Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Sixteenth Day of July

First Lessons Given by St. Anne to Mary.

Founding our statement on the authority of the Doctors of the Church, and especially of St. Alphonsus, we have already said that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the very first instant of her life, was endowed with the full and entire use of her reason. For we cannot doubt that the Queen of Angels enjoyed the same privilege as was granted to St. John the Baptist, three months before his birth, by means of Mary. St. Anne early perceived the miraculous spiritual precocity of her beloved Daughter and hastened to impart to her the first principles of religion and piety. She told her of the creation of the world, of the disobedience of our first parents and the misfortunes which resulted therefrom; she recounted the promise of a Redeemer and related the history of the Patriarchs and Saints of the Old Testament.

These things had already been revealed to the holy Child by the Holy Ghost, but nevertheless she listened silently and attentively to her Mother’s lessons imprinting them on her memory and meditating on them in her heart. Anne taught her little Daughter also what she herself knew so well; how to pray, and the blessed Child who knew this still better than her Mother, nevertheless redoubled her assiduity, day and night beseeching the God of Abraham to hasten the coming of the Savior and the redemption of the human race. Also on learning from her Mother that, according to the opinion of the doctors of the Law and the revelations made to various holy souls, the day of mercy was drawing near, when a descendant of David was to become the Mother of Christ, she prayed to be spared long enough to behold this admirable women, to kiss her feet and minister to her. These humble and fervent prayers offered by the Daughter and the Mother were most agreeable to God and most efficacious, for who can tell how many favors they were the means of obtaining for the human race?

On joyfully perceiving the happy result of these lessons, Anne resolved to make known to her beloved Daughter how she had obtained her from the Lord; she spoke to her of the sadness in which she and St. Joachim had passed the greater part of their life, on account of their having no posterity who might love and praise the God of Abraham when they themselves should have passed away. She told her of their nights spent in prayer and weeping; and lastly, of the joy that filled their hearts when they knew that God had granted their heart’s desire. Like oil poured in abundance on burning coals, this revelation kindled in the little Mary’s heart, a redoubled veneration, gratitude and love for her holy parents, since she perceived how doubly she was indebted to them for her life. This revelation, too, increased the warmth of her love of God and strengthened her resolution of being His entirely and for ever. Her Mother would then speak to her of the miraculous birth of Isaac and Samuel, and at last imparted to her that, like the mother of that prophet, she herself had promised God to consecrate to Him her Child if He would but vouchsafe to bestow one on her. Imagine the Child’s delight on hearing this! From that time forward she longed for the day when she might dwell entirely in the house of God. In her heart, she sang with the Psalmist: "How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow hath found herself a house and the turtledove a nest for herself—Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they who dwell in Thy house, O Lord; they shall praise Thee for ever and ever. When shall I go, when shall I appear in the presence of the Lord?"
Thus, hardly had Anne received the Child so ardently desired and so altogether lovely, than offering to God the sacrifice of her own happiness in beholding her, embracing her, speaking to her, she herself inspired her with the wish to leave all and give herself entirely to her Creator; and the sweet Child, on her part, worthy of so holy a Mother, only sighed for the day when she should by her own act, deprive herself of the caresses and sweet innocent pleasures that were hers under her parent’s roof, although still of an age when a parent’s care and companionship seem the most necessary to a child. St. Joachim was in no way behind his spouse and Daughter. When the Holy Ghost inspires such lovely sentiments in several hearts at once, it is a sign that He is preparing the way for some great event.


Abbé Gosselin writes that on Sept. 30th, 1874, he was a witness of an extraordinary miracle. A young girl from the parish of St. Croix, Caroline Lemay by name, who, for several years had been entirely unable to walk, had arrived at St. Anne’s, the previous evening. Stretched nearly motionless on a bed and worn to a shadow, many persons were heard remarking that St. Anne would have a hard task to perform if she enabled this girl to wear the clothes she had brought with her, for this courageous girl had such faith and confidence in the intercession of St. Anne, that she had brought with her the dress she looked forward to wear on her return. The next morning, she had herself carried to the church where she heard the first Mass. After having given her Holy Communion, the Curé made her venerate the relic and she immediately experienced considerable relief. Abbé Gosselin then said the second Mass and after the Elevation she left her couch. At the termination of the Mass, she walked several times round the church and then partook of food with an excellent appetite. A few days later, she was strong enough to walk down the long quay leading to the steamboat.

This is indeed why I myself, who by my baptism was called to a state of holiness, have nevertheless remained a most miserable sinner! From my earliest childhood I have heard the voice of the Holy Ghost inspiring me to walk in the sweet and peaceful paths of innocence and piety; and yet even then I commenced to wander along the broad way that leadeth to destruction. I heard this voice again in youth and again closed my ears to it as inopportune; I plunged into turbulent pleasures to drown the sound of that voice; I rejected the gentle yoke it would have placed on me; I deliberately chose to wear the heavy chain of vice and sin. In riper years, under a more guarded exterior, my faults have but increased, for of virtues I have none. Thus has my life flowed on in uselessness, sin, trouble and remorse: for who ever found repose when resisting the inspirations of God? God forbid that I should lose courage entirely. Good St Anne, obtain for me that if my life be longer spared, I may give myself entirely to God and strive to correct my faults. Do thou and thy beloved Spouse intercede for me with JESUS and with the aid of Mary and Joseph, obtain for me the grace of being faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, so that I may welcome these as heavenly messengers and enter resolutely on the way which will eventually lead me to life everlasting.
St. Anne, obtain for me the same fidelity to divine inspirations as that shown by thee and Mary.


Every Christian, from the very fact that he is a Christian, has a high and noble destiny awaiting him, for he is bound to aspire to a holiness conformable to his state of life. It is from resistance to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost that so few attain this state of holiness.

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