St. Joseph, pray for us!
Let us discover how the Lord informed Saint Joseph of the Divine Mysteries associated with his Spouse’s pregnancy. But, first:
The Sorrow Of Jealousy And The Degree And Extent To Which Saint Joseph Suffered
The sorrow of jealousy keeps such vigilant watch in those that are beset by it, that very often it not only awakens them from sleep, but drives away altogether the refreshment of slumber.
Nobody ever suffered this sorrow in the same degree as Saint Joseph, although,
if he had known the truth, nobody ever had less occasion.
He was endowed with exalted light and knowledge, so that he could penetrate to the abyss of the incalculable sanctity and perfection of his heavenly Spouse.
As the reasons which urged him to resign the possession of such great blessings were inexorable, it naturally followed that the knowledge of what he was to lose should add to the sorrow of parting therefrom.
Hence, what Saint Joseph suffered in this regard exceeds all that ever was endured by any man;
for no one ever equalled him in the loss, and no one could so value and estimate it.
Besides, there was a great difference in the zeal and jealousy of this faithful servant of God and the jealousies of others in like troubles.
For jealousies create in the vehement and ardent lover a great anxiety to preserve and prevent loss of the loved object;
and to this anxiety is naturally added the pain caused by the fear lest the loved one be alienated by others.
This kind of feeling or sorrow is commonly called jealousy.
In those who have disorderly passions, and who, for want of prudence or other virtues, yield to them, it usually causes the different feelings of wrath, fury, envy toward the person loved, or against the rival who impedes the return of love, be it a well-ordered love or not.
Then arise the storms of suspicion and conjecture in the imagination, engendered by these passions;
the tempests of alternate desire and abhorrence;
of loving affection and vain regret.
Thus the irascible and concupiscent faculties are in perpetual strife, without any regard for the demands of reason or prudence;
for this kind of sorrow confounds the understanding, perverts reason, and rejects prudence.
Saint Joseph, pray for me, and my loved ones, so that we may love with purity, prudence and innocence and that we may receive the graces to avoid disordered affections. But not my will but the will of God be done. Amen.
In Saint Joseph this disorder was not infected with all these faults, nor could they find room in him, on account both of his own exalted holiness and that of his Spouse;
for in Her he could find no fault to exasperate him, nor had he any suspicion that Her love had been captured by any one else, against whom or toward whom his envy might be aroused in defense.
The jealousy of Saint Joseph was founded entirely in his own great love for Her, in a certain conditional doubt or suspicion lest his Spouse had not entirely responded to his own love;
for he found no such strong reasons against, as he did for his mistrust.
A greater uncertainty was not necessary in his case in order to cause such vehement sorrows; for in the possession of a spouse, no rival can be tolerated.
Hence, the chaste marital love of our saint, which filled his whole heart, was sufficient to cause in him the most vehement grief at the least appearance of infidelity, or danger of losing this most perfect, most beautiful and delightful object of all his desires and thoughts.
For if love is in possession of such just motives, strong and unbreakable are the bonds and chains with which it captivates the heart and most powerful is the dominion which it exercises; especially when there are no imperfections to weaken it.
Our Queen exhibited nothing which either in the spiritual or in the natural order was calculated to diminish or moderate this love in her holy spouse, but only what tended to blow it into greater flame on many occasions and for many reasons.
Let Us Ponder:
Our Heavenly Queen, the Spouse of Saint Joseph ‘exhibited nothing which either in the spiritual or in the natural order… diminish(ed) or moderate(d)… love in her holy spouse, but only what tended to blow (that love) into greater flame on many occasions and for many reasons.’
Let Us Pray:
Dear Saint Joseph, if I have (or do ever) shed tears in reading about your great love for the most pure and Virgin Mary kindly direct my Guardian Angel (and your’s) to collect these drops and offer them up to the Blessed Virgin Mary so that she may present them, along with a drop of Jesus’ most Precious Blood, to the Heavenly Father for reparation of sins against the Most Blessed Sacrament and for the conversion of poor sinners. But, not my will but the will of God be done. Amen.
Full of this sorrow, which had now become an intolerable pain, Saint Joseph, after saying the prayer… composed himself for a short sleep, assured that he would wake up at the right time to leave his home at midnight, and, as he thought, without the knowledge of his Spouse.
The Heavenly Lady awaited the intervention of God, asking it of Him in most humble prayer.
For She knew that the tribulation of Her troubled spouse had reached such a high point, that the time of God’s merciful assistance must have arrived.
The Most High sent His Archangel Gabriel in order to reveal to him during his sleep the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption in the words recorded in the Gospel.
It might cause some wonder, (and such was caused in me), why the Archangel spoke to Saint Joseph in his sleep and not while awake;
since the mystery was so high, and so difficult to comprehend, especially in the present afflicted and troubled state of his mind;
while this same mystery was made known to others, not while they were asleep, but awake.
Saint Joseph Described
In these operations of course, the last reason is always the Divine Will Itself, just, holy and perfect.
However, as far as I have understood, I will partly mention some other reasons in explanation.
The first reason is, that Saint Joseph was so prudent, filled with such heavenly light, and had such high conception of our most Holy Lady, the Blessed Mary, that it was not necessary to convince him by strong evidence, in order to assure him of Her dignity and of the mysteries of the Incarnation;
for in hearts well-disposed the Divine Inspirations find easy entrance.
The second reason is, because his trouble had its beginning in the senses, namely in seeing with his eyes the pregnancy of his Spouse;
hence it was a just retribution, that they, having given occasion for deception or suspicion, should as it were be deadened or repressed by the privation of the angelic vision.
The third reason is as it were a sequence of this last one:
Saint Joseph although he was guilty of no fault, was under the influence of his affliction and his senses were so to say deadened and incapacitated for the sensible perception and intercourse of the Angel.
Therefore it was befitting, that the Angel deliver this message to him at a time, when the senses, which had been scandalized, were inactive and suspended in their operations.
Thus, the holy man might afterwards, regaining their full use, purify and dispose himself by many acts of virtue for entertaining the operation of the Holy Spirit, which had been entirely interrupted by his troubles.
Hence will be also understood, why God spoke to the ancient Fathers oftener during sleep than happens to the faithful ones of the evangelical law; for in the new law revelation in sleep is less frequent than direct intercourse with Angels, which affords a more efficient mode of communication.
The explanation of this fact is this:
since according to the Divine Ordainment the greatest impediment and obstacle of a more familiar intercourse and converse of the souls with God and His Angels is the commission of sins, even venial sins or even only imperfections, it follows, that, after the Divine Word became man and conversed with mortals, the senses and all our faculties are purified day by day by the sanctifying use of sensible Sacraments, by which men in some degree are spiritualized and elevated, their torpid faculties aroused and made apt for participation in the divine influences.
This blessing we owe in a greater degree to the blood of Christ our Lord than the ancients;
for by its efficiency we are made partakers of His Holiness through the Sacraments, wherein we receive the effects of special graces, and in some of them even a spiritual character, which destines and prepares us for Most High ends.
But whenever the Lord in our times spoke or speaks in sleep, He excludes the operations of the senses, as being unfit and unprepared to enter into the spiritual nuptials of His communications and Divine influences.
Many mortal souls, not to mention ‘learned theologians,’ would reach a higher understanding of the Gospels and of mysterious operations of our Lord by simply meditating and pondering, prayerfully and humbly, upon these explanations and lessons, reprinted here, that were earlier dictated to Mother Mary of Agreda by Our Blessed Virgin Mother.
Let us continue.
The Angel Of The Lord Speaks To Saint Joseph In His Sleep And Makes Known To Him The Mystery Of The Incarnation
It will also appear from this doctrine, that, in order to receive the hidden favor of the Lord, men must not only be free from guilt and possess merits and grace, but that they be also in peace and tranquillity of spirit;
for if the republic of the faculties is in disturbance (as it was in Saint Joseph), the soul is not in a fit condition to receive such exalted and delicate influences as are implied by the visits and the caresses of the Lord.
It is not at all uncommon, that, no matter how much tribulations and afflictions increase the merits of the soul (as were those of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Queen), they nevertheless hinder the Divine Operations.
For in suffering them the soul is involved in a conflict with the powers of darkness, while this kind of blessing consists in the possession of light;
and therefore the vision of darkness, even if only in order to ward it off, is not in harmony with the vision of God or the Angels.
But in the midst of the conflict and the battle of temptations, which may be compared to a dream in the night, the voice of the Lord is nevertheless wont to be heard and perceived through the ministry of the Angels, just as it happened to Saint Joseph.
He heard and understood all that Saint Gabriel said:
that he should not be afraid to remain with his Spouse Mary (Matthew Chapter 1, Verses 20-21: But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost – haec autem eo cogitante ecce angelus Domini in somnis apparuit ei dicens Ioseph fili David noli timere accipere Mariam coniugem tuam quod enim in ea natum est de Spiritu Sancto est. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins – pariet autem filium et vocabis nomen eius Iesum ipse enim salvum faciet populum suum a peccatis eorum.),
because what She bore in Her womb, was the work of the Holy Spirit;
that She would give birth to a Son, who should be called Jesus and Who was to be the Savior of his people;
that in all this should be fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias, who said (Isaias Chapter 7 Verse 14): ‘A Virgin shall conceive and shall bring forth a Son, who was to be called Emmanuel, God with us – virgo concipiet et pariet filium et vocabitis nomen eius Emmanuhel.’
Saint Joseph did not see the Angel by imaginary image,
he heard only the interior voice and he understood the mystery.
The words of the Angle imply, that Saint Joseph had in his mind already resolved to sever his connection with most Holy Mary;
for he was told to receive Her again without fear (‘fear not to take unto thee Mary – noli timere accipere Mariam’).
Saint Joseph awoke with the full consciousness, that his Spouse was the true Mother of God.
Full of joy on account of his good fortune and of his inconceivable happiness, and at the same time deeply moved by sudden sorrow for what he had done, he prostrated himself to the earth and with many other humble, reverential and joyful tokens of his feelings, here performed heroic acts of humiliation and of thanksgiving.
He gave thanks to the Lord for having revealed to him this mystery and for having made him the husband of Her, whom God had chosen for His Mother, notwithstanding that he was not worthy to be even Her slave.
Amid these recognitions and these acts of virtue, the spirit of Saint Joseph remained tranquil and apt for the reception of new influences of the Holy Spirit.
His doubts and anxieties of the past few months had laid in him those deep foundations of humility, which were necessary for one who should be entrusted with the highest mysteries of the Lord;
and the remembrance of his experiences was to him a lesson which lasted all his life.
The holy man began to blame himself alone for all that had happened and broke forth in the following prayer: …
(to be continued…)
From: The Mystical City Of God: The Miracle Of His Omnipotence And The Abyss Of His Grace The Divine History And Life Of The Virgin Mother Of God Our Queen And Our Lady, Most Holy Mary Expiatrix Of The Fault Of Eve And Mediatrix Of Grace – Manifested in these later ages by that Lady to her handmaid Sister Mary of Jesus, Superioress of the convent of the Immaculate Conception of the town of Agreda, of the province of Burgos in Spain, under obedience to the regular observance of the seraphic father Saint Francis for new enlightenment of the world, for rejoicing of the Catholic Church, and encouragement of men (Translation from the Original Authorized Spanish Edition by Fiscar Marison (pen-name used by Reverend George J. Blatter) – Volume 2 – The Incarnation – The Mysteries Of The Life Of The Holy Mother Of God From The Incarnation Of The Divine Word In Her Virginal Womb To The Return Of The Holy Family From Egypt.
Imprimatur: † Edwin V. Byrne, D.D., Archbishop of Santa Fe, 9 February 1949 A.D.