She Will Bear a Son | iPray with the Gospel (The Fourth Sunday of Advent)
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
O, poor Joseph, my father and lord! What an agony for a heart like yours that loved so much! Your beloved wife, Mary, that wonderful creature who accepted your hand in marriage… O, how blessed you felt not so long ago when telling your family and friends that the daughter of Joaquim and Anne, the most beautiful, lovely, sensible, virtuous maiden in Nazareth was going to become your wife! O Joseph…how would you walk with your betrothed through the streets, your neighbours staring at you in awe; Mary radiant and you, Joseph, brimming with joy.
No man has loved his wife as you, Joseph, loved Mary. No man can understand the pain of your heart ripped apart at the news that Mary was expecting…and it was not your son! No man can understand the depth of your anguish, but God can. Because God knew that in the whole of creation only one man – one man alone! – could cope with this torment, and it was you, Joseph, son of David. The one who loves more can endure more suffering.
It was all a mystery for you, Joseph, since God still hadn’t told you that the son of Mary…was to be your son! He would call you dad and hold your hand, Joseph. He would cry on your shoulder, kiss your face, hug your neck, pull your beard…He would live with you, sing with you, work with you, laugh with you, play with you, pray with you! Joseph: no man has suffered what you suffered, but no one was loved as you were loved by the Son of God, by the Mother of God, by us too. Blessed are you, Joseph; your pain had no equal, but neither your joy! Mary, spouse of Joseph, teach me to love your husband as you do, as Jesus wants me to love His father.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).