Joseph’s Happiness, Mary’s Uniqueness.

© Agnes Sam 2017


St Joseph and the  Virgin Mary have faith. Joseph’s faith is in the messages he receives in his dreams. Mary’s faith is in the message from the Angel at the Annunciation.  They believe that the messages they receive are  from God.


St Joseph and the Virgin Mary are both chosen.  She is a virgin who is expected to marry. Of the men  presented to her family Joseph’s  staff with the lilies signals that he is the one chosen to be her husband. After their betrothal the angel tells Mary she is chosen to be the mother of a child fathered by the Holy Spirit and she will remain a virgin. Mary has faith that this message is from God.


St joseph and the Virgin Mary each have duties. His first duty is to  the Virgin Mary whom he is to marry until he  discovers that she is expecting a child .  His second duty  is to be the earthly father of the child the  Virgin will give birth to and protect the Virgin Mary and the child until their deaths.  The Virgin Mary’s  duties are to the child. She is to bear the child, to nurture him until his death..  Joseph’s foremost duty is to Mary. Mary’s foremost duty is to the child.


St Joseph and the Virgin Mary may not have known the fate of the child.   They receive no messages in dreams or visitations about this . They simply have faith that God has chosen them.


The gospels reveal no indication about when Joseph and Mary marry; why Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth; when she tells her family she is expecting a child; when she tells St Joseph. There is an indication that Joseph discovers Mary is carrying a child and his dreams and the messages in his dreams guide him to begin his protection of her.


Roman Catholics have a willingness to pray to saints to intercede for them to God. They refer to the saints as patron saints. A patron saint may be the name given to them at birth,  a saint they have chosen, or a saint for a category of people. St Joseph is the patron saint for a happy death.


Artists may have depicted St Joseph in bed with Jesus and Mary sitting on either side of him. We are therefore led to believe that this is Joseph’s death. Yet no one is known to have died in Jesus’ presence except on Calvary. Jesus raised people from the dead. But no one died in his presence.


The question is: When does St Joseph die a happy death?


Roman Catholics refer to Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the Holy Family. What did Joseph and Mary know of the future for each of them?  When does the child Jesus realise that He is the Son of God? At the marriage feast of Canaan, Mary and Jesus know that He can change water into wine.  The turning of water into wine is the  first miracle Jesus performs. Joseph and Mary do not require proof because they have faith. But they are the Holy Family and all three will be invited to the wedding.  Joseph should  witness the first miracle performed by Jesus yet he is not mentioned in the gospels.. If the Virgin Mary is at the wedding feast, Joseph will be present with her.


Being the patron saint of a happy death: Will Joseph die a happy death before Jesus the man is crucified? Will Joseph die a happy death before Jesus has assumed his Divinity and Resurrected from the dead?  Will Joseph die a happy death before Jesus has Ascended into Heaven? Will Joseph die a happy death and leave the Virgin Mary a widow? If so, why was Joseph  chosen? His duty is to protect Mary’s  virginity. He cannot die a happy death if his duty to protect the Virgin Mary  is entrusted to someone else.


Is it possible that the Holy Family are not together  at the Last Supper when Jesus institutes the Holy Communion? Is it possible that the Virgin Mary is at the crucifixion and St Joseph is absent? Is it possible that St Joseph is absent from  the locked room after the Resurrection when the Virgin Mary is present and the resurrected Divine Christ appears?


At the crucifixion the Virgin Mary will be shielded from seeing the body of her naked son  on the crucifix and the naked bodies  of the men crucified alongside Jesus on Golgotha. She will be protected from this sight, because she is a woman and a virgin.


The body of Jesus will be  taken from the cross, wrapped in the Shroud, taken down the hill and given to his mother the Virgin Mary and his earthly father, St Joseph.


In several cultures and faiths, continuing  into the millennium, women are forbidden to attend the funeral or burial of anyone who has died a violent death. The crucifixion of Jesus is the most harrowing of deaths. Jesus was also scourged and a crown of thorns was thrust on HIs head.


In many cultures and faiths, even today, women do not prepare the body of a man for burial, and men do not prepare the body of a woman for burial.


The Virgin Mary does not accompany Mary Magdalene to the tomb. Mary Magdalene’s  presence at the tomb may be the source of conflict with St Peter.


The Virgin Mary’s uniqueness is that she has not died.  Everyone in the New Testament who has lived before and after the Virgin Mary has died.  The Virgin Mary’s Assumption into heaven is without her death. She assumes into heaven, body and soul. The Virgin Mary is therefore unique in the New Testament.


The Virgin Mary is the only person who has appeared on earth. Her assumption into heaven may have occurred before her first appearance  on earth.


There are  elements of Roman Catholic faith that are expressed in the Creed and not shared with other religious denominations. The devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is one; the expression ‘the Holy Family’ that pays tribute to  St Joseph is another; the rosary is a third; praying to patron saints for their intercession  is a fourth;  Confession and Holy Communion that is  bread and wine consecrated to become the body and blood of Christ is another. The communion received by other Christian denominations is bread and wine, and not the consecrated Body and Blood of Jesus that Roman Catholics receive at Holy Communion.


St. Joseph is the earthly father of Jesus Christ, and the earthly husband of Mary, St Joseph may die a happy death when his duties to both Mary and Jesus are fulfilled. St Joseph patron of a happy death may die a  happy death after the Resurrection and Ascension, and the  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven.


The information revealed in the documentary by Fr Eamonn Kelly ‘The Man of the Shroud’ shown on EWTN during Holy Week 2017 indicates that Jesus suffered excruciating pain when nails were driven through nerves in His wrist. There may have been very little that Jesus spoke from the cross on Good Friday. The words ‘Mother Behold your Son. Son Behold Your mother’ may possibly be when the Holy Family  meet during the carrying of the cross on Good Friday and they realize Jesus is about to be crucified..


There is a prayer card to St Joseph which is in three parts. Each part is quite distinct. The first part is said by the Catholic who is asking St Joseph for his intercession to God the Father. In this prayer St Joseph is described as ‘the most loving of fathers’.

The second part is said by someone who is observing the infant Jesus asleep in St Joseph’s arms.  What is so unusual here is that except for the birth of Jesus in the stable where St Joseph is depicted by artists, we only see Jesus in the arms of the Virgin Mary. The infant Jesus is often shown with St Anthony and with St Christopher, but never with St Joseph, The person saying this and observing the infant Jesus asleep in St Joseph’s arms is present constantly observing the sleeping baby in St Josephs arms.  Can one dare imagine that this part is said by the Virgin Mary and the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary. and Joseph, are together?

The third part is a legend attached to the first prayer and to the card itself and is a form of protection from several forms of death. The prayer is said to have been found in  the year 50 A.D. and given by the Pope of that time to an Emperor going into battle.  It says that whoever ‘hears this prayer, or says this prayer, will never die from drowning, fire, etc. And that the prayer card should be kept on one, or close to one always.

 ©Agnes Sam 2017