"Only if you thoroughly reform your ways and your deeds; if each of you deals justly with his neighbor; if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow;...will I remain with you in this place." Jer 7: 4-5
Although we know little about Joachim and Anne, the apocryphal gospel of James assures us they they were just, not only to their neighbors and family, but to all, and because they were so faithful to the law and to God, despite Anne's barrenness, they are signs of hope for us even today.
Most of us can easily recall people, even our parents, aunts and uncles, who were filled with faith despite the heavy burdens they carried. My own parents lost a child to what we now call sudden infant death syndrome, but kept and even grew in their faith. This is not to say they ever understood God's plan. My mother wondered aloud many times and asked: Why would God send a child, only to snatch him away before he has had a chance to live? These questions, I have no doubt, were only her way of expressing her feelings aloud. No matter what happened in her life, mom would try to get to daily mass, helped others less fortunate than herself, and never failed to pray in the morning, evening and before meals.
It is good that we hold up a married couple as saints, and we could do with even more. Marriage is, after all, the primary way most people live the Gospel and we should never suggest that it is a lesser vocation. Anyone who honestly discerns that God is calling them to marriage and family is fully alive in Christ, just as Joachim and Anne were.
Today, thank God for whatever path to which God had directed you to live the Gospel.
What about the sacrament of marriage most strikes you as holy?