After Joachim and Anne left the Temple*, they turn away from each other. Each carries the burden of grief alone.
Joachim went back to his sheep in the fields. His despair is obvious. He seems unaware that an angel has appeared and is standing nearby (with a message that will change his life).
I find it difficult but important to remember that when things seem the most hopeless, God is very close to me and my broken heart.
Hope, May I never become so lost in my pain that I am incapable of seeing, feeling, sensing, or knowing that You are close by.
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Invitation to Pray:
What painful situation are you pondering? In the midst of your isolation, would it be helpful to look to see if God is more present than you might have thought? What prayers are emerging in your body, mind, heart, and imagination? Pray them now.
Small twelfth-century sculptures (1145) that line the west wall, just above the doorways at the Chartres Cathedral in France. These two scenes are found in the first rounded capital next to the left central door and are found on the right of the photo below.
*The story of Mary’s parents, Anne and Joachim were told in the Protevangelium of James (an apocryphal gospel written about 145 CE) and the Homilies of the Greek monk Jacobus Kokkinobaphos (12th century). They are found at Chartres in these sculptures and the Life of Mary Window.
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