When a man and a woman bind themselves to each other in Marriage, they freely embrace one another and make no reservations. They decide to join hands and to be faithful "in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad." They put their marriage and their future children into the hands of God.
A man and a woman bound in the sacred bond of matrimony exclude every other physical love, and they lovingly embrace the children that God sends to them. When they do this, they actually become cooperators, procreators with God in bringing new life into the world. Amazing! Parents can truly look with love at their children and say: this child, my child, is "flesh of my flesh." (Gen 2:23).
Today we look with admiration upon the marriage of St. Anne and St. Joachim. As the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they were childless for many years. Despite this, they remained faithful to each other, and they continued to pray and trust in God’s will for them. They were indeed faithful "in good times and in bad."
At last, when God answered their prayers, He did so in a bold way! He chose to make them the parents of the Mary. God Chose St. Joachim and St. Anne to be the Grandparents of Jesus Christ. St. Joachim and St. Anne knew God’s finger had touched their lives in a remarkable way in giving them Mary. And so, in thanksgiving, this humble couple came to the temple of God and gave Mary as their offering.
Imagine that, if you can, dear mothers! St. Anne, barren for years, prayed ceaselessly for a child. And when God finally gave her Mary, as her bundle of joy, St. Anne came back to the temple when Mary was only three, to give Mary back to God, exclusively, freely and in a profound act of gratitude.
Indeed, St. Anne is a beautiful example to all of you who are parents. St. Anne shows you how to foster and encourage vocations to the religious life among your children – in your own home. When God chose Mary, St Anne did not refuse.
By the powerful prayers of St. Anne, Christian parents can learn to acknowledge God’s guidance. By St. Anne’s example, parents who are in love with Jesus Christ, will come to know that their children are born to them not for earthly ends, but for God.
Oftentimes parents find it difficult to accept the fact that one or more of their children may have vocation to religious life or to the Priesthood. Sometimes parents have the tendency to plan out the lives of their children. They may say: “My child will finish high school, go to college, become a successful professional, work for a few years and then get married and give me grandchildren.” While, of course, parents may have the best of intentions, sometimes they forget to consider what vocation that God may have in mind for their children.
In our prayers to Good St. Anne, I would ask all of you to pray especially for our Catholic families. Pray that, by the prayers and splendid example of St. Anne, we will have an increase of vocations to the consecrated religious life and to the Priesthood.