Friday, July 26, 2013

Not in the Bible

Today is a perfect example of how the Catholic approach to the Bible differs from some other groups. For us the Bible is the inspired word of God, and contains all that is necessary for salvation. It is not an encyclopedia. It does not contain all knowledge. It does not contain everything we might want to know about Jesus or the early church. As Christians we study many other writings of the early that while not inspired are still informational.

Today we celebrate the Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary. They are not mentioned in the Bible because their story is not necessary for salvation any more than the story of St. Benedict of St. Francis. But it seems to me that the stories of the saints are instructive.

The names of Mary's parents come not from one of the four Gospels, but from a book called the protoevangelion of James. Often this title is mistranslated as the Gospel of James. But the protogospel is to a gospel what a prototype is to the actual article. There were many protogospel-like documents in the beginning of the Church, only four were determined to be truly the inspired Word of God, but some information for others is accepted as accurate.

To me it is worth reflecting particularly on the parents of Mary, because we know what a critical role parents play in shaping their children. This week and next I am traveling the Commonweath as a member of the Leadership Team for Virginia Adopts. Tuesday night I was brought to tears by the most eloquent 16 year old I have ever heard in my life and her story of the struggles she had faced and how her adoptive mother had changed her life.

In the Church we celebrate biological parenting in Mary and non-biological parenting in Joseph. Why should we not step back a generation and celebrate grandparents day? They must have been incredible people to have raised a child like Mary.

Each day as I walk out my back gate I think of them because in my back yard is the statue of Anne and a young Mary. Maybe today is a day to remember your grandparents.