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Joseph and Mary were truly married before the Annunciation

3 min • Digitized on March 20, 2022

#Doctrine #Joseph #Mary

From The Life and Glories of St. Joseph, in file "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph", page 165
By Edward Healy Thompson, M.A.

The winter was now past, and spring was returning to gladden the earth. According to many Doctors of the Church, it was the year 4,000 of the creation of the world and the same season of the year in which God completed that work of His hands.

The 25th of March had come, when the Lord God called to Him the Archangel Gabriel, one of the seven spirits who stand before His throne, the same who had been commissioned to reveal to Daniel the mystery of the seventy weeks.

That great prince of Heaven may, indeed, justly be regarded as the Angel of the Incarnation. His name signifies the Strength of God, a most fitting appellation for one chosen to announce the coming of Him who was to vanquish “the prince of the power of this air,” [Eph. ii. 2.] the great adversary, the devil, and to destroy his works.

And to whom was this glorious messenger sent? “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” [St. Luke i. 27.]

This is the first time that the Evangelist names St. Joseph. By this mention of him he makes known to us the large share which he would have in the glories of Mary; for, if great was the dignity of the Virgin in being the Mother of God, great also was the dignity of Joseph in being the husband of her of whom the Son of God was born.

Nor let the word “espoused” be understood, as by some it has been understood, as if Mary were at that time only promised in marriage, that is, betrothed. No. The nuptials had already been celebrated, according to the true sense of Scripture, a point which has been clearly established by the Holy Fathers and Doctors, and, in particular, by the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas. Thus we find St. Matthew calling Joseph the husband of Mary, and Mary the wife of Joseph. [i. 19, 24.]

It may be remarked also that the term “espoused” is used again by the same Evangelist, St. Luke, on the occasion of the journey to Bethlehem, [ii. 5.] when no possible question could arise as to its signification.

Those who contend that the marriage was not solemnised until after Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, which lasted three months, and Joseph’s discovery of her condition, raise an insuperable difficulty; for how in that case could one of the primary objects of their holy union have been attained, that of shielding the honour of the Blessed Mother of God?

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