Jesus Came Once, He Remains Forever
This idyllic painting by Joseph Paelinck, a Belgian artist, is not a Nativity Scene as such, but it is associated with the spirit of Christmas and the family gatherings that make it such a unique feast day. This attractive painting brings the entire Holy Family together for a group photo, so to speak. We notice the proud radiant smile of the young mother Mary as she carefully balances her year-old baby Jesus on her lap while grandma Ann plays with his little hand. Looking on approvingly is the strong and handsome father Joseph who is sharing a happy thought with the bearded grandpa Joachim as they survey the joyous scene playing out before them. All eyes are centered on the new baby whose winsome presence inaugurates the physical human face of God squarely positioned on planet Earth for the first time ever. Jesus came once, he remains forever.
Nativity mangers, crèches, will soon pop up everywhere in public places, schools, churches, front lawns, and homes. The vast majority of them, as well as most religious cards, will mainly show Mary with Jesus, many will include Joseph, but few if any will include the grandparents, Ann and Joachim. Grandparents are an important influence in a child’s life and I, for one, like to think that Ann and Joachim provided needed support and love to Joseph and Mary as all of them, as extended family, contributed to the human and spiritual development of the young Jesus.
History does not tell us how long Ann and Joachim were around to help guide and influence Jesus during his passage from teen years, through young adult to manhood, but surely his high moral character, his sensitivity to the poor, to women and children, his sense of justice and piety, his humility and courage, his attractive personality and other qualities that the mature Jesus would later manifest in his public life can be attributed in some degree, to the influence, not only of his parents, but of his grandparents as well.
Jesus came once, he remains forever. There was no way Saint Ann could know that her grandson Jesus, on the night of the Last Supper, would find a way to remain close to his people forever through the Mystery of the Eucharist and Holy Communion. Here at Saint Ann’s Shrine, we celebrate Eucharist daily Monday thru Friday at 11:30AM, and as grandma Ann nurtured the vocation of Jesus during his youth, so do we pray daily for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life for service to the Church, especially in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Devotion to Saint Ann and the Shrine devotions are part of the development arm of our Congregations’ Mission. We humbly and respectfully ask for your support so that we may carry out our mission. We invite your prayer requests, Mass Intentions, and we pray for our donors at every Liturgy. Jesus came once, he remains forever!
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
God Bless You!
Fr. Roger Bourgeois, SSS
Chaplain, Saint Ann’s Shrine
*Join us for our Tree Lighting Ceremony and reception at Saint Ann’s Shrine following 11:30AM Mass on Friday, December 7th
*The Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament offers a daily devotion/reflection. If you’d like to receive this uplifting message, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*We have Blessed Oil and Holy Water available for a suggested donation of $6.00 per bottle. Contact Saint Ann Shrine at 440-449-2700 or st-ann-shrine.org.
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