Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Elizabeth, Joseph, Marriage

After the Annunciation, much transpired, and we only see glimpses of it in the bible story.  But, we know that Mary was one to take things and ponder them in her heart, and so we can read here how she did ponder and took what was happening very seriously, and very prayerfully.

Read below from Locutions.org about her journey to see her cousin Elizabeth, the dilemma that Joseph faced when he found out that she was pregnant, and about their married life prior to the birth of Jesus.

We know the basic story, but now as Paul Harvey, the radio commentator would say: "Now you know the whole story."  Still, that would be presumptuous of us to think we know the whole story, but we can certainly know more.  So, please read on.
March 26, 2012 
295.Traveling to See Elizabeth 
After Gabriel left, I was alone and able to ponder what had just happened. The miracle had taken place. The Word had become flesh. I was pregnant with the heavenly Father’s Son. I had become the bride of the eternal Holy Spirit. Now, I had to live out this mystery. Where should I go from here? What would be my first steps? 
A New Light 
I found a new light within me. Formerly, this inner light had guided me to perfection and showed me the way to be pleasing to God. Now, this new light would show me how to be God’s mother. All was clear. The angel had revealed God’s miracle to Elizabeth. I would go there and we would rejoice together, each of us sharing what God had done within our wombs, for in both of us there was miraculous life. 
It was not easy to say “goodbye”. How could I explain this decision? All I could say to others was that my heart was set on it. When would I return? I had to say that I did not know. Of course, Joseph was the most difficult of all. He was puzzled. So recently, we had come to our decision. Now, I was leaving Nazareth for far away Judea (90 miles). I knew I had to go, so I set out in haste for the hill country of Judea. 
With Elizabeth 
I was alone on the journey and better able to ponder the events that had overtaken me. Within my womb I carried the Savior of the world. Within my heart, I carried this secret known only to me. As I arrived at Zechariah’s house, Elizabeth broke out into prophetic words, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb”. The Spirit had placed these words on her lips. She went on “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” She knew that I was pregnant with God’s Son. The Lord had given me a companion in my mystery. I was no longer alone in the universe because our hearts were joined by divine revelation. Then, she said those final words, “Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled”. 
Special Memories 
Suddenly, I was back in spirit in Nazareth, at that moment when Gabriel revealed the mystery and when everything had been placed before me. I understood clearly what the angel was saying. However, would I believe that it was true? God flooded my heart with this extraordinary divine light and my mind believed that God wanted to take flesh within me. All that Gabriel had proclaimed in just a few words was God’s invitation. Within I was saying, “I believe. I believe”. My mind did not move to the right or to the left. I did not ponder the consequences. My eyes focused only on the mystery and I repeated those words, “I believe. I believe”. 
As I said those words, my heart rushed to the center of the mystery, drawn by the almighty hand of God. Suddenly, I was there, on the edge of eternity, at the brink of the mystery, ready to fall forever into the arms of the Father. Elizabeth was right, “Blessed are you who believed that the Lord’s words to you would be fulfilled.” 
In her presence, I relived those moments. How many times, God would always lead me back to that scene of divine intimacy. It was so good to be with Zechariah and Elizabeth. They had their own divine mystery, a child leaping in her womb and filling her with the Holy Spirit. 
Comment: Mary continues her personal story, in complete accord with the gospel account. 
March 27, 2012 
296.Joseph’s Dilemma 
On my return to Nazareth, there was the obvious problem.  Joseph, who was puzzled by my sudden leaving, now could see that I had conceived a child.  We did not speak about it.  He just grew silent and withdrew from me.  What else could I expect?  He was a just man and, in his eyes, I had committed adultery.  He, who had thought that I was the purest maiden in the whole world, now saw me as an adulteress and he was the only one who knew that the child was not his. 
God’s Plan 
I saw how God had arranged everything.  He had waited for our betrothal and for all of Nazareth to know of our relationship.  After that, we could have come together as husband and wife.  That was a private decision.  The couple was free to begin their married life whenever they chose.  In the eyes of all at Nazareth, we had come together before I left and now I was three months pregnant.  God had covered over the mystery and hidden if from all.  Joseph, however, was in the middle.We spoke little in those days and my silence only confirmed what he was thinking, that I was pregnant by another man.  I could say nothing.  Heaven had to reveal the mystery.  My words would seem preposterous. 
Waiting in Faith 
So, I waited in faith, my first great trial.  I realized the consequences.  He could have me stoned or he could put me away quietly.  I never doubted Joseph.  I never thought for a moment that he would have me killed (and the Messiah with me).  Joseph belonged to God, and now I saw why God had chosen him.  Another man, less sensitive to the divine, would have acted in haste and in anger.  Joseph moved slowly and in grace. 
Joseph’s Decision 
Then came the moment.  I will never forget those words, “I have come to take you into my home.  Let us begin our married life as we had agreed”. As yet, I did not know what had happened until he said to me, “I know the fullness of the mystery.  What was conceived in you is from the Holy Spirit.  We will call the child, “Jesus”, for he shall save his people from their sins.”  This was from God.  He had even revealed to Joseph the same name for the child that Gabriel had said. 
He went on, “Mary, you are blessed among women.  You are all pure and all holy, chosen by the Most High God to be his mother and all ages will call you blessed.  I am the protector of the mystery, called by God to be seen as the father of Jesus, for he must come from the House of David.  I will always be faithful to you, knowing that you have believed God’s word and conceived by his power.  Now, let us begin to prepare for his birth like any other couple”. 
The mystery was complete.  By God’s hand, Joseph, also, was now enclosed in this wall of God’s plan and I could look forward to the day I would bring forth this child.  O reader, wait upon God.  Believe in his plans.  Trust that he will arrange everything so you can fulfill his will.  Everything will move toward that goal if you do not get in God’s way. 
Comment:  The full story of God revealing the mystery to Joseph is told in Matthew 1:18-25. 
March 28, 2012 
297.Marriage – As it Was in the Beginning 
So Joseph and I began our married life.  It was a home, filled with marital love but he had no sexual relations with me.  Many would find this impossible.  Many do not believe it, even though it is clearly told in the gospels.  Many would say, “What kind of marriage is this when the couple does not enjoy the bodily oneness that consummates the personal union?” 
Indeed, marriage is a deep personal relationship which, in the natural, is consummated by the physical union of bodies that can bring forth new life.  But the natural does not exhaust the possibilities of human existence.  The natural should open out to the supernatural and to God’s will. 
Putting Aside Bodily Union 
At times, God’s wants the couple to refrain from bodily union.  There are external causes (like physical illness) or internal causes.  For example, the couple believes they are not ready to conceive another child.  So, in every marriage, if it is truly open to the supernatural, there will be times, even periods of time, when the couple would set aside their bodily union. 
Our marriage was even deeper in the supernatural.  God had claimed my body as his own.  God’s Son was living in my womb.  Even before this mystery existed, I had accepted a supernatural call to perpetual virginity.  Joseph, also, had received the call to be my husband and to safeguard my perpetual call.  Our relationship was full and deeply loving, but there was also a unique supernatural aspect which I will try to explain. 
Marriage in the Beginning 
More than any couple, we lived in God’s presence.  Adam and Eve also had lived in this presence and had accepted their male/female relationship as a gift from God.  They had not yet joined their bodies and Eve had not yet conceived or become “the Mother of the Living”.  Yet, they lived in the deepest of love. 
However, when sin came, their supernatural relationship with God was destroyed and their relationship with each other became distorted.  It was never the same.  They could never regain the greatness of their relationship which came from God’s supernatural gifts.  Only by the supernatural was the natural sustained.  When the supernatural was destroyed, an evil entered their relationship which they could not control. 
This is the state of marriage now present in the world.  To regain its greatness, marriage needs the supernatural.  My marriage with Joseph had the fullness of supernatural blessings.  Through us, all generations of spouses can regain the supernatural equilibrium of the original couple. 
Our marriage is a light put upon the lampstand.  Marriage is not primarily a bodily union.  It is a union of persons brought about by God’s supernatural gifts.  The more God’s power and kingdom rule in the marriage, the higher will be their relationship and the fuller will be the sexual life which they enjoy.  The spouses will be equals, with each bringing their gift of masculinity and femininity to the relationship.  Each will complement the other.  By their own power, the couple cannot build a marriage relationship because they carry too much sin and selfishness.  By faith, the supernatural can join them in a way that even their sinfulness cannot destroy.  Do you think a man can love a woman, and vice-versa during their entire life without the power of supernatural love?  This is too much for human love because its strengths are too soon exhausted. 
A Promise 
You married couples who struggle in your relationship, especially in your sexual life, run to Joseph and me.  Come together in prayer and we will gladly share our supernatural gifts so you can begin to enjoy marriage “as it was in the beginning” before sin destroyed what God had planned.  We lived in this supernatural gift to help you to live in a marriage which enjoys natural and supernatural helps. 
Comment:  Mary explains that personal selfishness destroys a relationship.  God’s supernatural gifts are needed to destroy selfishness.

Joseph and Mary did not begin their marriage in a bed of roses.  So, they are much like us in our marriages and relationships in so many ways.  But, we can use the example of their marriage as a guide for us in ours.

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