Written by Abby Tucker, friend of Stella & Tide
Back when I was around 10 years old, my parents took me to the University of Notre Dame over Easter break to show me where they met—in their words, “where it all started.” After a long day of walking, my Mom asked if I would like to go to the Holy Thursday Tenebrae Mass. I agreed, despite the estimated ending time of midnight. After my Dad and brothers had fallen asleep, she woke me up and we walked to the Church.
I was exhausted. I knew I was going to fall asleep, but then, upon entering the Basilica, something caught my eye. It was gorgeous, intricate, and shining. I was completely awestruck and couldn’t look anywhere else, staring in wonder at how something so brilliant could be made.
The radiant object I couldn’t turn away from was the towering gold tabernacle that stood many feet above my head, glistening in a way I had never before seen in my life. How beautiful it was to reflect on the fact that this structure was pointing to and sheltering the very Body of Christ! At that moment, it dawned on me that all the time, effort, and love poured into building this intricate, stunning tabernacle—a home for Christ Himself—was beyond well spent. I was definitely wide awake.
Saints Joachim and Anne, who share July 26 as their feast day, were the first to pour their hearts and lives into the creation of a perfect tabernacle for Jesus: His mother, Mary.
Although we don’t know much about this couple, we know they were the Virgin Mary’s parents. The rest comes from tradition. Based on one legend, Joachim and Anne shared a devout married life but were unable to bear children. As they fasted and prayed, an angel appeared to them, revealing they would indeed have a child who would live for the greater glory of God. In gratitude and faithfulness, Joachim and Anne dedicated the child to God, presenting her at the Temple in Jerusalem when she was 3 years old to be raised as a consecrated virgin for the rest of her life.
Thus, our Blessed Mother Mary was brought up with deep love and devotion to God, preparing her for her unique role in salvation history. God sent the Mother of God to good, faith-filled people, as He knew they would shape her into a woman of God. Mary’s unwavering courage and trust reveals that she had heroic parents who showed her the path of goodness, nurturing her to become who she was meant to be. What an honor and blessing it must have been to watch Mary grow throughout her childhood and into the faithful woman she was!
It is always beneficial to reflect on the lives of the saints in order to find concrete ways to follow their examples in our daily lives. Saints Joachim and Anne, in particular, offer a wonderful model of how we can rightly prepare ourselves to become a living tabernacle for Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist. We can ask for their intercession daily in building a life pleasing to God and trusting in His perfect plan for us.
On this day, as we remember the patron saints of grandparents, let us be in awe of God’s love for us, knowing that He has placed us exactly where we are, with all the wonderful family we have and came from, to glorify Him.