Ink drawing by Gloria Tuccio
In Jerusalem, in the Northwest area of the Old City, near the healing pools of Bethesda (John 5), stands the Church of St. Anne. This church stands over earlier Byzantine ruins which were built over and around the site believed to be the childhood home of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before Mary lived in Nazareth and was betrothed to Joseph, she was born in the holy city.
According to a Coptic (Egyptian) Christian tradition, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, had come to Jerusalem to live and offer sacrifice. Because they were old and childless, their offering at the Temple was not accepted, and they were ridiculed. This weighed greatly upon them, and they went to pray. Anne stayed in Jerusalem while Joachim went out into the desert to pray. After some time, they reunited in their home in Jerusalem and were blessed with the unexpected and overjoyous arrival of a baby girl. It is with this girl that God had first definitely acted in bringing about the salvation of the world. She who is ‘full of grace’ was present to the world; and in a few years, the Savior would be born.
When we look at the window of St. Anne and her daughter Mary above the altar, we can see a tired and aged woman who looks astounded at what she sees before her eyes—one who didn’t think she would be blessed in her wise years yet played one of the greatest parts, giving form and formation to our Blessed Mother.
In our own lives, we would do good to go to Sts. Anne and Joachim (July 26) when we can’t see past what we perceive as the end, when we feel we have no more to give and nothing more could be asked of us. Sts. Anne and Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.
– Father Mark Schoffner, July 26, 2020
Fr. Scott and Fr. Mark plan to trade months in offering a weekly reflection or catechesis in our future bulletins. Be sure to check out what they have to share!