Saints & Blesseds Vocations That Give Hope II

  1. Anne & Joachim[1] Orthodox Virgin Mary

Sts Anne & Joachim, our Lady’s parents are an example of transcending the ancient near east contemporaries, their feast day is on July 26 in the West, July 25 in the East. Sources from both the West & East will be used in our speculations.

Joachim

 tribe of Judah, Nazareth of Galilee[2]

herdsmen, shepherd his own sheep

rich enough regularly doubled offering required by law

typically supplied the poor and all feared God[3]

each year he divided wealth (lambs, sheep, wool) divided 3 parts: orphans, widows, poor; one portion to temple; kept a third for himself[4]

married Anne/Anna at age of 20 years

Anne– Tribe of Levi

After 50 years of marriage no children

Vowed any offspring dedicated to the Lord (Hannah & Samuel)

One year, a high priest spurned Joachim’s annual temple gifts,

“It is not lawful for thee to stand among them that offering sacrifice to God, because God has not blessed thee, so to give thee seed in Israel. Cursed is everyone who has not begot a male or female in Israel!”[5]

Bareness was a curse, a source of deep humiliation for both Joaquim and Anne

 The high priest told Joaquim his situation must be corrected before he brought offerings to the Lord.

Joachim did not return home after the Temple’s rebuke but headed with his flocks into the mountains to fast until the Lord looked upon him.

Anne too departed the Temple weeping bitterly. Anne sat under a laurel tree and prayed, “O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as thou didst open the womb of Sarah and gave her a son, Isaac.”

While Joachim was alone in the mountains, the archangel Gabriel stood by him. He said,

“Fear not, Joachim, nor be disturbed by my appearance. I am the angel of the Lord and have been sent by Him to tell thee that thy prayers have been heard and that thy charitable deeds have gone up into His presence. God has seen thy shame and has heard the reproach of the unfruitfulness which has been unjustly brought against thee; for God is the avenger of sin, not nature. Therefore, when He shuts up the womb of anyone, he does so the He may in a more wonderful manner open it, so that which is born may be acknowledged to be the gift of God and not the product of lust. Was this not the case of the mother of thy nation, Sarah, who was barren? Rachel… brought forth Joseph, the mothers of Samson and Samuel… Accordingly, Anna, thy wife will bring forth a daughter to thee and thou shalt call her name MARY. According to the vow, she shall be devoted to the Lord from her infancy, and she shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from her mother’s womb. Mary shall not eat or drink anything unclean nor shall her conversation or life be among the crowds of people, but in the temple of the Lord. That it may not be possible to say or so much as to suspect, any evil concerning her.”[6] Gabriel went on to say, “All this shall be a sign to thee of the things which I announce: When thou shalt come to the Golden Gate in Jerusalem, thou shalt meet there thy wife Anna who, lately, has been anxious from the delay of they return and will rejoice to see thee.”

While in the garden, Gabriel appeared to Anna, Saying,’ Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer and thou salt conceive and bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in the entire world.”[7]

Anna said, “As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either a male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister unto Him all the days of its life.”

Gabriel responded, “Arise, therefore, and go up to Jerusalem, and when thou shalt come to the gate which because it is plated with gold, is called the Golden Gate, therefore a sign, thou shalt meet thy husband, for whose safety thou hast been anxious. When therefore, thou shalt find the things accomplished, believe that all the rest which I have told thee shall also undoubtedly be accomplished.”[8]

Both Joachim & Anna set out for the temple as the angel of God had commanded. Anna arrived and waited for Joachim at the Beautiful Gate. Anna spotted Joachim approach with his flocks from afar and ran to him. Husband and wife rejoiced together that they would be granted offspring. They gave thanks to the Lord. After making an offering to the Lord, returned home. Anna conceived Mary, the single boast of man.

Orthodox often have Anne & Joachim icons

Blessed Mother someone somewhere, preserved in a lovely narrative love affair, so well lived, proof of generosity, Lord only asks for a 1/10, but 3x generous, sanctus sanctus sanctus. Our Lord lived trifold generosity above and beyond, testimony to their faith, conceive and bear a child not bear original sin, faithfulness of bride, generosity of the groom.

Astounding, God works miracles Him not a product of Man’s lust. Man says I desire, I lust. Concupido. Man apart from God. Act of will requires some reason. Concupiscence darkens, element lust.

Lust for many things, write one’s own mystery of life, food, …

God allows bareness, dark, when dawn rises we will recognize the Miracle it is.

Arm moves of own volition, miracle. Soul controls body in a miraculous way. Robots do not do what man does.

Anne & Joachim, steadily faithful. World judged them as faithless. Temple cult is corrupted, institutional leadership is awful and populace knows it. Various responses to the corruption. Yet this holy couple remained faithful.

According to apocryphal writings of St. James our Lady was presented to the temple at the age of 3 years. The Church Fathers with great spiritual discernment profited from apocryphal writings. Her parents visited Mary for the next seven years until their death.[9]

A feast day, which is an application of spiritual discernment from the apocrypha, honoring the Presentation of Mary is November 21. The Presentation of Mary is more appreciated in the East arising in the 500’s. During the 1100’s the feast appears in the west.[10]

Romanos the Melodist (d. ca. 560) Cantor within the Byzantine Church in his kontakion (a homily in verse form). These compositions show sincere poetic inspiration united to a deep religiosity.[11]  The following hymn addresses Anna directly, a marvelous praise of her daughter, Mary like an icon

“Your birth is worthy of veneration, O holy woman, because you brought to light the joy of the world, the powerful mediatrix of graces for men. Indeed, she is the rampart, the defense, and the haven of whoever trusts in her. Every Christian finds in her, in your fruit, a protector, a defense, and the hope of salvation.”[12]

Returning to Fides et Ratio, it states:

FR #12” History therefore becomes the arena where we see what God does for humanity. God comes to us in the things we know best and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life.”

Our Lord works in and through history. Jesus was born into a family (everyday life) and a culture. It is right and proper therefore to consider His origins from a familial perspective. The following reflections have been handed down through (T) tradition. The NO missal states that Mary, the pinnacle of creation, was raised in a manner befitting the Theotokos.

God’s mercy, so far beyond our ways, yet makes Himself most profoundly present in bread & wine. He longs for us to enter into a relationship.

Pornographic culture, sexual intimacy is only one part of marital relationship. Same relationship He wants with us.

[1] The Life of the Virgin Mary, Holy Apostles Convent (Dormition Skete: Buena Vista, CO 1989) Orthodox Church

[2] Holy Apostles Convent, The Life of the Virgin Mary, The Theotokos (Holy Apostles Convent & Dormition Skete: Buena Vista, CA, 1989)

[3] Ibid 1

[4] Raphael Brown, The Life of Mary : As Seen by the Mystics ( TAN: Charlotte, NC, 1951) 28

[5] The Life of Mary, 29

[6] The Life of the Virgin Mary The Theotokos 6

[7] Ibid 7

[8] Ibid 8

[9] Ibid 34

[10] https://www.franciscanmedia.org/presentation-of-mary/  accessed June 12, 2020

 

[11] Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Church Fathers: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought (Ignatius: San Francisco, 1999) 325

[12] Ibid 329