It’s hard to imagine saints as real human beings. Reading their stories and seeing artistic renditions—you know, pious faces with halos perched overhead—make it a stretch to see them as normal persons. But their lives were marked by many of the same challenges we face today. Relationships, jobs, health needs, questions of faith and morals—the saints faced these trials in whatever century they lived. It’s how they dealt with them that made all the difference.
I’m pondering this because today is the feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, believed to be the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus. While we don’t know much about them, they likely lived in Nazareth when their young daughter was betrothed to Joseph. (Given the ancient Jewish custom, Mary could have been about 12 years old at that time.) How did they feel? And what about when she was found to be pregnant? How did they work through that? Being “saints” did not make it easy, I think. Instead, the way they embraced the present moment with trust in God made them saints. And helped their daughter be a saint.
Let’s ask the holy family of Mary, Anne and Joachim to help us learn that being both human and saint is not only possible, but real.