St Joseph and May Day

Yesterday was the feast of St Joseph the Worker. It is also traditionally the day when we pray for all those who have or need work.

Being the 1st May we have also entered the Month of the Rosary and Father spoke very well about the need to say the rosary and why people find it so difficult. Perhaps he was talking to me lol!

We went to Mass last night as it was said for the repose of Donna’s soul. We miss her a great deal but I do believe God has shown her His Mercy.

Joseph is a special saint for us, one of the saints of our parish and more personally of our family. As Alistair is into carpentry when he gets the chance St Joe has been part of our family litany of saints for some time.

St Joseph doesn’t get a huge number of Scripture pages. He is the husband of Mary, we are told, and he was a good man who followed the Law. An angel reassured him that he could still marry Mary even when he learned she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

There are two views on this; one that he was shocked that Mary may have been unfaithful to her promise to marry him and so would divorce her for that reason (end the betrothal) and the second one that makes more sense that as a mere mortal man he was terrified and felt utterly unworthy to take the Mother of the Lord as his bride. The angel’s words to him are therefore to give permission for him to marry, not explain what has happened. Surely Mary was sensible enough to have done that already.

From the Proto-Evangelium of James we have the tradition that Joseph was a much older man than Mary. He had, this book tells us, been married before and the brothers of the Lord were his sons from this marriage. Now some scholars believe the brothers were cousins; as both step-brothers and cousins would be (and in Hebrew still are) referred to as “brothers” then you can take your pick.  The Proto Eva dates to the early second century so seems to have a strong likelihood to know something; but it is difficult to know for sure.

The Proto also tells us that Mary was a consecrated Virgin to the Temple. There was a strong history of this and it makes clear her response to Gabriel when she asks how she can have a baby when “she knows not man” as that would mean she wondered if the Angel would ask her to brake her vow. He assures her this is not the case and her Fiat follows.

Joseph marries her as a chaperone to a consecrated virgin.

Once Jesus reaches the age of priesthood (30) and begins His mission we do not hear of St Joseph. We learn from tradition and some private revelation that Joseph had died many years earlier in the presence of his wife and foster son.

Even having step brothers did not mean Jesus broke the Law when he handed his Mother to the care of John while he was on the cross. Only full blood brothers would have had a claim there apparently.

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