The Foster-Father of God

March 19th is the Feastday of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary and foster-father of Jesus. In 1847, Pope Pius IX proclaimed this holy man "Patron Saint and Protector of the Universal Church."

March 25th is the Feastday of the Annunciation.

"And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 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 1:26- 27

So in the gospel of St. Luke, the only one which narrates the Annunciation, Our Lady is described as "a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph." And yet, few people know how the espousal of Mary and St. Joseph was brought about.

According to the Tradition of the Church, when Mary became of marriageable age, having been brought up in the Temple since the age of three, the priests there selected some possible spouses for her. St. Joseph was one of these chosen men and was present when the priests introduced them to Our Lady. St. Joseph, however had already vowed his virginity to God and was not desirous of any marriage. After witnessing the holiness of this young girl, Joseph, in his humility, deemed himself the least worthy of all present to take her hand in marriage. But the decision was God's, voiced through His priests, and it was neither Mary's nor the men's place to choose who she was to marry.

So the priests prayed to God, begging Him to show His Holy Will to them. Then, they had each man's staff placed, one by one, before the Holy of Holies. When St. Joseph laid his down, the dead wood suddenly burst into blooms of beautiful lilies. This was how God guided the decision of the priests and manifested His Will quite clearly to St. Joseph and Our Lady, both of whom had promised not to get married.

When trying to explain the great blessings and privileges of the Blessed Virgin, the Saints have, in so many words, put it quite simply: If you were God, and could make your own mother, what gift or grace would you leave out?

What if you were God, and could make your own foster-father?

"The children of the world are ignorant regarding the privileges and rights which the Most High has conferred on my holy spouse, and the power of his intercession with the Divine Majesty and with me. But I assure you, my daughter, that in Heaven he is most intimate with the Lord, and has great power to avert the punishment of Divine justice from sinners. In all trials, seek his intercession, because the Heavenly Father will grant whatever my spouse asks."

- Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda