An answer to a question of why Joseph and Mary would renew their vows of virginity on their marriage night

March 4, 2022 • 2 min

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, page 144
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

But here some doubts may arise. If these two most holy spouses were already confirmed in grace and free from all incentives to evil, which in the one had never existed and in the other had by a singular privilege been extinguished or suppressed; if, albeit conditionally, they had both of them promised God to observe perpetual virginity, what need was there for them to bind themselves anew by an absolute vow to preserve in holy matrimony this unspotted lily of virginity?

Were they inspired by God to do so? We cannot doubt it. For, indeed, they never did anything without diligently taking counsel of God, and God sent His angels to assure them of His good pleasure. If, then, this act was prompted by God, was pleasing to God, was accepted by God, without doubt it was of great advantage to themselves, and of profit to us; not that they feared lest they might fail in their holy resolve unless they bound themselves by this vow—for through divine grace they were already most firm in their determination—but because, being two most holy creatures, emulous of the highest perfection, and aware that the works of perfection are the more acceptable to God and have the greater merit and reward if performed by vow, partaking as they then do of the virtue of religion, they, in order that their virginity might be pleasing to God in the highest degree, resolved to consecrate and give it to Him by an absolute and solemn vow, as in fact they did.

And thus Mary and Joseph, possessing all the graces and gifts of the conjugal state, were by their vow to have at the same time all the privileges and rare excellencies of virginity. It could not be that they should be deprived of this signal glory.

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