More reasons it was fitting that Mary and Joseph should be both married and virgins

March 7, 2022 • 3 min

#Mary #Joseph #Marriage #Virginity

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, page 148
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

It may be further asked, if Jesus, who was essential purity, willed to be born of a virgin, why did He will that she should also be married?

This question has also been fully treated by St. Thomas, who has given many reasons. Some of these have already been indicated by anticipation.

Jesus, when born into the world, must be born according to the appearances of the world. His genealogy from Abraham, Juda, and David must also be clearly established; and a genealogy with the Hebrews was always traced on the father’s side, the mother’s, indeed, being (generally speaking) of the same descent and tribe; wherefore St. Jerome says that Jesus was conceived of a married virgin, in order that by Joseph’s origin Mary’s might be proved.

It was also needful to hide the mystery from the profane, and also from the devil; against this adversary Jesus had a shield in Joseph; for, if Satan had discovered his vanquisher in the Babe of Bethlehem, he would at once have begun to wage fierce war against Him.

Again, it was needful (as already observed) to guard Mary from dishonouring imputations on the part of those who were ignorant of the mystery, and from the penalties of the law, as also in order that she should be protected, maintained, supported, and consoled in toils and sufferings, especially during the flight into Egypt.

To these reasons it must be added that in Joseph she would have an additional and unimpeachable witness that Jesus was conceived without an earthly father, and by the sole power of the Holy Ghost; and more credit would be given to her own declaration of her virginity, because, as St. Ambrose observes, if a virgin who is unmarried becomes a mother, it will certainly be assumed that in affirming her virginity she lies; but a married woman in such case has no inducement to lie, since it is in the order of nature that a married woman should have children.

A mystical reason may also be given for this holy marriage; for the virgin espoused to the most pure Joseph was to be the type and figure of the Church, who was espoused as a virgin to a virginal Spouse, that is, to Jesus Christ, as St. Augustine says.

Finally, in the person of Mary and Joseph the virginal and conjugal states were severally approved, sanctified, and glorified against ancient and modern heretics, who have furiously assaulted both the vows of virginity and the sacrament of matrimony.

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