The Raising of Lazarus, by Andrea Vaccaro, 1640
Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Joachim and Anna, by Willem van Herp, 17th Century
Prayer to Saints Joachim and Anne,
Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
O glorious Saints Joachim and Anne,
Grandparents of the Most High!
Great indeed is our Lord’s affection for you.
We honor your faithfulness in marriage,
and your openness to God’s hidden plan.
It was from your marital embrace that the Spirit
fashioned your fair daughter Mary to be sinless;
the dawning of a new creation
awakening from her Immaculate Conception.
It was in your family that she learned to love God
and grow in every virtue.
By a life of obedience to the Law of God
lived in your home,
Mary was prepared to receive the Eternal Word
into her heart and into her womb.
From your tender love Mary learned
a motherhood that knew no bounds,
and by the example of your married life,
Mary knew what it was to be a faithful wife to Joseph,
her most chaste spouse.
O Saints Anne and Joachim,
great indeed are you who gave life
to the Mother of our Savior!
It pleased God to create from your union
a woman freed from the stain of sin,
by the saving death of the son
she had not yet conceived.
Dearest Saints Joachim and Anne,
pray that our families may grow in holiness
and that our homes may become grace filled
sanctuaries of love.
By your powerful intercession,
protect and guide all grandparents
that they may be great examples of faith.
The Birth of St. John the Baptist, by Rogier van der Weyden, 1455-1460
Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.