Novena to Joachim and Anne for Christian Married Couples
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For the next nine days, we will reflect upon the life and witness of a holy married couple named Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus Christ. We commemorate their faithful marriage and fruitful parenthood on their Feast day, July 26th.
They are the Patron Saints of a Happy, Faithful and Holy Marriage. We will ask for their intercession for the renewal of Christian Marriage and the strengthening of all Christian families.
The parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Jesus, are known by the names of Joachim and Anne from a tradition dating back to the Second Century as noted in the document known as the Protoevangelium of St. James.
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The new parents ran to meet one another at Jerusalem's Golden Gate, and with a kiss, rejoiced in the new life which God had promised would be theirs. Saints Anne and Joachim are powerful intercessors for all married couples, expectant mothers and married couples who are having difficulty conceiving, as well as all who have grown old.
This scene is depicted in a beautiful Icon which is revered by Christians around the world - and seen as a sacramental sign of the holiness of faithful and fruitful married love. Joachim and Anne are the Patron saints of all Married Couples, Parents and Grandparents.
"Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and my sister and my mother. I would urge you to ponder these words."
"Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her - did she not do the will of the Father?
"Indeed, the blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood.
Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master."
The response of Mary's father and mother, Joachim and Anne, is a model for all Christian married couples. Their decision to present their daughter Mary for dedication to the Lord should inspire all Christian parents to present their children for Baptism.
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Their response to the call to be the Mother and Father of the Mother of the Lord Jesus is a lesson of love for all Christian parents.
In the eighth century, John Damascene, preached a sermon on the parents of Mary. We have an excerpt of that sermon to reflect on in the Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Catholic Church, on July 26, the day of the Feast which honors them.
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