Saints Joachim and Anne

Today is the feast of saints Joachim and Anne who are considered to be the parents of Mary, the Blessed Mother.

Saints Joachim and Anne

Image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Their Lives

Their names are not mentioned in the bible. In fact, they aren’t mentioned in the bible at all. They are mentioned in certain apocryphal writings, most notably, “The First Gospel of James.” These writings, obviously, do not have the authority of the bible by any stretch of the imagination; however, they do give a sketch of their lives.

So, tradition holds that that Joachim and Anne suffered years of infertility. This was a source of shame for them because at that time, having children was a blessing from God. Still, in their shame, they continued to be faithful to God and His promises and called out to Him in prayer.

Eventually, Anne had the good blessing of having a vision of an angel who announced that she will have a child that will be blessed for generations to come! At the birth of Mary, their joy knew no bounds! Therefore, in gratitude to God, they consecrated Mary to God and she was raised in the temple. (This was normal at that time.)

The Lesson

Whether or not the traditional accounts are real or  not, we can learn some lessons from Saints Joachim and Anne. One that stick out for me, in their sorrow and shame in not being able to have children, they remained faithful to God. They didn’t hide from their pain, instead, they took it to God.

Mind you, they felt the sorrow and shame. The feelings were real. Feelings are not sinful; they are neutral. It is what we do with those feelings that count. Many of us, myself included, tend to suppress our “bad” feelings or use those feelings as an excuse to turn away from God. We (I) forget that God isn’t afraid of our feelings. It is okay to cry out to God, to yell at Him, to be mad at him when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped, expected, or wanted.

How about you? Do you agree with this assessment of our feelings? Do you turn away from God when you get angry or disappointed?

References

Here are some websites about Saints Joachim and Anne:

Catholic News Agency

Catholic.org

Britannica

The Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8, is the glorious solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a day that all Catholics should celebrate with joy and thanksgiving because this amazing gift to Mary is also a gift for us!

Immaculate Conception

Image by Murillo (1678) via wikipedia, CCO Public Domain

What is the purpose of the Solemnity?

This solemnity celebrates the great grace given to Mary in virtue of the fact that she was to be the mother of Our Savior: She was conceived without original sin.

We are all born with original sin thanks to our first parents, Adam and Eve. At baptism original sin is washed away. But for Mary, she was freed from original sin at the moment of her conception.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in articles 490-493:

“Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137″

This is a wonderful mystery that we would do well to meditate upon. I encourage you to go deeper into this mystery and for more information you can go here.

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Tweetable: The Immaculate Conception

Saint and Feast Days in May 2016

Boy, May came quick! There are a lot of fun and wonderful feast days this month such as Ascension, Pentecost and the Visitation of Mary. I am hoping to make an effort to fully celebrate these days, both liturgically and at home.

Saint & Feast Days in May 2016

Image by Dwilliams (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

In addition to these days, we are getting a new bishop in my diocese (Metuchen) tomorrow, May 3. I will definitely be watching the installation! Anyway, here are the saint and feast days for May:

Saints and Feasts

May 4: St. Athanasius, bishop and doctor of the church (obligatory memorial)

May 3: Sts. Philip & James, Apostles (feast)

May 5: Ascension of the Lord (Solemnity & holy day of obligation) Some dioceses transfer feast to the following Sunday.

May 6: First Friday Devotions (optional)

May 7: First Saturday Devotions (optional)

May 8: Mother’s Day & Ascension of our Lord celebrated in some dioceses.

May 10: St. Damien de Veuster, priest (optional memorial)

May 12: Sts. Nereus & Achilleus, martyrs (optional memorial)

May 12: St. Pancras, martyr (optional memorial)

May 13: Our Lady of Fatima (optional memorial)

May 14: St. Matthias, apostle (feast)

May 15: Pentecost (Solemnity)

May 18: St. John I, pope & martyr (optional memorial)

May 20: St. Bernardine of Siena, priest (optional memoria)

May 21: St. Christopher Magallanes, priest & Companions, martyrs (optional memorial)

May 22: Most Holy Trinity (Solemnity)

May 25: St. Bede the Venerable, priest & doctor of the church (optional memorial)

May 25: St. Gregory VII, pope (optional memorial)

 May 25: St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, virgin (optional memorial)

May 26: St. Philip Neri, Priest (obligatory memorial)

May 27: St. Augustine of Canterbury (optional memorial)

May 29: Corpus Christi (Solemnity)

May 31: Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (feast)

Other Dates to Note

Every Saturday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

May is traditionally dedicated to The Blessed Mother

May 1: 6th Sunday of Easter

May 5: National Day of Prayer, Holocaust Remembrance Day, & Cinco de Mayo (USA)

May 8: Mother’s Day

May 21: Armed Forces Day (USA)

May 23: Victory Day (Canada)

May 30: Memorial Day

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Tweetable: Saint and Feast Days in May 2016

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival (October 27, 2013)

Sunday Snippets

Here are my posts for this week’s Sunday Snippets:

Weekly Goals

Book Review: Catholic Update Guide to Mary

The ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Planning Toolkit

Question of the week: Who is your favorite saint?

This is hard to answer, because I have a few! I would have to say the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph St. Martin de Porres, St. Josemaria Escriva,  and St. Jeanne Jugan are my top five. But, if I HAD to pick out of these five I would say St. Joseph. He always comes through for me when I need him and with my husband Michael on the road a lot, I know St. Joseph is watching over us. 🙂