The holy king David had resolved to place the Ark of the Covenant in his town of Jerusalem; but frightened at the punishment of Oza, who was struck dead for having dared to touch the Ark in spite of the divine prohibition, he caused it to be carried into the house of the Levite Obededom, where it remained three months. Now, during these three months so many blessings descended on this Levite and everything belonging to him, that David, reassured, had the Ark carried with great pomp to his capital, and at once resolved on building a magnificent temple in which to place it, which temple was afterwards built by his son Solomon.
Every one knows that the Ark of the Covenant, in which God dwelt, was the figure of Mary, the well-beloved of the Eternal Father, the Sanctuary of the Holy Ghost, and in whom God the Son deigned to enter to take on Himself human flesh. This is the reason why the Church, in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin bestows on her the title of "Ark of the covenant." But if the original Ark, which was only a gilded wooden coffer holding the tables of the Law written by God’s finger, drew down so many blessings on the house where it dwelt for three months, what graces, must we believe, what heavenly favors must have descended on the holy Anne during the nine months when, not merely in her house but within her womb, dwelt the true Ark, the living Ark, Mary, the eldest Daughter of the Father, the affianced Spouse of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of the Eternal Word! According to the opinion of the Saints, Mary was not, during this period, like other children, without the use of reason; in order that she might love God from the very first moment of her existence, the Lord had endowed her with the use of all her faculties, so that, having a sublime knowledge of the divine goodness, she might at once commence to love Him more than all the Angels and Saints together; so says St. Alphonsus. And how could God do otherwise than cast down loving looks not only on Mary, but also on her happy Mother, the dear St. Anne, the loving temple in which so pure a fire was burning, whence rose to Him such delicious songs of praise, whence exhaled acts of love, of gratitude, of blessing a thousand times sweeter than the smoke of the incense rising before the golden altar in Solomon’s temple? Mary, who was like an embodied blessing, blessed every place by which she passed. Later on we shall see her, by her presence and words alone, sanctifying the holy precursor while still in his mother’s womb, filling him, as well as Elizabeth herself, with the spirit of prophecy and impressing on the fortunate child the triple seal of predestination, virginity and martyrdom. Can it be doubted, then, that she drew down choicest blessings on the happy Mother who had been judged worthy to give her birth? We have already said that Mary’s holy soul enjoyed the use of intellectual faculties from the first moment of its creation. From that first instant, she understood all the mysteries of religion, the depths of divine goodness, the power of prayer; and she immediately commenced praying not only for herself, but for all mankind. But who can have been dearer to her than her father and mother? To whom did she owe more? For whom then can she have prayed more, or more fervently? Happy Joachim, happy Anne, to have been parents of such a Daughter, still happier to have been, after God, the dearest object of her affections and the first to profit by her intercession? And if, following the example of the Heavenly Father, this glorious Virgin makes the dew of Heaven, I mean grace, to fall on the just and the unjust, who can doubt that she has made torrents of these salutary waters come down on those venerable heads which are so dear to her?
There was a wonderful miracle that was performed in favor of the venerable parish-priest of St. Anne’s, the Rev. Father Tielen, onetime Rector of the Redemptorist Order there. The auxiliary chapel, which was constructed with the materials and on the site of the old church, was being built and was approaching completion. A scaffolding had been erected, some thirty-five feet high, for the purpose of enabling the workmen to put up the woodwork of the ceiling, and on this scaffolding the Rev. Father was standing and giving some directions, when the center support gave way and the whole structure yielded and gradually fell to the ground. The two workmen who happened to be on it managed to let themselves slide down to the ground uninjured and the Father falling straight down found himself on his feet, but alas, not in safety. A number of planks had been piled on the scaffolding and the first one that fell struck him on the forehead, knocking him down, while the following planks fell heavily on his body, and hatchets and chisels fell close to his head, without injuring it however. Last of all, five planks fell on his left foot, crushing it and putting the ankle-bone out of joint. Had not St. Anne visibly protected her pastor, he would inevitably have been killed.
After extricating him from the mass that had fallen on him, the Father was carried to his cell where, the doctor being unfortunately absent from home, he had to wait four days before the dislocated and swollen joint could be set. A few days afterwards, erysipelas set in and, after successively attacking different parts of the limb, it caused fifteen enormous abscesses to form, seven of which had to be lanced. The doctor called in a celebrated surgeon from Quebec for consultation, and they decided that amputation of the leg would be necessary. It was then that addressing St. Anne, the good Father said to her: "How is it that so many sick and infirm come daily to St. Anne to seek for healing and yet she will allow her own parish-priest to have his leg cut off! Surely her honor is at stake and she will never permit this."
A novena to St. Anne was commenced by the whole parish, a High Mass was sung, and the leg was rubbed with the miraculous oil.
The next day the doctor arrived and on loosening the bandages remained quite over come with astonishment. "What has happened to the leg?" he exclaimed, "there is no longer any necessity for amputation, I will do nothing more to it." The novena was continued and on the last day of it the leg was quite well, only the seven wounds made by the incision of the abscesses were not closed, and a humorous discharge flowed constantly from them. The doctor probed the wounds everyday and became of opinion that the bones must be affected.
A second novena was commenced, for the cure of the wounds. A fresh consultation of doctors took place, and the day but one before the close of the novena, it was decided by them to inject some powerful chemical substance into the wounds by means of a syringe, in order to reduce the inflammation. On the last day of the novena, the doctor arrived with his instruments and everything requisite for performing the prescribed injections, but, on examining the wounds, he found them all closed! St. Anne had waited to the last moment in order to show that what is impossible to human science and art is of easy performance to her. After five months of medical treatment, the leg was entirely cured, and having gradually strengthened, there now remains only a slight stiffness of the foot, unaccompanied however by pain, arising from the muscles of the foot having been severed.
Happy they who are under the protection of Mary and who have a share in her prayers! A Saint has said: "He for whom Mary prays can never perish eternal ly." O glorious parents of that Queen of Mercy, she will never refuse to pray for those recommended to her by you! Vouchsafe then to recommend me to her and beg of her to inscribe me among her servants and clients: thereby shall I be inscribed in the book of life. If you will do this, Mary will grant me her favor and I shall be saved. I feel confident of obtaining your intercession, since it will be to the honor of your ever blessed Daughter and to the glory of JESUS.
Good St. Anne, plead for me with Mary.
Have recourse to St. Joachim and St. Anne in order to obtain a sincere and constant devotion to Mary.