier. His many military achievements caused Saul to grow terribly resentful, and at one point, Samuel had to help David hide from the murderously vengeful king in the prophet’s hometown of Ramah.

Before David ever became the outwardly recognized king, Samuel died. It was a time of great sadness for all in Israel, and the nation gathered to mourn the passing of this devout judge, prophet and priest of Israel.


A Biblical Novena to St. Samuel

The feast of St. Samuel is Aug. 20. Because of his influence over the first two kings of Israel, he might be a good saint to turn to when praying for political leaders. He would also be a good saint to turn to when spiritual guidance is needed for personal reasons. If you would like to spend a novena of days in prayer with St. Samuel, read one passage below a day for nine days. Prayerfully ponder each passage and be sure to ask St. Samuel to pray for any special intentions you may have.

  • Day 1) 1 Samuel 1:1–28
  • Day 2) 1 Samuel 3:1–21
  • Day 3) 1 Samuel 7:2–17
  • Day 4) 1 Samuel 8:1–22
  • Day 5) 1 Samuel 9:1–10:1
  • Day 6) 1 Samuel 15:10-31
  • Day 7) 1 Samuel 16:1–13
  • Day 8) 1 Samuel 19:18–20
  • Day 9) 1 Samuel 25:1
Miniature from a 13th-century Passio Sancti Georgii (Verona).

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