Hitherto we have been considering how powerful is St. Anne’s intercession with JESUS, Mary and our Heavenly Father. But is she disposed to make use of this power in our favor? Does St. Anne love us? Yes, indeed, she loves us very much on account of the bond of union existing between her and ourselves.
Spiritual relationship is a sacred tie in the eyes of the Church: she has even made it an impediment of marriage between god-parents and their god-children. She also desires that we should love and honor those who held us at the baptismal font in the same way as we love and honor our parents; and she also desires that, in spiritual matters, our god-parents should, if necessary, replace our own parents.
By giving birth to Mary, the Mother of our souls, and through her to our brother JESUS, St. Anne and her worthy husband have really contracted a spiritual relationship with us; in this way they have become our grand-parents even as Abraham and Sara are called in the Scripture the father and mother of all believers. Pious reader, do not say that if this be so, we ought to look on all the ancestors of Christ as our spiritual ancestors, even those among them who were sinners. There is a great difference; all the ancestors of Christ, even the sinners, doubtless contributed to transmit to Him that blood of Abraham from which the Messiah was to spring; but those who led holy lives, such as Isaac, Jacob, David, Josias, Ezechias, Josaphat, Zorobabel, contributed in a special manner to drawing down among us the Divine Offshoot of Abraham. Now Joachim and Anne shine the brightest of all, since by their piety, their penances, their good works, they obtained that blessed Daughter, the Mother of JESUS. For, as we shall relate hereafter, their union was childless, according to nature. These two Saints then look on us as their spiritual posterity; in this respect they share the sentiments of JESUS and Mary, and interest themselves deeply in everything regarding our eternal happiness, and even with our temporal happiness so far as that happiness is conducive to our eternal salvation. We read in the Book of Maccabees, that the prophet Jeremiah after his death, continually prayed for the Jews, and this although he had been much ill-treated by them during his life-time, and even, it appears, put to death by them; he forgot they had been his executioners and only remembered they were his brethren and the people of God. Can we then doubt that St. Joachim and St. Anne pray continually for the children of their glorious Daughter, for the members of their own Divine Offshoot, and that they thus obtain the most abundant graces for all Christians?
This love, this solicitude of the two holy spouses on our behalf, demands from us the deepest gratitude; and this gratitude should be shown by offering the homage of our unbounded confidence and filial devotion. Grandmothers love to see their grandchildren throwing themselves into their arms or into their laps: even so ought we to approach St. Anne, with open heart laying our wants and needs before her in all simplicity. We should feel perfectly convinced that she will obtain for us the favors we are asking through her intercession, or else something better, more useful for our salvation. For children frequently ask most hurtful things of their mother and loving though she be, she is forced to refuse them their request. As for us, never shall we pray in vain to St. Anne, if only our intention be pure, for she will take good care, in offering our petitions to her beloved Daughter Mary, to omit what is amiss.
Our devotion to St. Anne should be most constant. A child does not love its mother only just when it stands in need of her, but always and at every moment. The Wise Man has said that he who loves in truth, loves at all times. The Saints, like God Himself, do not show themselves favorable to those who invoke them in time of trouble and forget them in times of prosperity.
A Soldier of Carignan’s regiment, aged 22, named John PradPre, entered the Hôtel-Dieu, an hospital in Quebec, at the beginning of the year 1667, dangerously ill from two distinct maladies—paralysis of one of his legs and an abscess in the stomach; which abscess occasioned him such severe hiccoughs as might at any time have proved fatal.
One night he fell into a strange and indefinable state of mind, for he seemed to hear a voice telling him that he would be doing what was most pleasing to God and would also recover his health, if he would solemnly vow to consecrate himself to the service of the hospital for the rest of his life. The poor sick man consented to this, and on coming to himself announced that he would soon be cured.
In the meantime, the most alarming symptoms set in and, death appearing imminent, the last Sacraments were administered. Against all expectation, a sudden change for the better took place and soon there was no further trace of the complaint in the stomach. Still the poor soldier remained entirely confined to his bed, complete paralysis preventing him from making use of his leg, nor did he feel the incisions made in it by the doctor who declared that, without some new miracle, he would never again be able to walk. Without losing confidence, the sick man determined to get himself taken to St. Anne de Beaupre, in order to make a Novena to that great Saint, and ask for a complete cure. On the fifth day of his pious exercises, which happened to be the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, whilst prostrate at the foot of St. Anne’s altar he was pouring out his griefs and sufferings, and imploring the help of his protectress; he all at once felt the most frightful sufferings in his leg. He felt all the incisions that had been made in his limb since the beginning of his illness and, over come by the pain, nature gave way, and he fell into a profound sleep. On awaking, he found his leg bathed in a healing perspiration which exhaled the sweetest odor, and on this perspiration disappearing, the sick man found he was perfectly cured. He returned thanks to God and to his benefactress and leaving his crutches there, went on his way singing the praises of good St. Anne.
Glorious spouses Joachim and Anne, happy are you that you can call your Daughter Queen of Heaven and your Grandson King of kings, Son of the Almighty! Through Mary and JESUS, you are in a real, though spiritual manner, the father and mother of that innumerable multitude of Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, Saints of all orders and conditions who are the glorious members of the mystical body of JESUS-CHRIST. And I also, by the grace of God am a member of that sacred body, but, alas, I am not worthy of calling myself your child! You are great Saints, while I am the most miserable of sinners; you are all heavenly, I am all earthly; you are humble, pure as the light, inflamed with divine love like the Seraphim, whilst I am all pride and cowardice; and though my heart is inflamed with the love of sensual gratifications, yet is it of ice for the things of God. Holy and beloved Protectors, have compassion on the depths of my misery, and by your intercession, change me, convert me, make me worthy of Mary, make me worthy of JESUS!
St. Joachim and St. Anne, obtain the grace of conversion for the vilest of sinners.
Make a habit of daily invoking Joachim and Anne that by their intercession you may grow in love to JESUS and Mary, and gain the victory over those inclinations which are most hurtful to your soul.