• 28 JANUARY, 2020
Joachim: A Devoted and Strong will Father

Joachim with his family and relations lived in Nazareth. He was a devout and holy man, illuminated with the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and the Prophets. Throughout his life, he lived a life of humility and modesty. Joachim and Hannah got married and became the parents of Mary, the blessed woman who will bear a holy child. The two holy spouses lived in Nazareth, following the commands of the Lord. They practiced all virtue in their works, avoiding all blemish acts.

The historical religious fiction, I Am Only Mary written by Thomas Atzberger explores the culture of the times during the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The early chapters of the book introduce us to various traditions and roles of traditional families. The book explains the responsibilities of a Jewish father who employed different traditions and family values in bringing up well-disciplined, compassionate, and humble individuals.

Joachim was a shepherd of Nazareth. For twenty years, he and his wife lived in undisturbed peace, and their hearts are united. Joachim provided a positive role model for Mary and help her reinforce good moral behavior. Readers observed that Joachim had a different perspective on rearing his daughter. Being an active and responsive father, he proactively gets involved with Mary to teach her valuable life skills, and problem-solving skills. Joachim was very pleased when his daughter asked such questions related to different religious cultures and her favorite subjects that the little child wish to acquire more information to expand her knowledge. For instance, Joachim put Mary on his lap and explained to Mary about well water. In another instance, Joachim explicated about Jewish Holy Days. As a tender and caring father, Joachim provided the mentoring that helped Mary to lead a pious devout life through her childhood and during her adolescence.

Joachim was a man of reason and faith. He was the spiritual leader at the House of Prayers. He was intellectually and morally qualified and possessed scholastic qualities. Joachim had vast knowledge of the Talmud and the Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law) and classical texts of Jewish scholarship. His divine wisdom and knowledge helped him to meet missionaries and intellectuals from different countries. The book talks about the visit of a renowned scholar, named Azach, from Zippori. Joachim met this scholarly person during his visit to Jerusalem. Azach visited Nazareth and met community people and gave a powerful sermon at the House of Prayers. Joachim also fulfilled religious and administrative responsibilities at the synagogue.

A father is an important pillar of a family as they play a pivotal role while their children grow up. It strengthens the father-child relationship and builds confidence in children to open up and share their challenging decisions. As in the case of Mary When she described the vision of the Holy Spirit, the father became dejected as it was unbelievable news. In his mind, he was visualizing the images of Mary as a sweet toddling infant, as a bright curious child, and then growing up a vibrant and wise young girl. He went to Mary and tenderly put his hands on each side of her head and said, “I must believe you if you tell me it is true. I will put my trust in you, and pray, and take each day as it comes.”

The minister ended the sermon in a dramatic tone, emphasizing the congregation to maintain the practice of praying and studying the Ten Commandments. Community people were deeply inspired by this splendid and persuasive preaching that touched their hearts. They opined, “It was like a great spiritual meal; it will feed us for many days to come.”

About The Book

Reading the book will help you know the pious role of Mary. The narrative fiction I Am Only Mary by Thomas W. Atzberger makes Mary accessible to us as a fellow Christian, emphasizing her humanity and her virtuous living of the call God gave to her. Mary, being a righteous and angelic adolescent showed her obedience and love for God by surrendering herself to God’s command.

The book reveals Mary’s life and character elements we rarely know about. It depicts different stages of Mary’s growth from childhood to adulthood when Mary’s Annunciation took place by the Angel Gabriel. Mary’s betrothal process with Joseph was planned. When she received a vision from The Holy Spirit that Mary will conceive and bear a holy child. Mary plan to visit her relative Elizabeth who was also expecting a child in old age.

Readers learn about Jewish rituals performed by Jewish families after the birth of the child. At the end of the book, Mary departed after spending her best time with Elizabeth. Mary began her journey back home, she felt more confident and strong to execute the big responsibilities ahead. She courageously lived out her life, day to day, fulfilling her role as a caring and loving wife, and, ultimately, looking forward to the birth of her child.

This book is a must-read. The religious fiction, I Am Only Mary is available on different online platforms. Anyone who has a keen interest in knowing about the probable details of Mary’s journey will find narrative fiction more appealing. Since the history and biography about Mary are hardly available, reading this prose meditation brings us close to her.

About the Author

Thomas Atzberger is a retired lawyer from Columbus, Ohio. He completed three years of college-level studies in a Catholic seminary before earning degrees from John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Thomas is an attorney by training and is a supervisor of stockbrokers. He has been married to his wife Christina since 1970, with three adult children. The inspiration to compile this amazing work comes from Thomas's life experience as a husband, father, uncle, neighbor, and relative of many in his extended family. His earnest feelings are that we should follow virtuous living like Mary and practice religious acts that work out our salvation. Thomas Atzberger aims to make Mary’s biography more interesting for the readers.