Saint Anne, mother of the Immaculate Conception
On this feast day of the parents of the Blessed Mother, S. Joaquim and S. Anne, we could reflect that most Catholics still think that the Immaculate Conception was the conception of the Child Jesus by the Blessed Mother. Of course, it actually refers to the conception of the Blessed Mother by S. Anne. We could also remember that having only one parent, our Blessed Lord took his identity in the Israelite tribe of Judah and his inheritance of the kingdom of David from his mother, and therefore from his grandparents, S. Joaquim and S. Anne. Keeping this in mind, let's have a look at this short extract from a homily of S. John of Damascus (Oratio 6, in Nativitatem BMV, 220.127.116.11: PG 96:663. 667670, link). The image above is from the church of the Sacred Heart on the Piazza Navona, in Rome. The most beautiful images of S. Anne are of her teaching her daughter to read Scripture.
"Joachim and Ann, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.
And so rejoice, Ann, that you were sterile and have not borne children; break forth into shouts, you who have not given birth.
Rejoice, Joachim, because from your daughter a child is born for us, a son is given us, whose name is Messenger of great counsel and universal salvation, mighty God. For this child is God.
Joachim and Ann, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have born, as the Lord says: By their fruits you will know them. The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during and after giving birth. She alone for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body.
Joachim and Ann, how chaste a couple! While safeguarding the chastity prescribed by the law of nature, you achieved with God’s help something which transcends nature in giving the world the Virgin Mother of God as your daughter. While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is. Girl of utter beauty and delight, daughter of Adam and mother of God, blessed the loins and blessed the womb from which you come! Blessed the arms that carried you, and blessed your parents’ lips, which you were allowed to cover with chaste kisses, ever maintaining your virginity.
Rejoice in God, all the earth. Sing, exult and sing hymns. Raise your voice, raise it and not be afraid."