“They yearned for the comforting of Israel, and the Holy Spirit dwelt in them.”

The headline of this post is the Alleluia verse for the gospel read today for the Memorial of Sts. Joachim and Ann, parents of Mary.  This quote is an adaptation of Luke 2:25 which introduces Simeon to us at Jesus’ presentation in the temple.

We learned of the names of Jesus’ mother’s parents very early in Christian history (the first half of the 2nd century) and are blessed that these names have come down to us through tradition.

It was common for young Jewish girls of Mary’s time to long for the coming of the messiah, even daring to hope that they might be the chosen vessel.  Some pious writings from visionaries claim that Mary would not even dare to think herself worthy of such an honor, but simply hoped that she could assist the chosen girl.

This seems very reasonable but, whether or not this is the case, her humility is well known from her encounter with the angel at the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38), her Magnificat immediately after meeting Elizabeth (Lk 1:46-56), and all of her actions recounted in the New Testament.

It would be a mistake to discount Mary’s parents in her formation of this disposition.  Undoubtedly the Father placed the pure little one in a loving home with nurturing parents who were God-fearing and who entrusted their little girl to the Lord.  Parents who would help her grow in faith and humility and be open to God’s plan for her.  Thus she was able to accept this special call to be Mother of God even though she felt unworthy.

In recent years more and more parents have been canonized.  This is a wonderful thing, as the traditional role of parents is under massive assault in our time.  Joachim and Ann are the exemplars of parenthood as noted in tradition and their influence evident in the words and actions of their daughter.

Sts. Joachim and Ann, pray for us!


Education of the Virgin, attributed to Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), c. 1617

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