St Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Missa “Gaudeámus omnes“
Mother of Our Lady. Grandmother of Jesus Christ. Wife of Saint Joachim. Tradition says that Anne was quite elderly when Mary was born, and that she was their only child. The belief that Anne remained a virgin in the conception and birth of Mary was condemned by the Vatican in 1677. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was three years old. Devotion to her has been popular in the East from the very early days of the Church; widespread devotion in the West began in the 16th century, but many shrines have developed since.
Saint Anne, chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, His own Blessed Mother on earth, was the spouse of Saint Joachim. Ancestor of the Eternal King and High Priest, Joachim was of the royal house of David, while Anne was of Levitical descent. Their lives were wholly occupied with prayer and good works. One thing only was wanting to their union — they were childless, and this was held as a bitter misfortune among the Jews. At length, when Anne was well advanced in age, Mary was born, the fruit rather of grace than of nature, and the child more of God than of man.
With the birth of Mary the holy matron began a new life; she watched Her every movement with reverent tenderness, and, aware of the little one’s destiny, felt herself hourly sanctified by the presence of her Immaculate Child. But she had vowed her daughter to God; to God the child Mary had already consecrated Herself, and to Him Anne gave Her back. Mary was three years old when Anne and Joachim led Her to the Temple steps, saw Her pass by Herself into the inner sanctuary, and then saw Her no more. Thus was Anne left childless in her old age, and deprived of her purest earthly joy. The holiest parents on earth could not, in the plan of God, raise this Child as was needed: Mary had to suffer from Her earliest years. Saint Anne and Saint Joachim humbly adored the Divine Will, and continued to watch and pray, until God called them to unending rest.
France and Canada possess the principal sanctuaries of Saint Anne: in France, at Apt in Provence, and at Auray in Britanny; in Canada at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the Province of Quebec. At Apt the discovery in 792 of Saint Anne’s relics, brought by Lazarus and his two sisters to France, was wholly miraculous, authenticated by the presence of Charlemagne during the discovery, and the signature of Pope Adrian I on the written account of the facts.
Reflection: Saint Anne is glorious among the Saints, not only as the mother of Mary, but because she gave Mary to God. Learn from her to reverence a religious vocation as the highest privilege, and to sacrifice every natural bond, however holy, at the call of God.
Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival-day in honour of blessed Anne; on whose solemnity the angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God. (Ps. 44: 2) My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King. v. Glory be…etc
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to confer grace on blessed Anne that she might deserve to be made the mother of the mother of Thine only-begotten Son, mercifully grant that, as we celebrate her solemnity, we may be assisted with Thee by her patronage. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever.
EPISTLE Proverbs 31: 10-31
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. Who shall find a valiant woman? the price of her is as of things brought from afar off, and from the uttermost coasts. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good and not evil all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands: she is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar: and she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens: she hath considered a field and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good; her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hands to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry; fine linen and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Canaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing: and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue: she hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed; her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches; thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity. V. Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia. V. Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee forever. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 13: 44-52
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: “The kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field; which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes; which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have ye understood all these things?” They say to Him, Yes. He said unto them, “Therefore, every scribe instructed in the kingdom of Heaven, is like to a man who is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 10
The daughters of kings in thy glory: the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.
Be appeased, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and look upon the sacrifices here before Thee, that, by the intercession of blessed Anne, who was the mother of Thy Son’s mother, Our Lord Jesus Christ, they may profit both for our devotion and our salvation. Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 3
Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee forever, and for ages of ages.
Nourished by Thy Heavenly sacraments, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that, by the intercession of blessed Anne, whom Thou didst will to be the mother of Thy Son’s mother, we may be worthy to attain unto everlasting salvation. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever.