Blog Template Theology of the Body: Saint Anne

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saint Anne

(You will all have to forgive me if I seem a little obsessed with maternal saints lately)

St. Anne is the mother of Mary and the grandmother of our Lord.  Perhaps of all the saints in the Christian assembly, St. Anne stands out to me as definitively Mother; true, our Lady is primordially and ultimately the Mother, but she is such because she is the mother of the one who is also God, and as such she is not only known as mother, but by all of the other attributions that are appropriate to her: the Immaculate Conception, the Door and Ark of salvation, the Holy of Holies.  Mary's fully human womb, once fully inhabited by God Incarnate, is no ordinary place. But St. Anne is just a mother- unlike her daughter, she is a mother without the supernatural gifts of conception by the Holy Spirit, angelic annunciation, a host of corroborating prophecies. And yet historians say that most of the great domes of European Churches were modeled as tributes to St. Anne; they are shaped like a great, maternal human skirt, under which the Tabernacle of the Lord and the Lord Himself could dwell, sound and secure and heralded on the horizon by merely human things.

Today- especially today, after yesterday's maddening vote in the U.S. House of Representatives-our culture needs "just mothers." Our laws cannot provide them; our government will not enforce the natural law that mothers remain and act like mothers towards their offspring. As of today, our legal system has once again given  up on child abuse, infanticide, and the state- and commerce- sponsored murder of a particular class of persons; all of this in the name of a nebulous "right to privacy" that was coined in 1965 to legalize contraception, and all the grisly forms of contraception that would follow.   

But we don't need new and tighter laws, ultimately.  We need a reform of conscience.  We need a celebration of life, at every stage of its development, as the good and holy gift of the God who (always) rejoices in His own creation. We need to imitate the God who reaches and flies to tend to the weakest. We need a culture of mothers.

Edit: I loved this post on the spiritual motherhood provided to young seminarians by a group of Dominican sisters.