From the Bible:
Remember how for these forty years the Lord, your God, has directed all your journeying in the wilderness, [...] he guided you through the vast and terrible wilderness with its saraph serpents and scorpions, its parched and waterless ground; he brought forth water for you from the flinty rock and fed you in the wilderness with manna, a food unknown to your ancestors, that he might afflict you and test you, but also make you prosperous in the end. (Deuteronomy 8, 2;15-16)
St. Anne's life:
On one fateful day, Joachim goes to the Temple with gifts and offerings. He used to do so, giving to the work of God and praying for the blessing of a child. However, on that day, a priest turns him away: a childless man cannot be deemed worthy to come before God - in this culture and this time, childlessness is not only a heartache, but also a social stigma associated with a divine curse.
Confused, ashamed, and deeply hurt, Joachim decides to go off to the desert to be alone, to appease his shame, and weep before God. He doesn't dare go back home.
Meanwhile, Anne fears the worst. She doesn't know what happened, and she mourns Joachim as if he had died. From her broken heart escapes a prayer that reaches Heaven: "O God of our fathers, bless me."
After forty days, God sends an angel to the two desperate souls, asking them to go back together, promising a blessing. A few months later, a little girl was born, Mary.
Conjugal crisis is something Anne and Joachim know all too well. Through misunderstandings, trials, separations, they both felt that they were crossing the desert, literally in Joachim's case. Let's try to consider this phase of the desert crossing as a purification and preparation phrase for God's greatest gifts.
The Church's teaching:
"Conjugal life is never exempt from trials, painful moments when love and confidence in our spouse seem to falter. The couple will draw strength by uniting to the feelings of Christ during Good Friday. Many went through the experience: going through trial may contribute to purify love.
The Church needs to care about those separated, divorced, and divorced remarried. They are still members of the Christian community. Indeed, "they may and then even need to, as baptized, partake in its life" while welcoming faithfully the truth of the Church regarding marriage discipline."
From John Paul II speech to young couples and their children, St. Anne d'Auray, September 20th, 1996, §5 & §11.
On this day, Saint Ann, let us lift in our prayers the couples who are going through a conjugal crisis, sometimes leading to separation. May they draw strength from your example and raise their head knowing that God is all powerful. By crossing the desert, they will experience thirst and hunger, but they will also feel the presence of God who will meet them in the desert's bareness, and they will learn the lessons that can only be learned in a dry, desert season. May they trust that the faithful God will lead them too to the promised land of marital happiness.
Saint Anne, we pray you,
Be the guard
Of faith in our hearts,
Of grace in our souls,
Of the solidity of our homes
Of love in our family
Of reconciliation in the Church
Of peace in the world.
Keep alive in us
The virtue of hope.
- One Our Father, one Hail Mary, One Glory Be.
- Say once “St. Anne, pray for us and our families.”
- A rosary decade, or even a full rosary (five decades).
- “St. Anne, pray for us and our families.”
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6