Chapter One: Grace and Devotion to Mary
Chapter Two: Mary, Holy Objects and God
Chapter Three: Primary Teachings - Mary the Virgin
Chapter Four: Mary and Jesus
Chapter Five: Deeper Teachings -
Chapter Six: Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas -
Jesus and Mary
A Mediator with our Mediator
Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts and Reflections
of the Holy Spirit
of Jesus Made Present
and Church Unity
Consecration to Mary Individual and
Litany of Mary's Faith Journey
© Copyright, J. Roy MacIntyre 2009
St. Joseph, Husband of Mary
We cannot consider Mary's being spouse of the Holy Spirit without considering Joseph's role with her. What we know is that at the time of the angel's message to Mary she was betrothed to Joseph. Betrothal, a formal engagement, in the first century Palestine was as binding as marriage. The hand of God can be seen in this tradition of a contracted marriage including a year of engagement. Through this, Mary was able to be protected by the Law in conceiving Jesus, even though she had not yet been taken into the home of Joseph as his wife.
It may have appeared to the family and friends of Joseph, to his humiliation perhaps, that he, in weakness was unable to wait the required year to consummate the marriage. In fact, Joseph is given the great role of witnessing to Mary's virginal conception of Jesus. Initially, he was unaware of how Mary came to be pregnant, and he knew it was not his child. Being a just man, he therefore decided to divorce her informally (Mt 1:19). He knew that she must belong to someone else. So he decided to allow her to go to the one to whom she belonged by putting her away quietly. He did not realize she, in fact, belonged to the Holy Spirit – God. If he did know Mary was the mother of the Messiah, he may have taken the same action out of humility feeling he was not worthy to be husband of the mother of God.
I can't help but speculate on the relationship between Mary and Joseph. Did they not even talk about her pregnancy or at least did Mary not try to explain to him from Whom came this Child? But, of course, it was a breathtaking, almost unbelievable story. Mary, it seems, decided to have faith that God, in His time, would reveal to Joseph the truth. God, indeed, revealed to Joseph in a dream that he was chosen to be the husband of Mary. And the messenger in the dream also made know to Joseph the child within Mary’s womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20-21).
Joseph accepted his role in God's plan of redemption and did as the angel in the dream had bid him. Thus he gave Jesus the legal status necessary for Him to fulfil His mission on Earth. He also provided protection for Mary, who could have been stoned to death for being pregnant and unmarried. So, Joseph's actions provided for the Messiah and mother. As St. Paul put it, "when the time had fully come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law," (Gal 4:4).
God communicated His special messages to Joseph through dreams (Mt 1:20-21, 2:13-15) and we see from Scripture that he, like Mary, never doubted but believed and firmly carried out the commands of the Lord. This helped him in leading, protection and providing for the mother and Child entrusted to his care. Joseph is often regarded as an honourable man or a just man but he was equally a man of faith. Think of the faith he had that he responded without hesitation, without question to an angel in a dream on at least two occasions. Joseph shared with Mary this exemplary faith in God, which can be seen to be a great unifying factor in their marriage and family.
Joseph also witnessed Mary's espousal of the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:20-21) and as he would have been made to know, she was the overshadowed of God. Therefore, she could not be entered by man. Like the Ark of God, she could not be touched and therefore Joseph "knew her not" (Mt 1:25). Thus he protected her continued virginity. Joseph, being an honourable man, fulfilled his duty as husband and father and I am sure humbly and joyfully accepted his crosses. Therefore, he is an example to all husbands, fathers and citizens.
At the presentation of Jesus in the Temple Joseph is referred to as Jesus’ father (Lk 2:33) and again at the finding of Jesus in the Temple at age 12 Mary calls Joseph Jesus’s father (Lk 2:48). St. Joseph is the only human being who was called, father, by Jesus. This relationship of fathering to the Eternal Word of God gave Joseph a unique role in God's plan of redemption. We can meditate on this relationship and marvel at the love exchanged between our Lord, the God-man and the creature He called father. Since St. Joseph has this special relationship to Jesus, the Eternal Word of God-made-Man we can see the power of his prompt intercession before the throne of God. His prayers and intercession for us can help us be good fathers, husbands and citizens. So we should never hesitate to implore his intercession. I can witness to several specific blessings I am certain were obtained through his powerful intercession. I also attest to his help generally in my life and in the lives of my children that makes me want to pay homage to this man who is called father to Jesus and husband of Mary.