It is an article of faith that the worship of the Saints is not only permissible, but also most agreeable to God and beneficial to our own souls. The Catholic Church, the infallible teacher of the truth, has condemned all who deny this. This teaching is based not only on the Scriptures and sound reason, but also on the immemorial tradition of Christian nations. St. Paul commanded that honor should be given where honor was due. Now, who could be more worthy of honor than those great servants of God, those glorious members of JESUS-CHRIST, those temples of the Holy Ghost, who, by their labors, their examples, sufferings and their prayers have done so much for the glory of God and the salvation of souls? And has not God taught us to honor them by Himself bestowing on them the gift of miracles both during their life and after their death? But heretics reply: You are wrong in invoking them and praying to them. But why? It is quite allowable to ask prayers of my friends, of even the worst of men: St. Paul himself gives me the example, since in his Epistles, he asks for the prayers of the faithful; and why then may I not solicit the prayers of those already dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem? Why should this privilege be denied me, since they, being already united to God, delivered from the dangers of this life, and freed from all the trials and miseries of life, can have no other care than for such of their brethren, as are still in exile here below.
Among all the Saints now reigning in glory, few have more right to our homage than St. Anne. Is not her being the Mother of Mary, a sufficient proof of this? This is the very reason that this devotion is so beneficial to us. Mary is our great and universal Mediatrix with JESUS-CHRIST, it is she who renders our prayers agreeable to Him and seconds them with her all-powerful intercession; it is she who opens the treasure-house of the merits of JESUS-CHRIST when she will, and as she will, and in favor of whom she will. So that whoever merits Mary’s favor is certain of having his name written in the book of the predestined, and this doctrine is held by all the Saints. Now, who does not perceive that doing honor to her Mother is one of the surest ways of attracting the merciful eyes of our all-powerful Queen? The Holy Ghost tells us to honor our parents, since without them we should never have existed. This law concerns Mary the same as it concerns the other children of Adam: after God, it was to St. Joachim and St. Anne that she owed her existence, and what an existence! The happiest, the most glorious that can be conceived and one which will always remain unequaled. After her Divine Son, Mary fills the highest place in the universe and this happiness comes to her, after God, through St. Joachim and St. Anne. How deeply then must she love them and how gladly behold the honors paid them!
It is not that St. Anne has any need of our homage, she is in perfect bliss, and nothing that we can offer her is to be compared with the homage she is receiving from the Saints, the Angels, St. Joseph, Mary and JESUS. She does us credit and honor by accepting the marks of our devotion, even as a great Queen seated on her throne and surrounded by her court, would do great honor to some simple peasant by returning his salutation. But she is so good that she is pleased to accept every pious offering we make her; in one way, she even takes more pleasure in our homage than in the praises offered her by the heavenly citizens, since, like all noble hearts, like Mary, like JESUS, like the Eternal Father, her chief delight is in lending ear to the prayers of the miserable and afflicted. She loves our prayers too, because they afford her an opportunity of conferring benefits upon us.
We read of the following miracle in the Annals of St. Anne:
While living in Lowell, Mass., U.S., one of my little girls, aged three years, was taken seriously ill and we called in an experienced doctor. After attending her for a week, he acknowledged that he could do nothing for her. Another doctor who had been summon ed, visited her daily and did all that lay in his power to alleviate the terrible sufferings of his little patient, but, at the end of a fortnight, found her state so aggravated that he said death alone would bring her relief.
One Saturday evening, her state was so pitiable that every one expected an immediate termination to her sufferings. She appeared to be dying, and a cold sweat bedewed her face. Three times she fainted away, and on the third occasion, she remained insensible a very long time. As our only recourse, I then fastened a medal of St. Anne round her neck, promising to make known the grace that the great miracle-worker had obtained for us, if she would but restore my beloved child to health. My prayers were heard and my child is now in a state of perfect health. It is to St. Anne alone that we owe this blessing, for the doctors had been unable to cure her malady.
E.B. St. Boniface, Manitoba.
Blessed was the womb that bore thee, O Mary! and the breasts that gave thee suck! Blessed was she who had the happiness of carrying thee in her arms, of watching over thy slumbers, of imprinting kisses on thy fair pure forehead, of seeing thee respond to her caresses by thy first sweet smile! Blessed was she who had the happiness of hearing thee call her "Mother"! Blessed was she whose glory it was to teach thee, "the Seat of Wisdom," how to speak, to pray, to walk!
Glorious St. Anne, I rejoice with thee because thou wert chosen by God to fulfil so great a destiny; I take part in the joy which thrilled through thee when, beholding Mary seated on the right hand of JESUS higher than the elect, than the Angels, Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, thou didst say to thyself: "She is my daughter!" Great Saint! be thou for ever filled with joy at thy great happiness, but vouchsafe not to forget a poor sinner who cries to thee. I ask but one grace: ask thy most admirable daughter to take me under her special protection. Obtain this favor for me and I will ask no more; for if she deigns to protect me, I am sure of salvation.
St. Anne, Mother of her who is our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope, pray to her for us!
Make the firm resolution of saying daily three times "Glory be to the Father, etc. " in honor of St. Joachim and St. Anne after your evening prayer, or after your beads, if you say them, every day. Or you may say twice "Hail Mary, etc." with the same intention.