Declaring the Praise of Grandparents and Elders 

– Br. Michael, ofm

Feast of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim

Elizabeth and Martin, Raymonde and Francois, Margaret and Lawrence, Phil, Sr. Mag, Laura and Fred, Joyce and Art, Martha, Rose, and Dot. These are the ancestors who have “left behind a name” in my life who I recall on this Feast of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim the savta and saba; the grandparents of Jesus. I do so declaring their praise (Sirach 44.1) for the impact they have had on my life.

The beautiful gift about a Feast Day such as this one of Saints Ann and Joachim, is it reminds us we come from story, from birth to death story is part of the fabric of who we are. The people we share this life with, the ancestors and elders such as Laura and Fred and Rose and Dot in my life, are storytellers helping to unfold the mystery of the love of God. All of us are story tellers, and we are woven into the great story of Christ. Like his Grandparents Ann and Joachim, our lives intersect into the story of Jesus as we carry forth the blessings of seeing and hearing the good news on this side of the resurrection.

Jesus the great storyteller continually invites us into the deeper story of God’s love. I would like to imagine he was taught story not only from his parents but also from his grandparents. As his grandparents told him stories of the great ancestors of faith, the mighty journey of prophets and sages, and shared with him the wisdom of elders both women and men from his story, he must have caught glimpses of his Abba’s love and presence.

My grandparents Elizabeth and Martin and Raymonde and Francois were amazing storytellers. I can recall as a child being captivated as they told story making everything bigger than my small life, as an adult I came to appreciate their wisdom. Their eyes sparkled and their words flowed easily as they shared stories of our ancestors, travels to Canada, updates on relatives, and spoke of their own journeys of faith and serving others. The story of their own lives woven into my own, as “their name lives on generation after generation.”

As I prepare to gather with family members to celebrate the legacy or the shoots which have sprouted up of Elizabeth and Martin. I can’t help but think of how their witness to Christ is woven into our family – even if not all the members can see it, the grace of God has been made known and is present. It causes me to ponder again: How am I telling my story? How are our stories speaking Christ into the world?

The words of Jesus to his disciples about blessed are ears and eyes which hear and see, are an invitation to each one of us and our stories. We have a responsibility to respond to God’s gifts poured into our lives and to be aware of the graces of God. When we do so, we see how our story and our journey is blessed. Blessed because Christ meets us and blesses us whether we are learning to walk as the poor in spirit or in mourning, with meekness or in our hungering for righteousness. Whether it is in the way we share mercy or are rooted in purity, or in the way we share peace or struggle with persecution. Our story is part of the ongoing story which is and will be told of how God is present in our day.

Who are the grandparents and elders who have been witness for you? Who are the ancestors who declared Christ in your life? Who are the wise ones who need to have their praises sung? Which grandparent or elder are you remembering today?

God, these are ancestors we remember and honor today on the feast of Saint Ann and Saint Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus. We entrust them to your tender care and mercy. We thank you for their witness of Christ your Son and the way they shared their stories, their faith, their gifts and embraced your grace. We hold them close and trust they continue to walk with us in holiness; blessed among your holy ones. Amen.


Photo Credit: Paolo Bendandi