Today is the feast of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How we need to honor them! As we learn from the writings of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich and Church history, her parents came from a lineage of prophets and holy contemplatives. This could only be.
Anna's great-grandfather was a prophet. Eliud, her father, was of the tribe of Levi; her mother Ismeria was of the tribe of Benjamin. Anna was born at Bethlehem, but afterwards her parents moved to Sephoris, four hours from Nazareth where they had a house and land. In her fifth year, Anna was, like Our Lady, taken to the school in the Temple, where she remained twelve years. She was brought back home at the age of 17. After her mother died, her father moved to Zabulon where Anna married Joachim. Joachim's father was called Matthat and was the step-brother of Jacob (father of St. Joseph) and of Joses. Anna was about 19 when married to Joachim.
Anna and Joachim lived very frugally - and gave to all that was asked of them. They lived with her father for a time but they soon moved out on their own and lived holy lives of sacrifice and offering for many years without conceiving a child until God sent to them Our Queen and Mother - Mary. Both went through many trials and humiliations before this great blessing to them which proves to us that great graces are not met without many prayers and tears. Anna was about 43 when God answered their prayers and she conceived.
During this barren time, Joachim offered many sacrifices in the temple which seemed to prove unfruitful so he went into solitude and prayer with his herds in the pastures. Anna was very distraught and while home alone, she too prayed to God. Both prayed night and day for God to hear their prayers. Soon, an angel appeared to both separately since they were not together during these months of prayer. They were both told that God has heard their prayers and sighs and has answered their prayer. Anna saw the word MARY written on the wall by the angels for her to give to her child.
Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich explains that it was shown to her that the Blessed Virgin was begotten by her parents in holy obedience and complete purity of heart, and that thereafter they lived together in continence in the greatest devoutness and fear of God. She was at the same time clearly instructed how immeasurably the holiness of children was encouraged by the purity, chastity and continence of their parents and by their resistance to all unclean temptations; and how continence after conception preserves the fruit of the womb from many sinful impulses. In general, she was given an overflowing abundance of knowledge about the roots of deformity and sin which in today's world is very difficult to understand but makes sense. We see so much sin in the world today and do not know how to fight it.
It was made known to her that both Anna and Joachim were full of joy, fervor and gratitude to God when they thought of His compassion towards them. Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich saw them praying together with tears. May we live by their example and do all that we can to imitate these dear holy parents who were greatly blessed by God!
St. Anne and St. Joachim, pray for us!
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!