By Mary Sayad



    Sts. Joachim and Ann (or Anna) were a very pious couple. However, because they were childless, they were not accepted into their society. At that time, the Jews looked down upon childless couples to the extent that Joachim, Mary's father, was thrown out of the temple. However, steadfast with faith and the love of God, St. Joachim and St. Ann never ceased praying and hoping for a child. They were informed by an angel that they would have a daughter whom they would name Mary. (It is believed that by the time Mary became betrothed to Joseph, her parents had died.)

    The family and community celebrated the birth of Mary and when the Holy Virgin was three years of age, Joachim and Ann, in fulfillment of their promise to God, took her to the Temple and dedicated her life to the service of the Lord. St. Ann was very diligent in teaching Mary how to pray and how to maintain love of the Holy Scriptures. Their spirituality never waned and they were truly a pious family.

    Young married couples are cheerful, joyful and filled with hope for living happily ever after. As they start their journey together, they look forward to raising a family as well as being successful in their professions.

    Successful marriages need genuine love, deep commitment and consistent prayer to flourish and weather difficult times. Difficult marital situations, require persistent prayer and consistent attendance at Liturgy. Lasting marriages are blessed and stand like a rock.

    Ephesians 5:31 - 32 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cling to his wife, and the two shall be made into one."

    "This is a great mystery; I mean that it refers to Christ and the church. In any case, each one should love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife should respect her husband."

    Today's families have come a long way. Sadly, some families no longer have lasting ties. Instant gratification, intolerance and lack of commitment are the norm. Developing deep roots in their communities is unfortunately an alien concept. According to the Bible, marriages were meant to be permanent. Easy divorce laws do not please God. Marriage vows were not meant to be broken for reasons of inconvenience, desire for personal freedom or desire for another partner. When families become fractured, more often than not, children suffer and become victims of a selfish situation. In addition, the children tend to follow in their parents' footsteps perpetuating an unwholesome pattern.

    A beneficial prayer for all families:

    Family Prayer

    God made us a family

    We need one another

    We love one another

    We forgive one another

    We work together

    We play together

    We worship together

    Together we use God's word

    Together we grow in Christ

    Together we love all men

    Together we serve our God

    Together we hope for Heaven

    These are our hopes and ideals

    Help us to attain them,

    O God, Through Jesus Christ our Lord

    Your companion in prayer,