A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

He was a very rich man

who would come before the Lord with double the required offerings.

Joachim said, that which is the offering to the Lord for my forgiveness shall be a mercy offering for me, and that which is over and above shall be for the whole people.

As the great feast of the Lord drew near and the men of Israel were bringing their offerings, a particular man confronted Joachim and said, It is not right for you to bring your offerings first, because you have produced no children for Israel.

Joachim learned that all the righteous men of Israel had children.

He was heartbroken. He refused to go near his wife, but went out into the desert and fasted there for forty days and forty nights.

His wife Anna mourned doubly and lamented doubly, saying: I shall grieve my childlessness and now I shall grieve my widowhood.

She then saw a laurel tree, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying:
O God of our fathers,
bless me and hear my prayer,
as you blessed the womb of Sarah
and gave her a son, Isaac.

Gazing upward, she saw a sparrow's nest in the tree and wept to herself:

Alas! Who fathered me? And what womb bore me? I have been reproached and have become a curse in Israel, and in derision they have driven me out of the temple of the Lord.

Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like the birds of the sky, because even they are fruitful before you, O Lord.

Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are fruitful before you, O Lord.

Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are fruitful before you, O Lord.

Alas! To what have I been likened? I am not like this earth, because even the earth brings forth its fruits in season, and blesses you, O Lord.

Suddenly Anna saw an angel of the Lord standing there and saying:

Anna, Anna,
the Lord has heard your prayer.
You shall conceive and give birth
and your offspring shall be spoken of
throughout the world.

Anna said: As the Lord my God lives, whether I have either a boy or a girl, I will bring that child as a gift to the Lord my God; and that child shall minister to Him all the days of its life.

Then she saw two angels who said: Look! Joachim, your husband, is approaching.

For an angel of the Lord had gone to Joachim in the desert, saying:
Joachim, Joachim,
the Lord God has heard your prayer.
Go down from here,

for your wife Anna shall conceive.

Anna was standing by the gate and saw Joachim approaching with his flocks. She ran to him and hung upon his neck, saying:
Now I know that the Lord God has blessed me exceedingly;
Look! The widow is no longer a widow,

and I the childless shall conceive.

And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

And in the ninth month Anna gave birth. She asked the midwife whether it was a boy or a girl. A girl, said the midwife.

My soul has been magnified this day, said Anna.

And when the time came, Anna nursed the child and named her Mary.

(Adapted in a previous post from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James.)

On this day the Church celebrates Saint Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus. 'The Virgin and Child with St Anne' by Leonardo da Vinci - National Gallery, London