From a Sermon by St. John Damascene
The home of Anne is set before us, that herein we may see an ensample both of married and of maiden life, the one in the person of Anne the mother, the other in that of Mary her daughter. Whereof one hath but now ceased to be barren, and the other is in a little while destined, beyond the course of nature, to become the Mother of the Messiah by a singular birth, specially designed of God to build up anew our nature. We can imagine, then, how Anne, filled with the Holy Ghost, with joyful and jubilant spirit, might have sung aloud: Rejoice with me, for out of my barren womb I have borne the bud of promise, and, as I have longed to do, I nourish at my breasts the fruit of benediction ; I have laid aside the mournful garments of barrenness, and put on the joyful raiment of fruitfulness ; let Hannah, the adversary of Peninnah, make merry with me, and join with me for fellow-feeling, in the singing of this new and unhoped-for wonder that is wrought in me ; let Sarah be glad that was joyfully pregnant in her old age. She was but a shadow cast before of my conception, even before me that hitherto have been barren. Let all the barren and fruitless break forth into singing, when they behold in what wondrous wise I have been visited from heaven.
Let all other mothers also, when they like Anne are gifted with fruitfulness, say : Blessed be he that gave their desire unto them that besought him! that gave fruitfulness unto her that was barren! that granted unto her that from her should bud forth the joy-bringing Virgin! Who, according to the flesh, was Mother of God, and whose womb was a heaven wherein he dwelt whom no place can contain. Let us also with them offer our praises to her that was called barren, but now is become the mother of a maid-child ; let us say unto her in the words of the Scripture : O how blessed is the house of David from whence thou art sprung! and that womb wherein God hath fashioned the ark of his holiness! her, by whom he was himself conceived without man's seed!
Right blessed art thou, yea, thrice blessed, whom God hath so blest as to make thee to bring forth, as his own gift, the babe Mary! Whose very name is highly honourable, out of whom Christ, the Flower of life, blossomed! A maiden whose rising is glorious, and whose delivery is worth more than the world. We also, O Anne, woman right blessed, do with thee joy. In sooth thou hast brought forth what we all have hoped for, and God hath given us, namely, the babe of promise. Blessed indeed art thou, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! The tongues of all the godly do magnify thine offspring, and every glad word is spoken concerning her of whom thou art delivered. It is indeed meet and right, and our bounden duty, to praise her who received a revelation from the goodness of God, and bore for us such and so great a fruit, from whom sweet Jesus sprang.
O God, who didst vouchsafe to give grace to blessed Saint Anne that she might be worthy to bear the Mother of thine only-begotten Son : mercifully grant that we who rejoice in the observance of her feast day, may by her intercession find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.