Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne,
Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
July 26, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, between two readings full of warnings and advised repentance, our Verse anchors us to the foundation of our faith:
The seed is the word of God,
Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.
As we celebrate the feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, we might spend some prayer time in gratitude for those who have transmitted that faith to us – some of whom we have known personally, and some who reach all the way back through the ages to Christ.
Anne and Joachim are the grandparents of Jesus, transmitters of tradition and faith to him when he was a child. Nothing is known of them from the Bible, but there are references in an apocryphal piece called the Gospel of James. There are also many legends surrounding this holy couple. But the fact is that we know little or nothing, for certain about them.
We shape our conception of Anne and Joachim from what we know about their daughter, a woman of such profound goodness that she was the means for God to become one of us. We give them honor and devotion because of what we know about their grandson, Jesus.
Anne and Joachim, together with Mary and Joseph, formed the first, loving nuclear community that fostered the life of Jesus. Like all newborns, Jesus was given over by God into these human hands. What an awesome responsibility and privilege!
Let us pray today for all young children that they may be blessed with caring parents and grandparents. Let us pray especially for grandparents (and grandaunts and uncles) who carry a special kind of love to their grands, one filled with a generational wisdom, generous fidelity, and tempered mercy so necessary for a joyful life.
And, children, listen to your grands. They really have seen it all, ridden the big waves of time.. really did – ahem – “walk to school with the snow above their ears”! They can be a fount of wisdom and love. Trust them! Respect them! Enjoy them! For this we pray!
Poetry: Two poems today, one for Grandmothers, one for Grandfathers
I DREAM OF MY GRANDMOTHER AND GREAT-GRANDMOTHER by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, an Italian-American poet. She has published 18 books. Since 2012 she has been in the Honor Committee of Immagine & Poesia, the artistic literary movement founded in Turin, Italy, with the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas (Dylan Thomas’s daughter).
I imagine them walking down rocky paths toward me, strong, Italian women returning at dusk from fields where they worked all day on farms built like steps up the sides of steep mountains, graceful women carrying water in terra cotta jugs on their heads. What I know of these women, whom I never met, I know from my mother, a few pictures of my grandmother, standing at the doorway of the fieldstone house in Santo Mauro, the stories my mother told of them, but I know them most of all from watching my mother, her strong arms lifting sheets out of the cold water in the wringer washer, or from the way she stepped back, wiping her hands on her homemade floursack apron, and admired her jars of canned peaches that glowed like amber in the dim cellar light. I see those women in my mother as she worked, grinning and happy, in her garden that spilled its bounty into her arms. She gave away baskets of peppers, lettuce, eggplant, gave away bowls of pasts, meatballs, zeppoli, loaves of homemade bread. "It was a miracle," she said. "The more I gave away, the more I had to give." Now I see her in my daughter, the same unending energy, that quick mind, that hand, open and extended to the world. When I watch my daughter clean the kitchen counter, watch her turn, laughing, I remember my mother as she lay dying, how she said of my daughter, "that Jennifer, she's all the treasure you'll ever need." I turn now, as my daughter turns, and see my mother walking toward us down crooked mountain paths, behind her, all those women dressed in black
A Garden – Author unknown
My grandfather kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
He planted all the good things,
That gave our lives their start.
He turned us to the sunshine,
And encouraged us to dream;
Fostering and nurturing
the seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
He protected me enough;
But not too much because he knew
I would stand up strong and tough.
His constant good example
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for our pathway
that will last a lifetime long.
I am my grandfather’s garden;
I am his legacy.
Music: Grandpa Told Me So – Kenny Chesney