The Italians have a proverb that advises: “If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.” It came to mind as I considered that if it were not the Lord’s Day, we would be celebrating the Memorial of SS. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary, the grandparents of Our Lord and I might add, the “in laws” of St. Joseph. While we will not celebrate their memorial liturgically, we should not neglect these saints who are so central in the history of our salvation and who bridge the Old and New Testaments. Their “day” should move us to honor and pray for all grandparents.
As we honor SS. Joachim and Anne, let us pray for our grandparents, living or deceased. Let us pray for grandparents who increasingly take on so many responsibilities within the family…many caring for their grandchildren on a full time basis. Perhaps we could make the prayer of Pope Benedict our own today:
Lord Jesus, you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents…Protect them!
They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardians of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations
the fruits of their mature human and spiritual experience.
Lord Jesus, help families and society
to value the presence and roles of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity
for the great embrace of life without end.