Long ago when I was baptized the rule was that only saints’ names were acceptable for Roman Catholic babies. Because it was also understood that “the faithful” were to learn about the Bible from the clergy and not their own study (although we were to have a “family Bible” in our homes), not too many people were aware that Lois was mentioned by St. Paul in passing. Did you know she was the grandmother of Paul’s young companion, Timothy? Well, in 1948, Lois was a surprise name choice of my mother so my middle name became more important. It seems ironic now because the name my parents chose was Ann (not Anne, thank you very much!) whom legend says was the grandmother of Jesus, mother of his mother, Mary. So today, the feast of St. Ann (and her husband Joachim, a relatively recent addition to the Church calendar), seems to be about grandparents – mine and yours as well as those of Jesus and Timothy.
I know I have always been proud to carry the name attributed to the grandmother of Jesus and honor her, as tradition would have it, my “patron saint.” I found a lovely comment on http://www.americancatholic.org this morning that seems to fit this feast. I offer it as a personal reflection for all of us and a reminder of our heritage and what we would hope to pass on to those who follow us in life.
This feast reminds grandparents of their responsibility to establish a tone for generations to come. They must make the traditions live and offer them as a promise to little children. But the feast has a message for the younger generation as well. It reminds the young that older peoples’ greater perspective, depth of experience and appreciation of life’s profound rhythms are all part of a wisdom not to be taken lightly or ignored.