Jul 26 – Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary
By tradition, Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary’s father and mother come to us through legend and tradition. It was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God’s request with faith, “Let it be done to me as you will.” It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe. Such parents can be examples and models for all parents.
The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying, ‘Go and shout this in the hearing of Jerusalem:
‘“The Lord says this:
I remember the affection of your youth,
the love of your bridal days:
you followed me through the wilderness,
through a land unsown.
Israel was sacred to the Lord,
the first-fruits of his harvest;
anyone who ate of this had to pay for it,
misfortune came to them –
it is the Lord who speaks.”
‘I brought you to a fertile country
to enjoy its produce and good things;
but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land,
and made my heritage detestable.
The priests have never asked, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me.
The shepherds have rebelled against me;
the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal,
following things with no power in them.
‘You heavens, stand aghast at this,
stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled
– it is the Lord who speaks.
Since my people have committed a double crime:
they have abandoned me,
the fountain of living water,
only to dig cisterns for themselves,
that hold no water.’
The disciples went up to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you talk to them in parables?’ ‘Because’ he replied, ‘the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them. For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:
You will listen and listen again, but not understand,
see and see again, but not perceive.
For the heart of this nation has grown coarse,
their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes,
for fear they should see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their heart,
and be converted
and be healed by me.
‘But happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear! I tell you solemnly, many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’
For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it
“I love going for fitness classes. For that one hour, I release all control and let someone else tell me what to do.” A friend exclaimed this recently, and it struck a chord deep within my heart. She’s an entrepreneur who takes charge of every aspect of her business; making decisions everyday wears her out and saps her mental strength. During the classes, she places her trust in the instructor and follows orders, believing that the exercises she goes through will put her in better condition than before.
Unlike her, it has been difficult for me to give up control. I enjoy the responsibility of charting my own direction, and the risk of getting things either gloriously right, or frighteningly wrong. However, I have come to realise that God is the only one truly in control of everything. He cedes some agency to us as we live our mortal lives, while still orchestrating life’s grand aria.
Desiring control is by no means a bad thing. So much of how we live our lives is deeply connected to our personalities and past experiences. The melange of individuality around us makes life so poignantly dynamic and unpredictable; a perfect opportunity for God to demonstrate his infinite wisom.
Brothers and sisters, what does control mean to you, and how does your attitude towards it influence how you live your life?
(Today’s Oxygen by Anonymous)
Prayer: Dearest God, bless us with the instincts to realise when we should be relinquishing control. Guide our thoughts, words, and actions every step of the way.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father, for sprinkling your creation with all types of people. May we work together harmoniously in your service.