Last month, while staying with friends, Neil celebrated mass on the feast of St Joachim and St Anne. He introduced the mass by talking about how St Joachim and St Anne were parents to Our Lady and asked us to consider the parents we have. Our parents are the first teachers of their children in the faith. Neil also asked us to consider those who are spiritual parents to us.

My own parents are Evangelical Anglicans and both display a deep faith that has sustained them through out their lives. From them I learnt how faith in intertwined with daily living, how it is deepened by Bible study and prayer.

To them I can add my spirtiual director, monks and nuns at Crawley Down, tutors on my direction course and many older Christians whose faith has helped me deepen my own. There are also those who have helped me see new things in my faith through reading their writings. amoung these I can name St Ignatius of Loyola, Pope Emmeritus, Benendict XVI, Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann, Lady Julian of Norwich, Hildergard of Bingen and the Linns, to name a few.

Taking time to see who has helped me deepen and shape my faith, I am very aware of the Communion of Saints. Both here on Earth and in Heaven are a multitude of those whom God has used to bring life to me.

Maybe, if you have a spare moment, you might like to consider what your parents have taught you about God and which ‘spiritual parents’ have brought something to birth in you that has deepened your faith.

St Joachim and St Anne, pray for us.