Something for men… Father Leatherby just recently read a book on St. Joseph entitled, The Mystery of St. Joseph by Fr. Marie Dominique Philippe. Though there is not much about him in Sacred Scripture, there is much that can be gleaned from the little that we know. For example, we can infer truths about his relationship with Mary. The author posits that, when we truly love someone, we desire that God’s will be done in their lives. But oftentimes that requires dying to our own selves. What did that mean for Joseph in relation to our Lady? Joseph desired that Mary be his wife. She desired the same and accepted his invitation, but, in order to do so, it was necessary that she reveal to him his offering of herself to God, which Tradition holds that she made at a young age. She had promised God that she would be exclusively His, thus remaining a virgin always. Joseph, understanding that to be God’s will for her life, had to accept that and, thus, consecrate his own virginity to God. Out of love for her, he gave up the possibility of having children. Yet, how beautiful it is that often, when we make the choice to surrender ourselves to God, that’s precisely when He gives us the deepest desires of our hearts. When just surrender the possibility of having children, God gave Him a Son.
Similarly, when Mary revealed to Joseph that she was pregnant, by the Holy Spirit, Joseph sacrificed the possibility of ever being her husband. He was going to divorce her quietly, because He knew that what was taking place in her was beyond him. God was clearly doing something extraordinary in her life, and he didn’t want to interfere with that. He thought that it must be necessary for Him to step aside, so that God could fulfill His will in her life. Only then does the angel tell him that Mary is to be his spouse, even though she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit, again granting the desire of his heart after he had surrendered it. Let us ask that God’s will be accomplished in the lives of those we love, and pray that we may die to ourselves so that may be accomplished.