The Attack on Marriage

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  January 23, 2020   

Mary and Joseph are the exemplars

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Our Lady and St. Joseph were the ideal married couple. Looking at their marriage, we can see just how good and how holy married couples can be.

Of course, the pair are the holiest human beings to ever live, but that doesn't mean we can't emulate them. Despite holding this lofty position, they did have troubles.

One of the first was the inner turmoil St. Joseph felt when seeing his holy wife's visible pregnancy on her return from assisting her cousin St. Elizabeth. He knew he was married to the holiest woman, knowing she was perfect and sinless. Yet, seeing her obviously pregnant, he had difficulty reconciling that with her sinlessness.

Holy Scripture calls St. Joseph "a just man," saying almost nothing else about him. And Joseph, being just, could not merely look at his pregnant wife and say "Oh well!" The law of God demanded he either divorce her or submit her to the temple authorities for trial — meaning she would likely be put to death for adultery.

Like all the great patriarchs, Joseph had to choose: the love of his life or the law of God. He decided "to put her away quietly" and was ready to make arrangements to do so. But when the holy angel appeared to him in a dream, reassuring him that she was pregnant by intervention of the Holy Spirit and she was the bearer of the long-awaited Messiah, all his sorrow melted away and his soul was again at peace.

The marriage of Our Lady and St. Joseph is the remedy for all the marriage problems in our society.

Then, in obedience to the civil authorities, St. Joseph took his wife for a journey toward the end of her pregnancy. As a husband, man and provider for his beloved family he must have felt anxiety at not being able to find a warm and worthy place for his dear wife to give birth.

After the birth of the Messiah, at the order of an angel, he took up his family in the middle of the night and fled with them many miles into Egypt. His job was to protect and provide for Mary and Jesus during this perilous journey.

Our Lady, as the perfect woman and wife, was obedient to her husband. Despite being the Queen of Heaven and earth, she was subject to him just as the infant Redeemer in her arms subjected Himself to them. Joseph lovingly subjected himself to his spouse and foster-child by fulfilling his vocation as husband and father.

The marriage of Our Lady and St. Joseph is the remedy for all the marriage problems in our society. They were humble and obedient to each other in their vocations as husband and wife, setting the example for all married couples. 

More about Mary and St. Joseph's beautiful relationship is found in The Mystical City of God by Ven. Mary of Agreda.

Watch the Church Militant panel discuss Our Lady and St. Joseph as the model for marriage in The Download—The Attack on Marriage.

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