Madeline Bradley ‘14
On this memorial of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mention of children in this Gospel jumps out in a particular way. What’s more, I am in my second trimester of pregnancy, bearing my first child, and I have children on my mind!
Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God, just like Mary was—though she was also given the special grace of being conceived without sin. As my baby grows within me, I hope that he or she is blessed with the same gift, but I don’t expect that will be the case! Despite the fact that we are all sinners (including our child), my husband and I still have a duty to strive to build a family where holiness can grow.
Jesus’ emphatic command at the end of today’s Gospel—“Let anyone with ears listen!”—reminds us that listening is an important element in the life of a Christian family. My husband and I need to listen to one another; as parents we need teach our child to listen to us just as we must listen to him or her.
It will be crucial that all three of us also listen to Jesus as he speaks to us in the Gospels. The listening Jesus calls us to here is more than hearing—it is a kind of urgent obedience that puts into action what is received. In doing this, we will better understand how to grow in holiness and how to help each other more fully become the “good seeds” of this story—children of the kingdom.
Sts. Joachim and Anne are a powerful example for my husband and me as we embark on this journey. They must have been humbled as they tried their best to parent Mary, their sinless child. Like all parents, surely they sometimes failed to listen to their child and to one another properly. Even so, clearly they were able to cultivate a loving family where holiness could grow and thrive. I know my husband and I will also have many very humbling moments as parents, but their example gives us hope.
With the help of Saints Joachim and Anne, let us recommit ourselves to truly listening to our loved ones and to Jesus in the Gospel. Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us!