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The Spouse of Mary

December 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Dan Burke, Meditations: Seasonal, The Prince of Peace


Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou that faith did co-operate with his works : and by works faith was made perfect ? And the scripture was fulfilled, saying : Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God. . . . For even as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” James 2:20-25

DreamOfStJosephAntonRaphaelMengsGoogleArtProject1. The time being now imminent, it was essential that Mary should be given a husband and a protector. Of this, too, the Jews must have been aware; for it was a traditional desire among the maidens of the chosen people that they might perhaps, when married, be selected to be the mother of the Messiah. If, then, one easily discovers types of Our Lady in the Old Testament, we do not wonder that anticipations are found of her spouse, St. Joseph. Thus the faithful servant of Abraham, who brought Rebecca from Mesopotamia and protected her on her way; the faithful guardian Mordecai, who protected Esther, and directed her in her great task of saving her people; these and others would seem to foreshadow the Protector of Mary.

2. But most of all is he seen in his name sake, Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel; and this anticipation would seem to be sanctioned by the Church in the free use made in her office of the story of one for the glory of the other. Joseph the dreamer; Joseph sent into obscurity in Egypt; Joseph unknown and unnoticed, though coming of a noble line; Joseph the spotless virgin, whose purity could not be sullied; Joseph entrusted with the care of a kingdom, so that “Go to Joseph” becomes the cry of hope for a whole people–one asks oneself of which Joseph these things are said, the old or the new, so perfectly does the type correspond with the antitype.

3. In all these foreshadowings there is much that prepares us for the character and elevation of St. Joseph. Of his antecedents Scripture tells us nothing; even the Apocrypha have less to say of him than of the other two; but this is in keeping with the spirit and nature of the man as he reveals himself in his later action. St. Joseph is the man unknown, the man whose selflessness is perfect, the man who has no history of his own, but only lives in others, for others, fulfilling the bidding of God. He is prepared from within, perhaps all unconsciously even to himself, for the great dignity that is designed for him–the husband of Mary, the foster-father and guardian of the Holy Child, the patron of the Universal Church. What that preparation may signify or include we may endeavour to fathom in meditation, but we know we shall never wholly comprehend. Still, these things we can assume; the spouse of Mary will himself be the most innocent of men; the Guardian of Jesus will be perfect in wisdom and prudence; the Patron of the Church will be one filled with zeal for the glory of the House of God.

Summary Meditation Points:

1. An anticipation of St. Joseph would seem to be reasonably seen in the Old Testament, as in the servant of Abraham, Mordecai, etc.

2. Above all is it seen in the other Joseph, of whom so much can be said that is equally said of St. Joseph

3. And for his early life, we have abundant matter for meditation in the silent training of the future trusted servant of God.

Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ (1)Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peac
e” (1913).

Art: The Dream of St. Joseph, Anton Raphael Mengs, 1773-1774, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons. Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J.,, all rights reserved, used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Jeanette

    “Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls – Pray for me. “

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