Holy spouses

by | Jan 13, 2024 | Across the Ages

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in the Heavens, and on the earth, and below the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11)


December ended with the celebration of the Holy Family and January began by celebrating Mary’s role as mother of God. January is also the month of the Holy Name of Jesus. His holiness bears from His Divine Sonship. However, His human nature also comes from holy ‘stock’. Both Mary and Joseph’s lineage was of the house and family of King David. This indicates direct lineage. Mary provided Jesus with His royal human nature. Joseph provided His royal status legally under the law of Moses. Some scholars also believe that Jacob (Joseph’s father) and Joaquim (Mary’s father) were brothers! 

When Mary was 3, the age of being weaned, Joachim and Ann presented her to the temple in service of God. Around age 14 she would be released from the temple into marriage. Our tradition tells us that the priests of the temple summoned all of the unmarried men of the house of David. The high priest collected their staffs to place on the altar of the Lord, having been told by an angel that the staff of the husband of Mary would blossom and a dove alight on his head. None blossomed. Then they collected Joseph’s staff from which a lily blossomed and a dove flew onto his head. Thus, Joseph was selected as the husband for Mary. 

Matthew’s gospel confirms for us that, at the time of Christ’s holy conception, Mary was espoused (kiddushin) to Joseph but their marriage was not yet consummated (nisuin). In their tradition, after the espousal the husband had up to a year to prepare a home for his new wife. But they were indeed husband and wife at the espousal. It is also believed that both Mary and Joseph had (before becoming espoused) taken a vow of virginity for the Lord. 

There is much to ponder in this union of husband and wife: God our Father gave Joseph His daughter, His Son gives Joseph charge over her and Himself, and the Holy Spirit through the angel instructed Joseph. It can be assured Joseph was the most trusted man on earth! St. Teresa of Avila, in the book of her life, declares that because Jesus was under Joseph’s charge while on earth, now in Heaven He listens to all of Joseph’s petitions. And of course, we know Jesus listens to our Queen Mother too. The Holy Family is not only the model for all families, the Holy Spouses are the greatest intercessors for them. 

Which brings us to the feast of the espousals of Mary and Joseph on January 23. There seems to be no better way to start the New Year than to place your trust and prayers into the hands of this holy couple! If your home has been enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, consider renewing your consecration on this day. You can also pray a novena together starting this Sunday, January 14 and ending on Monday, January 22. The Latin word ‘novena’ means nine, and a novena is any prayer that is prayed daily for nine days. You can use any prayer or litany to Mary and Joseph, or a prayer that is specific for spouses

Let this month be the beginning of a new tradition for your marriage by embracing Joseph and Mary as your friends, guides, and mentors. All for the greater glory of God 😊


Lord Jesus, grant that I and my spouse may have a true and understanding love for each other. Grant that we may both be filled with faith and trust. Give us the grace to live with each other in peace and harmony. 

May we always bear with one another’s weaknesses and grow from each other’s strengths. Help us to forgive one another’s failings and grant us patience, kindness, cheerfulness and the spirit of placing the well-being of one another ahead of self.

 May the love that brought us together grow and mature with each passing year. Bring us both ever closer to You through our love for each other. Let our love grow to perfection. Amen.


(Image from Pexels.com)

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