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Theme of Pope’s general audience: St. Joseph, just man and husband of Mary

December 01, 2021

In his December 1 general audience—the third in a series of Wednesday audiences on St. Joseph—Pope Francis reflected on St. Joseph as a just man and the husband of Mary.

Previous audiences were devoted to St. Joseph and the environment in which he lived (November 17) and St. Joseph and salvation history (November 24).

“In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now reflect on Saint Matthew’s description of Joseph as both “a just man” and as “the husband of Mary”,” Pope Francis said to pilgrims assembled in Paul VI Audience Hall, according to the official Vatican summary of his remarks. “As a devout son of Israel, Joseph willingly submitted to the requirements of the Law and its precepts concerning marriage. Having learned that Mary was already with child, out of love and regard for her Joseph sought to spare her the humiliation of a public separation.”

The summary continued:

Then, in a dream, Joseph learned from an angel that it was right that he should marry Mary, since she had conceived her son by the power of the Holy Spirit. By God’s providence, Joseph came to a deeper understanding of divine justice and its authentic demands.

Joseph and Mary’s openness to God’s saving plan brings their love to a maturity expressed in the virtues of chastity, fidelity, respect and humility. Far from restricting our freedom, these virtues in fact give our love direction and endurance.

In this sense, Joseph and Mary can serve as an example not only to young people engaged to be married, but to all of us, who also in the midst of life’s inevitable challenges, are called to discover the true joy and freedom that come from trusting in God’s just and providential concern for our lives.

 


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