Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne – Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (July 26th)

140723_saintsWhat we know of Mary’s parents is they were of Davidic descent, devout Jews living in the hope of the Messiah in the light of the promise of Abraham. In the second century a devout Christian sought to tell a more elaborate story of the family life of Mary. In the apocryphal gospel known as the Protoevangelium of James, or the Nativity of Mary, there was an account of Joachim and Anne as the parents of Mary. These stories were based in the traditions of Hebrew Scriptures.

In 550 C.E. Emperor Justinian erected in Constantinople the first church in honor of St. Anne. In the Eastern Christian Tradition her feast is observed on July 25; not until the twelfth century did her feast become known in the Western Church. Urban the VI fixed her day in 1378 to follow the feast of St. James the Greater. Joachim had several dates assigned to his memory, but in 1969 the new Roman Calendar combined his day with that of his wife, Anne.

We can learn from this day the importance of living as a faithful family, in line with our faith, in order to live out the will of God. Here we see the idea of family as a means to an end, not an end within itself. Some people have the tendency to make the idea of family the goal: it becomes an idol that can replace the role of God in our lives.

See you next week – it will be the last Saints Are Us until September. (Saints need time off as much as everyone else!)

I am your bro. John

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