ents of Mary and thus the grandparents of Jesus. They remind us how important family life is. Together, Anne and Joachim, provided the right environment for Mary to maintain her purity. Let us ask their powerful intercession now as we join Pope Benedict in praying that Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to Christ and that all people may have work in safe and secure conditions. Our reflection is from Bl. John XXIII.
St. Anne was the mother of the blessed Virgin Mary. The sweet and venerable figure of this highly privileged woman cannot be separated from that of her husband, St. Joachim. Equally loved and revered by all Christians. We do not know much about them, but from an ancient tradition we learn that they were already advanced in years when the Lord bestowed on them the gift of the stainless lily chosen to be the Mother of the Word of God made man, and the Spiritual Mother of all the redeemed.
We can learn a twofold lesson from the recurrence of the Feast of St. Anne. The first is for children and young people, and perhaps for older folk too. It is that we must always treat elderly people with great respect and affectionate care. They possess a real treasure of gifts and graces which the Lord has showered upon them on the long way they have come, and this treasure will be of priceless value to them when they reach the end of their earthly pilgrimage.
You must then respect the old, and during the years of youth and maturity you must be generous in service to God. In this way we can be sure that the young people of today will enjoy a serene and trustful old age, strengthened by fine memories of the good they have done.