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St Joseph’s Paternal Love
Fr. Urban Snyder

Posted on 03/12/2005 1:33:40 PM PST by Grey Ghost II

St Joseph’s Paternal Love

by Fr. Urban Snyder (RIP)

St. Joseph, virginal husband of the Mother of God and head of the Holy Family, lived the last three decades of his life in the intimate company of Jesus and Mary. If you should happen to visit Nazareth in Galilee, you can still see the cave which, according to tradition, was part of his home and workshop. Now, we know that Jesus died at Jerusalem, and His tomb we know. We know that Mary lived her last years in solitude and contemplation on a mountain near Ephesus, in modern Turkey. (The house has been rebuilt on its original foundations, and you may visit and pray there, attend Mass, and drink from a spring nearby.) Our Lady is generally believed to have fallen asleep at this place and to have been laid in a tomb close by; but this is disputed by those who hold that before dying she returned to Jerusalem. A tomb said to be hers is shown in an Orthodox Church at the base of the Garden of Gethsemane.

But St. Joseph – did he die in the little home of Nazareth? Most probably. His Tomb? That’s a mystery. No place is known to have ever been claimed for him, and this has given rise to various speculations. One is that Providence has reserved the discovery of Joseph’s tomb for the last days, the time of the “great tribulation” – which may not be far away! It is thought that discovery of Joseph’s tomb would be, in the plan of God, the occasion of a new and greater devotion to the holy patriarch, who thus far has never been sufficiently honored or invoked. He would then emerge in his full power and grandeur as father and protector of the Mystical Christ on earth, which means the Church and each of its members.

Be that as it may, no one need wait for the discovery of Joseph’s tomb to act on the belief that, after the Mother of God, we have no other patron in Heaven as great and loving and powerful as he. His mediation, like Mary’s, is universal in every sense; i.e., it extends to absolutely every need of body and soul for each individual Christian. As she is mother of the whole Christ, Head and members, so he is the virginal father of the whole Christ, Head and members.

I have translated from the French a marvelous exposition of the virginal paternity of St. Joseph by the great Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux in France (+1704). He explains how the vocation of St. Joseph required that God the Father should give to him a share in His own divine and paternal love for Jesus, so that Joseph would love Him as if he were the natural father – or rather, with a much greater and more perfect love, nothing less than a unique participation in the eternal Father’s own love for His divine Son. This is a mystery surpassing all understanding, but it should fill our breasts with the deepest love and veneration for St. Joseph, and confidence in him, since as members of Christ he loves us too.

Bossuet brings out the fact that Joseph was nothing less than the visible stand-in on earth, as it were, for “the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all paternity in heaven and on earth is named.” (EPH, 3.15-16) Put that way, one begins to see how St. Joseph’s fatherhood approaches, though on a lower lever, the dignity and greatness of the Mother of God. And as her motherhood extends to every one of her Son’s members, so does Joseph’s paternity. He knows and loves each one of us, with the most loving and solicitous father’s heart that was ever created.

Parents! You have problems in the family! Well, St. Joseph had them, too; more agonizing problems than yours. His first problem was with Mary, when he came to realize that she was pregnant…Are you anxious and fearful for your children, growing up in a sick, pagan, sadistic world? Go to Joseph! He had to fly into pagan and idolatrous Egypt with Mary and the child, in order to save them from sadistic Herod. Arrived there, he was homeless, jobless, poor and probably did not speak the language of the country. Do you perhaps have a prodigal or two among your children, maybe even one who ran away? Go to Joseph! The child Jesus slipped away from him and Mary at the age of twelve – He was not yet even a teenager!

Perhaps you are concerned about your own salvation, about chronic faults and habits of sin – about neglect of prayer, or seemingly no time for it; about lack of taste for spiritual things; or too much attachment to the flesh, or to the things of this world. Go to Joseph! It is true that he was himself sinless, but, living thirty years in the daily company of the Son of God and His immaculate Mother, he attained more than any other saint a profound insight into the tragedy of not knowing God, and the misery of sin and attachment to the things of this world. His share in God’s paternal love for human souls fills him with the deepest possible compassion and tenderness for sinners who turn to him for aid. And he knows the best remedies, but he can obtain them for us from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who loved and obeyed him on earth.

St. Joseph is the patron of a good Christian end, of a holy and blessed death. But his title of “patron of a holy death” means above all patron of death to self. A good Christian, like the saints, must endeavor to “die daily” to himself, after the manner of the saints. Even as it is written, “For thy sake we are put to death all the day long. We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.” St. Joseph, totally self-effacing, totally devoted to the service of Jesus and Mary, is above all the patron of this kind of death, which leads to a holy and peaceful physical death like his, in the arms of Love.

I turn you over now to the Bishop of Meaux, hoping that you will read him with prayerful reflection, for his thoughts are sometimes profound, though always beautiful.

Bossuet: Joseph’s Paternal Love for Jesus

Jesus, the divine Child on whom Joseph always had his eyes and the lovable subject of his holy anxiety, was born an orphan: He had no earthly father…True, He had one in Heaven; but if you consider how His heavenly Father abandons Him, it would almost seem that this Father knows Him no longer. Jesus will complain of that one day on the Cross when, calling Him His God and not His Father, He will say: ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ What He said in dying, however, he could just as well have said when born, seeing that from the first moment His Father exposes Him to persecution and injuries.

The only thing the Father does in favor of His only-begotten son – as far as we can see – is to put Him under the guardianship of a mortal man, who oversees His painful childhood. Joseph is chosen for this ministry.

What will this holy man do in this situation? Who can describe his joy in receiving this Abandoned One, and offering himself to be the father of the Orphan? From that moment he lives solely for Jesus Christ, with no concern whatever for himself. He assumes towards this divine Child the heart and sentiments of a father, becoming thus in effect what he was not in the flesh.

In order to convince you of the truth of so great a mystery and show you how great a thing this was for Joseph, I must demonstrate it from the Scriptures.

I will begin with a beautiful reflection from a homily of St. John Chrysostom’s. He notes that everywhere in the Gospel Joseph appears as a father. It is Joseph who imposes the name of Jesus, according to the custom which gave this right to the father. It is he alone whom the angel warns concerning the various dangers to the Child; and it is he who announces to Mary and the Child when they must return home. Jesus reveres him and obeys him. It is Joseph as head of the family who directs His whole conduct. So everywhere we see Joseph in the role of father. How to explain this. It is, says St Chrysostom, a counsel, a decree of God, giving to the great St. Joseph “everything proper to a father except what would spoil virginity.”

I am not sure whether I understand well the full force of this thought, but if I am not mistaken, here is what the great doctor (St. Chrysostom) means to say: In the first place, let us take for certain that it is holy virginity which prevents the Son of God, in becoming man, from choosing a human father. In fact, when Jesus Christ came on earth in order to be like men, and wished to have a mother, He surely, for the same reason of likeness, should not have refused to have a father, just as you and I did, and thus He would be united to our nature by yet another link. But holy virginity stood in the way, because the prophets had promised that one day the Saviour would make virginity fruitful. Since therefore He had to be born of a virgin mother, He could have only God for His Father. So it is virginity which impedes the physical paternity of Joseph. Can it impede, however, to the point where Joseph would have no part at all, and where he would be without any quality of a father? By no means, says St. Chrysostom, because holy virginity is opposed only to those qualities which would wound it. Who does not know that in the name of father there are contained things which do not shock modesty, which it can claim for its own? Solicitude, tenderness, affection for that Child – do they wound virginity? See then the secret of God, and the arrangement He contrives in this opposition between the paternity of Joseph and virginal purity. God shares the paternity, and He wishes virginity to share it. ‘Holy purity’, He says, ‘your rights will be preserved. There is something in the name of father which virginity cannot tolerate: this you will not have. O Joseph. But everything else in the name of father which does not spoil virginity, this I give you.’ It follows that Mary will not conceive of Joseph, because virginity would be wounded, but Joseph will share with Mary her cares, her watchfulness, her anxieties in the rearing of this divine Child; and Joseph will feel for Jesus by a natural movement, as it were, all those sweet emotions, all the tender preoccupations of a father’s heart.

But perhaps you will ask, where will he get this paternal heart, if not from nature? Can such natural movements be acquired, at will? If Joseph is not a father, how can he have a father’s love? We must be careful here to understand that divine omnipotence is at work. It is by divine power that Joseph has a father’s heart. If nature doesn’t give it, the hand of God gives it to him directly. This same hand that formed individually all men’s hearts is the one which put a father’s heart in Joseph and a son’s heart in Jesus. That is why Jesus obeys, and Joseph does not hesitate to command. And where does he get the boldness to command his Creator? He has it because the true Father of Jesus Christ, that God who begets Him from all eternity, and who chose Joseph to act as father to His only-begotten Son on earth, has caused a certain ray or spark of His own infinite love for His Son to flow into the heart of Joseph. This is what changes his heart, this is what gives him a father’s love; so much so that the just Joseph, who feels within himself a paternal heart formed directly by God’s hand, realizes too that God wills him to act with paternal authority. Thus he indeed dares to command Him whom he recognizes as his Master.

This being granted, is it necessary that I explain to you the fidelity of Joseph as watching over his sacred trust? It would not be necessary, were it not important that you should not lose the benefit of so precious an example. We must learn by the continual trials of St. Joseph from the time that Jesus Christ was first placed in his care, that we cannot preserve a like fidelity without pain, and that in order to be faithful to God’s graces, we must be prepared to suffer. Yes, absolutely! Wherever Jesus enters, His Cross enters with Him. He brings with Him all His thorns, and shares them with those whom He loves. Joseph and Mary were poor, but still not without a home; they had a place to live. But as soon as this Infant comes into the world, they could not find a house, and their shelter is a stable. Who brings them this disgrace, if not He of whom it is written: ‘He came unto his own and his own received him not’, and, ‘The foxes have dens, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’ But is not their indigence enough for His parents? Why does He draw persecutions on them? They live together in their little household, poor, but with sweetness, surmounting their poverty by patience and assiduous work. Yet Jesus does not allow them this repose. He only came into the world to try them, and He brings all the misfortunes with Himself.

Herod cannot stand for this child to live. The lowliness of His birth does not suffice to hide Him from the jealousy of that tyrant. In fact, the very heavens betray the secret, by pointing out Jesus Christ with a star. It seems He brings adorers from afar only in order to stir up a heartless persecution in His own country.

What will St. Joseph do? He is forced to go into Egypt and suffer a distressing exile. Why? Because he has Jesus Christ with him. But can you believe that he ever complained of this burdensome Child, who draws him out of his country and who is given to him in order to make him suffer? On the contrary, do you not see that he considers himself happy to suffer in His company, and the only cause of his displeasure is the danger to the divine Child, dearer to him than himself? But perhaps he has reason to hope for an early end of his trials? No, my friends, he doesn’t expect it. Everywhere misfortunes are predicted. Simeon spoke of strange contradictions that this dear Son must suffer. Joseph sees them beginning already, and so passes his life in continual apprehension of further evils.

Is all this enough to prove his fidelity? Christians, don’t believe it! A greater test is coming! If it is a small thing for men to torment Joseph, Jesus Himself becomes his persecutor, by adroitly escaping from his hands. He eludes his vigilance, and remains lost for three days. What have you done, faithful Joseph? Where is the sacred Treasure which the heavenly Father confided to you? Ah! Who can possibly describe his torments? If thus far you have not understood well the paternity of St. Joseph, then meditate now on his tears, his sorrows, and realize that he is a father. His grief makes it known, and Mary is right to say, ‘Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.’ ‘O my Son,’ she says to the Saviour, ‘I do not fear to call him your father, nor do I mean to speak against the purity of your birth. I speak of his cares and anxieties, and it is because of them that I can say that he is your father. His anxieties are truly paternal. So I say, “Your father and I,” joining him with me, because we are together in the same sorrows.’

TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: catholic; stjoseph
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1 posted on 03/12/2005 1:33:41 PM PST by Grey Ghost II
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To: Grey Ghost II

GG, thanks very much for posting this fine tribute and devotion to St. Joseph.

2 posted on 03/12/2005 2:43:01 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Grey Ghost II
St. Joseph, virginal husband of the Mother of God...

Where did the 'virginal husband' come from? There isn't any reference to whether Joseph was a virginal husband, is there?

3 posted on 03/12/2005 2:44:41 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: HitmanNY

I think there is no good reason to make up things that we really do not know about.

4 posted on 03/12/2005 3:44:58 PM PST by tessalu
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To: tessalu

I agree - calling St Joseph 'virginal' is downright odd. Further, while the virgin birth is mentioned in scripture, I don't think it is ever explicitly referenced that Mary remained a virgin her whole life.

What is with the compulsion to extrapolate this kind of stuff? It's just odd to me.

5 posted on 03/12/2005 3:49:14 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: HitmanNY; tessalu

St. Joseph was not previously married before being espoused to the Blessed Virgin Mary - who remained ever virgin - hence Saint Joseph also.

6 posted on 03/12/2005 4:22:38 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Viva Christo Rey

Is there a scriptural support that Mary was always a virgin?

7 posted on 03/12/2005 4:23:53 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: HitmanNY
Not that I can think of offhand, but there are numerous scriptural passages that state her virginity before her conception of Our Lord Jesus Christ through the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.

There are also numerous citations by Our Lord in the Gospels, by St. Paul in the Epistles, as well as other OT & NT passafes praising virginity as the most desired state if one can keep it.

The Blessed Virgin Mary was also as St. Luke relates in the gopsel of the angelic salutation, "Full of grace", "gratia plena", "kerataow", in the Greek the most emphatic of the three. In other words without the stain of original sin, being preserved from the moment of her conception by the foreshadowing of the Redemptive Sacrifce of her Divine Son. Therefore the concupiscence of the flesh and spirit that afflicts the rest of us had no hold at all on her and she was the most chaste and perfect tabernacle to safeguard the Most Precious and Holy Son of the Father.

What amkes you think, after all of that, that the Father would ever permit the Holy Tabernacle of Mary to be corrupted or tainted in any way???

Attacks against the Blessed Virgin Mary in this regard become direct blasphemies on God the Almighty Father.

8 posted on 03/12/2005 4:47:21 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Viva Christo Rey

Not an attack, not at all.

But I don't see how her having a sexual relationship with her loving husband is somehow corrupting her in any way.

And aren't there ambiguous scriptural reference(s) to siblings of Jesus, too?

I am a practicing catholic, and honor Mary, and accept both her Immaculate Conception and the virgin birth. That being said, I don't see why any of that inexorably leads to a conclusion that she remained a virgin after the virgin birth.

9 posted on 03/12/2005 5:01:31 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: Viva Christo Rey
Luke 1, 26-35:

26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.

33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

10 posted on 03/12/2005 5:09:53 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: HitmanNY
But I don't see how her having a sexual relationship with her loving husband is somehow corrupting her in any way.

OK, bear with me as I post scriptual references to virginity as being the more perfect state. The implication being that if it is for the rest of us, it was most certainly for the Blessed Mother.

And aren't there ambiguous scriptural reference(s) to siblings of Jesus, too?

Aramaic uses the eqivalent of "kin" and apllies it to cousins as well as siblings. These are the references you mean, as to the Apsotle St. James the Lesser, the cousin of Christ, who later became the first bishop of Jerusalem.

As for Catholic practice, the ancient prayer of the Confiteor" "I confess, to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel,...."

Don't you think, even as just a practical matter, that subsequent marital relations would cause the supernatural origin of Christ to be questioned?

11 posted on 03/12/2005 5:20:16 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Viva Christo Rey

As far at the Catholic prayer goes, they represent church beliefs. Like I said, I don't doubt that church organizations came adhere to beliefs (some that have dubious scriptural backing).

So for me, I still don't see any explict scriptural reference to Mary remaining a lifelong virgin, and extrapolating other references to that situation is dubious at best - there is explict scriptural reference to being fruitful and multiplying, as well as establishing a carnal relationship with a spouse - to me, that's not notably corrupting.

12 posted on 03/12/2005 5:24:37 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: Viva Christo Rey
Isaias vii, 14: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Jeremias xxxi, 22: How long wilt thou be dissolute in deliciousness, O wandering daughter? [i.e. Israel] for the Lord hath created a new thing upon the earth: A WOMAN SHALL COMPASS A MAN.

Matthew 1, 18-25:

18 Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost.

19 Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately.

20 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.

21 And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:

23 Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 And Joseph rising up from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and took unto him his wife.

25 And he knew her not till she brought forth her first born son: and he called his name Jesus.

{Nothing implied about aftwerwards by this in the least. Virginity references next.}

13 posted on 03/12/2005 5:33:31 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Viva Christo Rey
Virginity as the most preferred state:

Its observance possible:

Matthew 19, 10-12:

10 His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry.

11 Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given.

12 For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mothers womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.

When vowed to be kept:

1 Timothy v, 11-12:

11 But the younger widows avoid. For when they have grown wanton in Christ, they will marry:

12 Having damnation, because they have made void their first faith.

Virginity, its excellence:

1 Corinthians, vii, 7-8, 17, 25-27, 32-34, 37-40:

7 For I would that all men were even as myself. But every one hath his proper gift from God: one after this manner, and another after that.

8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I.

17 But as the Lord hath distributed to every one, as God hath called every one: so let him walk. And so in all churches I teach.

25 Now, concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give counsel, as having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful.

26 I think therefore that this is good for the present necessity: that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.

32 But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord: how he may please God.

33 But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the world: how he may please his wife. And he is divided.

34 And the unmarried woman and the virgin thinketh on the things of the Lord: that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the things of the world: how she may please her husband.

37 For he that hath determined, being steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but having power of his own will: and hath judged this in his heart, to keep his virgin, doth well.

38 Therefore both he that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well: and he that giveth her not doth better.

39 A woman is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth: but if her husband die, she is at liberty. Let her marry to whom she will: only in the Lord.

40 But more blessed shall she be, if she so remain, according to my counsel. And I think that I also have the spirit of God.

Apocalypse xiv, 3-5::

3 And they sung as it were a new canticle, before the throne and before the four living creatures and the ancients: and no man could say the canticle, but those hundred forty-four thousand who were purchased from the earth. 4 These are they who were not defiled with women: for they are virgins. These follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among men, the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

5 And in their mouth there was found no lie: for they are without spot before the throne of God.

14 posted on 03/12/2005 5:59:19 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: HitmanNY
Like I said, I don't doubt that church organizations came adhere to beliefs (some that have dubious scriptural backing).

John xx, 30: Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

John xxi, 25: 25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did which, if they were written every one, the world itself. I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.

2 Thessalonians, ii, 14 Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

The Church gave us the Bible, not vice versa.

Sacred Tradition gave us Sacred Tradition, not vice versa.

The various writings of the Old and New Testamenta were not compiled together except through the labors of Saint Jerome and the inspired declaration of the Church, in Council, as to the authenticity of each item - well over 300 years after each of the Gospels were written, as well as of the Resurrection of Our Lord.

15 posted on 03/12/2005 6:13:07 PM PST by Viva Christo Rey
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To: Viva Christo Rey
I agree, and I still look for a scriptural reference before I look for a religious cultural reference.
16 posted on 03/12/2005 6:19:05 PM PST by HitmanLV
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To: Grey Ghost II
Thank you, GG, for posting this tribute to St. Joseph today.

Ironically, I was reading from Mary Agreda's "Mystical City of God" and some of the mentionings of him in several of the chapters. Not a whole lot is written about him in scripture, especially around the time of his death. Unfortunately, I haven't known much about him, up until what I've read today (including this article).

We owe much to St. Joseph, I'm beginning to understand. Thanks again.

17 posted on 03/12/2005 7:16:09 PM PST by kstewskis ("Tolerance is what happens when one loses their principles"....Fr. A Saenz.)
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To: Grey Ghost II; Happygal
According to Irish tradition, when the Angel told St. Joesph that he would have to take the Holy Infant and his Mother and flee to Egypt. St. Joesph then went to tell the dogs that had came from all over the world to guard man's Salvation; "Fellows, I must take the Holy Family and and go to Egypt. There will no place where I can buy food or water, so I cannot take any of you. King Herod will have spies everywhere".
Finally a little Chihuahua named Rocky who had come from the Americas with his wife Pearl spoke up; "Hey senor Joseph, take us. We're small dogs and don't eat much, you must sleep sometime hombre".
St. Joesph reached down and picked them up, Rocky in his right hand and Pearl in the left. He noted these dogs had large bulging eyes to see in any direction. Their ears he noted were large and stood up, making it easy for them to hear the approach of an intruder. He knew that God would never give him a task he could not accomplish.
"Very well", he said, "you two may come along".
Now upon hearing this, a wee Barra Terrier (known to you Yanks as a Yorkshire Terrier) who had the name of Opus McMangus spoke up; "Take me too Joesph, I'm small and don't eat much either".
And Joesph, always the kind gentleman that he was, knelt down and spoke to Opus.
"Yes, a fine brave dog are too, but with that long hair, you'll roast in the desert, you must remain here with the others".
Now Opus wasn't one to take lightly to this, him being part of Clan McNeil, thought to himself, 'I'll just get someone to shave me, then I can go with the Prince of Peace to Egypt". With that he set off to the village dump to find something stinky to roll in.
So now when you see a dog rolling about, on his back, in something foul smelling, you know he'll be playing the part of Opus McMangus: * In the Christmas Pageant * Held in every field & every farm * and every attic and every barn * to Remember the Night when Holiness came to earth.
18 posted on 03/12/2005 8:41:57 PM PST by investigateworld (Another California Refugee in Oregon)
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To: HitmanNY

Hitman... if you want scriptural reference go to Genesis when God promises a Savior to Adam and Eve:

"I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." ... "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughter.." Canticles ii, 2, etc, this is why the lily is the symbol of purity, virginity, chastity.

Also, Exodus, where God appears to Moses in the burning bush, and there are many others verses in the old testament, expecially in the Song of Songs, which the Church, the sole interpreter of Scripture has attributed to Mary since the very beginning... you can see this in the writitngs of the Early Church Fathers: St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ambrose etc.. and these interpretation cannot be considered "religious cultural reference."

But also, look at the Angels, virginity (chastity) is called the angelical virtue, it makes sense that Mary, the Mother of God, has to surpass the Angels in this virtue. Mary, the Mother of God, MUST be the example of ALL virtues for Angels and men. This is WHY God did not take Her virginity when He asked Her to be the Mother of Her Son, otherwise, St. Joseph could have well been the carnal/biological Father of Jesus.

When Mary said to the Angel, "How will this be, since I know not man..," the Church (St. Jerome) interpretes it to mean that Mary said this because She was not going to know any other man, and there was no way She would even know any man: that is why She asks "how will this be.." because She was going to get married to St. Joseph, and sexual relations are expected in every single marriage.. it would n ot make sense that She would ask this questions, then. ALso, after the Angel explained to Her how it would come to happen, She said, "Let it be done to me according to thy word," Meaning that the only way She would give birth to a child would be the way the Angel told Her, and not any other way. Remember also, that God punished Zachariah for asking the angel how his wife would give birth since they were both old because it meant that he doubted, BUT when Mary ASKED, She was not punished, the Angel explained to Her how it would come to pass, and it was not a sign of doubt, but of prudence because, it is the Catholic beleif, that She had already vowed Her Virginity to God, and that She would forst renounce to be the Mother of God, than to break Her vow of Virginity.. according to the Church and the Church Fathers. And of course, it was God Who inspired Mary to make that vow of virginity to Him, so He was not going to make Her break that vow.

As i said before, there are many other biblical passages in the Old Testament that are applied to Mary, but I do not have time right now to post them all. Just remember the care God took to make sure that the old Ark of the Covenant was the best that there could be, how not just any one was allowed to touch it, and how, from the very beginning there has been no doubt in the Christian mind, that Mary remained a Virgin.. of course that is until martin luther came along, but even he believed Mary's Perpetual Virginity before his revolt.

Also, we know that Jesus is called the firstborn of Mary, because well, He was the first Son She had, but if She had others, where were they when Jesus "got lost" at the age of 12? And most importantly, Why did Jesus leave Mary to "His brothers" instead of to St. John the Evangelist? It was the custom that sons had to take care of their mothers.

Above all, you have to remember that the New Testament, was to teach, mainly, about Jesus, not Mary.. and this not because Mary's role is not important, but people had to know about Jesus in order to believe.

And then.. there is this verse (from Mary's Magnificat): "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name..."

What were these "great things" the Lord made for Her? Also, the fuller one is to God, the lesser we resemble the ways of men. Purity, Chastity, and Virginity are the most difficult virtues to practice... there have been many, many Saints who have in imitation of Mary, why would Mary Herself not practice it?

19 posted on 03/13/2005 8:41:01 AM PST by latinmass1983 (Qualis vita, finis ita)
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To: latinmass1983

While everything you say is valid, they are reasons she is a virgin at conception and at birth.

They are not compelling reasons why she would inexorably and necessarily be a virgin afterwards.

Your extrapolation leads to conjecture that is untenebale - you can't point to one direct scriptural reference that Mary always remained a virgin after the birth. No one can.

20 posted on 03/13/2005 10:11:01 AM PST by HitmanLV
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