We know very little about Saint Anna. Actually, the apocryphal Gospel of James is the main source we have, with the most information about her. According to Christian tradition, Saint Anne was the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. She was born in Bethlehem and got married to Joachim who lived in Nazareth, a village in the Holy Land.
Unfortunately, Anne was infertile at a time when barrenness was considered a sign of God’s judgment or displeasure with a person. Furthermore, in the Jewish culture, barrenness was the height of misfortune. As a result of the childlessness, the temple priest refused to accept Joachim’s sacrifice.
Joachim and Anna’s Prayer Answered
In desperation, Joachim is said to have gone into the desert to pray and fast. At the same time, Anna was also praying and reminding God about how He had blessed Sarah, Abraham’s barren wife with a son. As she prayed, an angel of the Lord appeared and told her that her prayer had been heard. The angel promised that she would conceive and her offspring would be famous the world over. The angel also instructed her to name the child Mary. In gratitude, Anne, who was now set to become Mother Mary’s mother, dedicated her future offspring to God.
In the meantime, an angel had also appeared to Joachim and assured him that Anne was going to conceive, bear a child who they were to name Mary and dedicated to God.
Just like the angel had said, Saint Anna conceived and, after birth, the couple consecrated Mary to serve at the temple in Jerusalem. When she was fourteen, Mary was betrothed to Joseph of Nazareth which continues the story of the birth of Jesus, his life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
Prayer is a very important part of our spiritual lives as Christians. As it is extremely essential, Christians always wonder how they should pray and what for their prayers should take. Even though the answers to such questions may vary, it should be the aspiration of every Christian to make prayers an important aspect of their lives. Christ teaches us about prayer through his own examples. Jesus Christ prays frequently and by doing so, he shows us how to pray. This article gives an insight regarding prayer by reflecting on the prayer of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane.
After Jesus arrived in the garden, He withdraws from his disciples and goes to pray, as recorded in Luke 22:41. Even though he prays for the whole of his life, this night is one of the several instances he isolates himself to pray, and by doing so, he provides an example for us. Christians should, therefore, try to make prayer part of their lives and focus exclusively on God. When making big decisions, Christians should always take the time to seek out the will of God.
Jesus starts to pray by addressing God as Dad (Abba in Hebrew), according to Mark 14:36. He kneels down in the garden and starts preparing to embrace his passion and death. In the most difficult part of his life, Jesus prays. The prayer of Christ invites us to address God as children. Christ bridges the infinite gap between human and divine, welcoming us into a relationship with God that is not distant and fearful, but rather, loving and deeply personal.
Jesus Christ then asks God to “let this cup pass from me”, according to Matthew 26:39. From this verse, we learn that He is bold in presenting his desires and wishes. We learn that sometimes we hold back not knowing the will of God for us.
As the mother of Jesus, Mary is a central figure in Christianity. Even though we don’t have direct details of her birth recorded in the Bible, we do have some information. Some of the earliest Christian writers did describe her nativity.
The place of her birth varies according to different accounts. Some place it near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem while others claim it was in Sepphoris in north modern-day Israel.
Date of Birth
As for the date, the Catholic Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8. There is also a celebration of her Immaculate Conception exactly nine months earlier, on December 8.
The Protoevangelium of James describes how Mary’s parents, Saints Joachim and Anne, were grieved by their childlessness. Her parents were devoted to prayer and fasting until an angel came to greet them.
Afterwards, the angel told them: “The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth, and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.”
From the book, we are learning how Joachim took the newborn Mary to the priests, stating, “And they blessed her, saying: O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations.”
“…And he brought her to the chief priests, and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be forever.”