SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNE – Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Saints Joachim and Anne are the parents of the Virgin Mary. There is no mention of them in the Bible or Gospels.  Below is a short excerpt from “Mystical City of God” by Ven. Mary of Agreda. 

The Most High directed his attention to the attribute of his mercy by sending into the world two most bright luminaries to announce the approaching dawn of the sun of Justice, Christ our Salvation. These were Saint Joachim and Anne, prepared and created by especial decree according to his own heart. Saint Joachim had his home, his family and relations in Nazareth, a town of Galilee. He, always a just and holy man and illumined by especial grace and light from on high, had knowledge of many mysteries of the Holy Scriptures and of the olden Prophets. In continual and fervent prayer he asked of God the fulfilment of his promises, and his faith and charity penetrated the heavens. He was a man most humble and pure, leading a most holy and sincere life, yet he was most grave and earnest, and incomparably modest and honest.

The most fortunate Anne had a house in Bethlehem and was a most chaste, humble and beautiful maiden. From her childhood she led a most virtuous, holy and retired life, enjoying great and continual enlightenment in exalted contemplation. Withal she was most diligent and industrious, thus attaining perfection in both the active and contemplative life. She had an infused knowledge of the divine Scriptures and a profound understanding of its hidden mysteries and sacraments. In the infused virtues of faith, hope and love she was unexcelled. Equipped with all these gifts, she continued to pray for the coming of the Messiah. Her prayers were so acceptable to the Lord, that to her He could but answer with the words of the Spouse: “Thou hast wounded my heart with one of the hairs of thy neck” (Cant. 4, 9). Therefore, without doubt, Saint Anne holds a high position among the saints of the Old Testament, who by their merits hastened the coming of the Redeemer.

This woman also prayed most fervently, that the Almighty deign to procure for her in matrimony a husband, who should help her to observe the ancient law and testament, and to be perfect in the fulfillment of all its precepts. At the moment in which saint Anne thus prayed to the Lord, his Providence ordained, that saint Joachim made the same petition: both prayers were made at the same time before the tribunal of the holy Trinity, where they were heard and fulfilled, it being then and there divinely disposed, that Joachim and Anne unite in marriage and become the parents of Her, who was to be the Mother of the incarnate God. In furtherance of this divine decree the archangel Gabriel was sent to announce it to them both. To saint Anne he appeared in visible form, while she was engaged in fervent prayer for the coming of the Saviour and the Redeemer of men. When she saw the holy prince, most beautiful and refulgent, she was disturbed and frightened and yet at the same time interiorly rejoiced and enlightened.

The holy maiden prostrated herself in profound humility to reverence the messenger of heaven; but he prevented and encouraged her, as being destined to be the ark of the true manna, Mary most holy, Mother of the Word. For this holy angel had been informed of this sacramental mystery on being sent with this message. The other angels did not yet know of it, as this revelation or illumination had been directly given from God only to Gabriel. Nevertheless the angel did not then manifest this great sacrament to St. Anne; but he asked her to attend and said to her: “The Most High give thee his blessing, servant of God, and be thy salvation. His Majesty has heard thy petitions and He wishes thee to persevere therein and that thou continue to clamour for the coming of the Redeemer. It is his will, that thou accept Joachim as the spouse, for he is a man of upright heart and acceptable to the Lord: in his company thou wilt be able to persevere in the observance of his law and in his service. Continue thy prayers and thy supplications and be not solicitous for anything else, for the Lord will see them fulfilled. Walk in the straight paths of justice and let thy soul’s converse be in heaven. Continuing to pray for the Messiah, be thou joyful in the Lord, who is thy salvation.” With these words the angel disappeared, leaving her enlightened in many mysteries of Holy Scriptures, and comforted and renewed in spirit.

To saint Joachim the archangel did not appear in a corporeal manner, but he spoke to the man of God in sleep as follows: “Joachim, be thou blessed by the right hand of the Most High! Persevere in thy desires and live according to rectitude and perfection. It is the will of the Almighty, that thou receive Saint Anne as thy spouse, for her the Lord has visited with his blessing. Take care of her and esteem her as a pledge of the Most High and give thanks to his Majesty, because he has given her in thy charge.” In consequence of this divine message saint Joachim immediately asked for the hand of the most chaste Anne and, in joint obedience to the divine ordainment, they espoused each other. But neither of the manifested to each other the secret of what had happened until several years afterwards, as I will relate in its place. The two holy spouses lived in Nazareth, continuing to walk in the justification of the Lord. In rectitude and sincerity they practiced all virtue in their works, making themselves very acceptable and pleasing to the Most High and avoiding all blemish in all their doings. The rents and incomes of their estate they divided each year into three parts. The first one they offered to the temple of Jerusalem for the worship of the Lord; the second they distributed to the poor, and the third they retained for decent sustenance of themselves and family. God augmented their temporal goods on account of their generosity and charity.

They themselves lived with each other in undisturbed peace and union of heart, without quarrel or shadow of a grudge. The most humble Anne subjected herself and conformed herself in all things to the will of Joachim: and that man of God, with equal emulation of humility, sought to know the desires of holy Anne, confiding in her with his whole heart (Prov. 31, 11), and he was not deceived. Thus they lived together in such perfect charity, that during their whole life they never experienced a time, during which one ceased to seek the same thing as the other (Matt. 27, 20). But rather as being united in the Lord, they enjoyed his presence in holy fear. Saint Joachim, solicitous to obey the command of the angel, honoured his spouse and lavished his attention upon her.

Compiled from “Mystical City of God’ written by Ven. Mary of Agreda

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