Monday was the Feast of the Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Have you ever thought about Jesus’s grandparents? We don’t know very much about Mary’s parents. Tradition tells us their names were Joachim and Anne. There’s no mention of them in scripture. What we know about them, we know from early apocryphal writings. In the early second century, “a devout Christian sought to supply a fuller account of Mary’s birth and family, to satisfy the interest and curiosity of believers. An apocryphal gospel, known as the Protoevangelium of James or The Nativity of Mary, appeared. It included legendary stories of Mary’s parents” (from Holy Women, Holy Men). Based loosely on the birth narratives of the Old Testament and following similar patterns of infertility, visitations, and miraculous pregnancies, these legendary and mysterious grand-parental figures continue to spark the imagination.
I never knew my grandfathers. They died when I was one or two years old. My grandmothers died when I was in college, but they both were important figures in my life. I think back on their relationship with my mother and father and the relationship that had with each of my siblings. There was a uniqueness – they related to each of us in their own special way.
Grandparents have a way, don’t they? A wisdom . . . a presence . . .a gentleness . . . an honesty . . . you fill in the blank. Grandparents have a special role – a special call to support and to shape. While I had a short time on this earth with my grandparents, and while I will likely never be a grandparent, I give thanks to those who have served as grandparent to me. And I’m thankful that I usually came to know them in the pews of the church – a place where unique families have always been called into being.
Can you imagine the relationship Mary may have had with her parents? Can you imagine the relationship that Jesus may have had with his grandparents?
Give it some thought.
A prayer for the feast of the Parents of Mary. . .
Almighty God, we remember in thanksgiving the parents of blessed Mary; and we pray that we all may be made one in the heavenly family of your son Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
See you in church,