Mary and Joseph were probably betrothed by the highest Jewish authorities themselves

February 10, 2022 • 2 min

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 117
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

Seeing, then, that the knitting of this new tie was not only a most important work, but the most important ever as yet transacted in the world, God was pleased to employ in effecting it those persons who occupied the highest position in the Jewish Church.

It is the universal opinion of the Fathers that it was the doctors, priests, and heads of the Synagogue who proposed and brought about this alliance.

St. John Damascene, indeed, asserts that Mary was espoused to Joseph, not merely by the advice, but by the authority of the Synagogue; and that the priests were not content with determining the marriage of the Virgin, nor with selecting her spouse, but esteemed it an honour to conduct her themselves to Joseph, and consign her into his hands.

It is certain, as St. Jerome says, that the priests were not in the habit of charging themselves with the establishment of the maidens confided to them for education in the Temple, but were wont to restore them to their parents at a suitable age, that they might provide for their marriage.

But in this case they acted differently, whether from a particular inspiration, as was the opinion of St. Gregory Nazianzen, or that, the parents of the Blessed Virgin having died during her abode in the Temple (as is generally believed), they considered that it devolved upon them to provide for this holy maiden’s future.

She was a daughter of the house of David, and was, moreover, the heiress of whatever had belonged to Joachim and Anne. In such cases, where the woman represented her family and inherited property, the ancient law was particularly stringent concerning her marriage with a member of her own tribe, in other cases allowing a certain latitude.

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