Twenty six years ago, in July I visited a cathedral store in Galway, Ireland and found this interesting icon.
The back of my icon reads,
THE ICON OF INTIMATE LOVE. (Russian 16th Century)
An icon of great tenderness, gentleness, love! Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary, stand together in affectionate embrace. The dignity, royalty, and warmth of their love is symbolised in their red robes. The green pallet on which they stand lifts them high above the darkness of fear and loneliness. In the background, a cloth, draped between their two houses, expresses the mantle of blessings bestowed by God; Blessings on wife and husband and on their families. This icon is frequently presented as a wedding gift in the Orthodox Churches.
Today is the feast day of Saints Joachim and Anne. Not only am I named for Saint Anne, but a year after finding this icon, almost to the day, I met my husband; we were married the following April. The icon has had pride of place in our bedroom in all eight homes we've lived in for twenty-four and a half years of marriage now. As many of you know, icons aren't just pictures, but windows into the Divine; they are deeply symbolic, rich in meaning and meant for prayer.
It is my belief that the Blessed Mother's parents brought my own dear husband to me and has watched over this poor foolish sinner all these years. Now I humbly beg their intercession for my own dear daughters. If it be their vocation to become wives and mothers, may they be as blessed as I have been and continue to be, with a husband who is wise, kind, good and above all, loving.
Dear Saints Joachim and Anne, please watch over and love my daughters as you once watched over your own child, Our Lady. Amen.