The following are lessons 1 and 2 from Matins this morning. Its hard sometimes to find that one special gem in the pile of gems which are the writings of the Church fathers. I chose to type this one out for everyone because I think it contains a very wise insight on St. Anne and our Blessed Mother.
From a Book by St. John Damascene on the Orthodox Faith
Joachim married that most virtuous and praiseworthy woman, Anne. Just as in former times another Anne had, by prayer and promise, born Samuel, although she had been suffering from the affliction of barrenness, similarly this Anne, by prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, so that in the matter of childbearing she was far from being inferior to the other virtuous wives. Therefore Grace, (for that is the meaning of the name Anne) bore the Queen (for thus is the name Mary, interpreted), and indeed she was made Queen of all things created since she was the Mother of their Creator.
It was in Joachim’s house near the pool of Bethesda that Mary opened her infant eyes to the light of this world, and she was presented in the temple as a child. So, planted in the house of God, and nourished by the Holy Spirit, she was made like the olive branches, laden with domestic virtues. So manifestly had her soul been kept from all worldliness and desires of the flesh, so completely had she remained a virgin both in body and in soul, that she was found worthy and prepared to receive God in her breast.
Text taken from Monastic Breviary Matins published by Lancelot Andrewes Press.