And this was the manner of Christ’s birth. His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, but they had not
yet come together, when she was found to be with child, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon
her husband Joseph (for he was a right-minded man and would not have her put to open shame) was
for sending her away in secret. But hardly had this thought come to his mind, when an angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream, and said,
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take your wife Mary to yourself, for it is by the power of
the Holy Ghost that she has conceived this child; and she will bear a son, whom you shall call
Jesus, for he is to save his people from their sins.
All this was so ordained to fulfil the word which the Lord spoke by his prophet: Behold, the virgin shall
be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel (which means, God with us). And
Joseph awoke from sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, taking his wife to himself;
(Matthew 1; 18-25)
Until the angel appeared, Joseph suffered immensely. His sorrow was as great as his love for the virgin Mary.
The Fathers of the Church comment on this scene in different ways. The interpretation that St. Thomas
Aquinas gives to Joseph's perplexity corresponds to the reality of the situation. He explains: "Joseph wanted to
leave Mary not because he was suspicious but because, out of humility, he was afraid to live beside such great
sanctity. That is why the angel told him, `Do not be afraid'"
Joseph felt that he was nothing compared to the incomprehensible mystery that surrounded Mary. To his great
sorrow, he determined to withdraw discretely. But he received from the angel confirmation that what had
happened to her was God's work and that, besides, he too had a part, a mission, in the mystery: “You shall call
his name Jesus.” In Biblical language this expression meant that he was going to be Jesus' father according to
the law. Knowing this, St. Joseph was filled with the joy of his vocation.
Prayer: O chaste spouse of most holy Mary, glorious St. Joseph: the trouble and anguish in your heart were
great when you were perplexed over sending away your immaculate spouse; yet your joy was immense when
the mystery of the Incarnation was revealed to you by the an- gel.
By this sorrow and this joy we ask you to comfort our souls, now and in the sorrows of our final hour, with the
joy of a good life and a holy death like your own in the company of Jesus and Mary.
Deepen your relationship with and devotion to St. Joseph
Download the free booklet on Devotion to St. Joseph
This Booklet Contains
- The Seven Sundays Devotion to St. Joseph.
- The Litany of St. Joseph.
- Quamquam Pluries: Encyclical letter of His Holiness Leo XIII on the Holy Rosary and the Patronage of St. Joseph.
- Patris Corde: Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father Pope Francis on the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as patron of the universal church.