(From Prayer of the Faithful According to the Maronite Liturgical Year)
Joseph, the spouse of Mary, lived a life of obscurity and devotion to him suffered the same lot during the first centuries of the Church. However, we find that Jerome praises his virginity; John Chrysostom spoke about his sufferings and his joys. It is said that Helen built a church in his honor atThe
and a feast has been celebrated in his memory by the Eastern Churches since the ninth century. Bethlehem
From the day of the announcement of Gabriel to Mary and her Virginal conception, three months had already passed. During this time, Mary kept silent. Although the consequences could have been disastrous to her reputation, she revealed the great mystery to no one, not even Joseph, her betrothed, or her relative, Elizabeth. She trusted in God and knew that he would reveal the great mystery in his own time and in his own way. The Lord did just this.
According to Jewish law, betrothal was equivalent to marriage. Even before cohabitation, if a man desired to leave a woman, he had to give the bride a written divorce. If the groom were to die, the bride was considered to be a widow. If the woman was found guilty of adultery, it was the duty of the man to repudiate her publically (Deuteronomy 22: 10-29; Leviticus 20: 10).
When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he could not understand how something like this could have happened. Mary continued to be modest, kind and compassionate.
describes Joseph's confusion: "Joseph, knowing the chastity of Mary and admiring what happened, hid in a silence the mystery he was unable to understand." Just as Mary respected the mystery, so also did Joseph. However, he decided that it was his duty to send her away in silence, even though he would have to suffer. They would have to separate rather than unveil the mystery. The Holy Family began with this martyrdom of self in the face of God's mystery. Saint Jerome
God intervened in a dream, which Joseph did not doubt as coming from heaven. God told Joseph that Mary was pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. He also gave Joseph his role as the "father" of the family: "Mary will give birth and you will call him Jesus. This child will deliver people from their sins" (Matthew 1: 21). A great responsibility was given to Joseph and, like Mary, he accepted the will of God.Joseph was called to be the humble servant of God, Jesus and Mary. He would do all his duties in silence. He would serve, protect, provide and die before even seeing a miracle. His entire life became one of love, immolation, sacrifice, work and self-effacement. He would take Mary to