26 July 2011

Sancta Anna, ora pro nobis

The figure of Saint Anne reminds us of the paternal home of Mary, the Mother of Christ. Mary was born there, bearing in her that extraordinary mystery of the Immaculate Conception. There she was surrounded by the love and solicitude of her parents: Joachim and Anne. There she learned from her mother, from Saint Anne, how to be a Mother. And although, from the human point of view, she had renounced motherhood, the Heavenly Father, accepting her total donation, gratified her with the most perfect and holy Motherhood. Christ, from the Cross, transferred in a certain sense His Mother's maternity to His favourite disciple, and likewise He extended it to the whole Church, to all men. When, therefore, as "children of (divine) promise" (cf. Gal 4:28, 31), we find ourselves in the range of this Motherhood, and when we feel its holy depth and fullness, let us think then that it was Saint Anne herself who was the first to teach Mary, her daughter, how to be a Mother.

"Anne" in Hebrew means "God has given grace". Reflecting on this meaning of Saint Anne's name, Saint John of Damascus exclaimed: "Since it was to happen that the Virgin Mother of God should be born from Anne, nature did not dare to precede the seed of grace; but it remained without its fruit in order that grace might produce its own. In fact, there was to be born that first-born who would give birth to the first-born of every creature" (Serm. VI, De nativ. B.V.M., 2; PG 96, 663).

- Blessed John Paul II -