Today is the memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the traditionally honored parents of Mary, and thus the grandparents of Jesus. Have you ever used as a source of meditation the fact that Jesus Christ had grandparents?
Joachim and Anne’s names are known to us from an ancient Christian document called the Protoevangelium of James. This non-canonical writing dates from the second Century AD, in other words about 70 – 170 years after Jesus’ death. Joachim and Anne were our Blessed Mother’s parents. Some legends have it that Mary was born not far from the Temple in Jerusalem. Other accounts place her birth elsewhere. What we are told is that Joachim and Anne were a childless married couple who longed for a baby. God granted their request in the birth of Mary Immaculate.
If you would, meditate on this: Imagine being married and infertile. You pray for a miracle, that God would give you a child. Alas, you find yourself pregnant and later give birth to a beautiful baby girl. Your daughter grows up the apple of your eye. When she is about 15 or 16 years old, she walks in the door and says, “Mom and Dad, I’m pregnant although I do not know any man! An angel told me so.”
What would you think? What would you say? What would you do?
If you have the faith of St. Joachim and Anne, you will find yourself protecting your daughter, loving her, shielding her from the condemnation of others and welcoming her unborn child into life. This is what Joachim and Anne did. They believed, and because of their faith, Mary was born, Mary said “yes” to the angel, Mary gave birth to our Savior, and we were saved by the grace won for us by Jesus life, death and resurrection.
Unfortunately, in contemporary society, many families find themselves in similar circumstances….. a teenage daughter comes home to announce a pregnancy with being married….. and the outcome is very different. The daughter is condemned, the baby is aborted, life is terminated in so many ways.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Joachim and Anne didn’t have faith? Mary would have been exposed to condemnation, ridicule and possible death. There would have been no cooperation with God’s plan for redemption and salvation.
St. Joachim and Anne, then, also were important figures in salvation history.
Here are two prayers, one to St. Joachim and another to St. Anne:
Prayer to Saint Joachim
O great and glorious Patriarch, Saint Joachim, what joy is mine when I consider that thou wast chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy! By this singular privilege, thou hast become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us; with great confidence I have recourse to thy mighty protection and I commend to thee all my needs and those of my family, both spiritual and temporal; and especially do I entrust to thy keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from thy fatherly intercession. And since thou wast a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace of interior recollection and a spirit of detachment from the transitory goods of this life, together with a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me in like manner a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy Church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her: to the end that I may live and die in faith and hope and perfect charity, ever invoking the holy names of Jesus and Mary, and may I thus be saved. Amen.
DAILY PRAYER TO SAINT ANN
O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.
Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.
Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .
O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death.
Good St. Ann, intercede for me.