Virgin Mary with Parents

What’s in a Name?

"Whether or not Mary’s parents were actually named Joachim and Anne doesn’t matter. It is who they are, it is the life they lived that matters."

Although devotion to Saints Joachim and Anne is deeply rooted in centuries of Catholic tradition, we have no historical or Biblical accounts of their lives or even of their names. For some, this fact would call into question devotion to them. However, there is no reason for this to be the case. In this case Juliet’s words to Romeo, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” could just as well be applied to Joachim and Anne. In other words, whether or not Mary’s parents were actually named Joachim and Anne doesn’t matter. It is who they are, it is the life they lived that matters.

Even with no historical evidence we can know the kind of life they lived by looking at their daughter. Our Blessed Mother was a lady of the deepest faith, constant faithfulness, and continual prayer. To say yes, without hesitation, to the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement she had to have steadfast courage and unwavering commitment to God. These qualities and life of faith were undoubtedly handed on to her by her parents.

Even though Mary was immaculately conceived without original sin, that gift of grace had to be nurtured. As we see with Adam and Eve, who were also created without original sin, grace needs to be cooperated with in order to bear fruit. It was Joachim and Anne that nurtured that gift of grace, forming Mary to be the woman who could respond to God’s call and to be the perfect co-redemptrix with Jesus. It was Joachim and Anne’s faith filled lives that paved the way for the Savior to come into the world.

"It was Joachim and Anne's faith filled lives that paved the way for the Savior to come into the world."

Because of their close connection to redemption and their role in forming the Blessed Virgin, devotion to Joachim and Anne is closely connected with devotion to Mary. They knew her probably better than anyone else. As a perfect Jewish girl, Mary would have had the utmost respect and love for her parents. So, it stands to reason that they would help us draw near to their blessed daughter, who helps us draw near to their grandson, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Certainly, their example should inspire parents and grandparents of their tremendously important role. Who knows what plans God has for each child? It is the life of faith lived by the parents and grandparents that sets the foundation for the child to respond with a resounding “yes” when God calls them.

However, their example is in no way restricted to parents and grandparents. On the contrary, their lives should inspire everyone to holiness. In a way, the heart of their inspiration comes down to the fact that we do not know their names with absolute certainty. This fact reminds us that their lives were lived entirely for God. They were not out to make a name for themselves. If they lived today, they wouldn’t be on social media bragging about the fact that their grandson is the Savior of the world. No, all they did was for the honor and glory of God, not for themselves. That was the example that was learned by their daughter. That is the example we should all give to the world.

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LIVING MARIAN.
LOVING MERCIFULLY.

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