On the feast of Saint Joseph the liturgy opens with these words:
“Almighty God, at the dawn of new times You places the mysteries of our salvation in Joseph’s watchful care. May this prayer continue to help your Church to bring these mysteries to their fulfilment”.
All too often, St. Joseph is represented as an old man, old enough to be Mary’s father. There seems to be a desire to destinguish the fact that he was Mary’s husband, and that their marriage was indeed a love-match. This awkwardness arises from an incorrect understanding fo authentic married love.
Marcel Clin, a Marist brother, has written a book called “Joseph, l’homme juste”, which includes a chapter on this subject:
“Mary and Joseph loved each other tenderly. Looking at them, we can see that true love, just as much as true chastity, requires forgetfulness of slef, respect of the other, gift of self and service to others. Nazareth is a school of love – not of disincarnated love, but of a love that is stronger, deeper, truer.
It is a school of love and of transparence – school of charity. It is essential to understand that Mary and Joseph loved eacht other”.
Veronica O’Brien once wrote to her companions in the Legion of Mary:
“For most people, love and sexual activity are inextricably bound together. If the latter cannot be satisfied, they believe that they are denied love; they go through life with hearts and souls deprived of love. But we were created to love; if love does not colour every hour, every moment of our lives, human existence becomes a mere unbalanced parody of life”.
We must offer every person whom God has entrusted to us the tenderness of a mother, a wife, a sister, a bride. The ways in which this tenderness is expressed will vary with circumstances; but the tenderness must be there, underlying everything, ready to show itself in words and in actions, altert to every guiding sign from Divine Providence”.
Source: L.J. Card. Suenens, Dear Saint Joseph, Mechelen, FIAT, 2002.