Tuesday, April 01, 2008

St. Joseph's Day - (transferred) Patron of the Universal Church

TRIALS AND CONSOLATIONS (Luke 1:6; Matth 1: 18-25)

[After the circumcision of the Forerunner], Mary returned to Nazareth. Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as His Mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, (Espousals were celebrated among the Jews a year before the marriage. The bond that united the betrothed pair was so sacred that they were spoken of as husband and wife: to break this bond a bill of repudiation was necessary as in the case of an actual marriage) before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately (A word from Mary could have turned to joy the anguish of her chaste spouse. This word she did not speak, too humble to proclaim the secret of heaven with her own mouth. She contented herself with pouring out prayers and tears into the bosom of the Father of all consolation, confided that the Holy Spirit who had revealed to the mother of John the Baptist the whole mystery of the Incarnation, would enlighten Joseph when the time appointed by divine Wisdom had arrived). But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: "Joseph son of David fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins."
Now all this was done that might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the Prophet, saying: "Behold a Virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son and they shall call His nameGod with us" (Note: In this name Emmanuel the twofold nature of the Saviour is revealed: God and man, in one person).
And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as Angel of the Lord has commanded him and took unto him his wife. And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born Son; (Note:Among Jews the son of any woman who had not yet been a mother, was called the First-born, even if he remained the only son. This name was a token that he was bound by the law of the Presentation in the Temple, and it conferred on him special privileges.) and he called His name Jesus.

Credits: "The Four Gospels Harmonized" by the Rev. Canon Alfred Weber