I had the privilege of hearing this talk by Mark Drogin (Remnant of Israel) in New York last March. I have always loved the image of St Joseph as the Head of the Holy Family, but had not realized the significance of the Betrothal Ceremony. I, as so many, had thought that Mary was 'unwed' when the Incarnation took place.
I also had realized long ago that men today need a positive role model, but now also realize that women and children do, too.
There are two statues by Conrad Schmidt that I want to see someday, which I just love. One is a young family holding their child above them on their shoulders, together (a symbol to me of the need each child has for two parents, married, together, supporting their child). The second one is with a teen- aged Jesus. This one shows that teens also need the support of both parents, together, united, to lift and support them in all ways. (The parents at this stage ALSO need each other, to lift and support....)
Both are in Wisconsin, so I may see them someday.
Mark Drogin speaks of Three Covenantal Marriages, Adam and Eve, Joseph and Mary, and Christ and His Church in this talk. I urge you to read it in its entirety.
From Mark, these words on St Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, Husband of Mary, Earthly Father (Adoptive, Foster) Father of Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
This is what needs to be proclaimed today because the family is under attack.
Joseph is not absent
We need Joseph. Our world needs to hear this truth: Joseph and Mary were joined in true marriage before the Incarnation. What God has joined together, let no man break asunder. Today we celebrate “Joseph, the Husband of Mary.” God entered into this human marriage and blessed it with children. Joseph and Mary became the human parents of Jesus, and now they are the adopted human parents of all who are baptized in Christ.
I heard a homily last month on the Feast of the Presentation by a good Catholic priest teaching sound doctrine. He preached for about 15 minutes and said that Mary presented Jesus in the Temple. It was a good homily, except he never mentioned Joseph.
But images are very powerful. We need the right images. The homily painted the image of a single mother – perhaps an unwed mother. The image of a mother and child has always been a sacred image for Christians. And it is truly a beautiful image. Now it is time to make Joseph known. Without Joseph, the Holy Family would be a single-parent family. Without Joseph, the Blessed Virgin would be an unwed mother.
Salvation is through the Incarnation; and the Incarnation is through the family. It was in the Plan of Divine Providence that this pure Jewish woman would be married to a human husband before she conceived the Messiah.
Joseph was not – and is not – absent. Joseph was present for most (over 90% according to tradition) of Jesus’ life on earth. The Blessed Virgin cared for her Son and is His mother; and Joseph is His human father – in every way except biologically. Joseph taught Jesus, prayed with Jesus, played with Jesus, went on trips with Jesus, chanted the Psalms with Jesus. Joseph gave the gift of self to Mary and Jesus. Mary gave the gift of self to Joseph and Jesus. This is marriage and family life.
How can we convert the culture to be pro-marriage with an image of an unwed mother?
How can we convert the culture to be pro-family with an image of a single parent family?
( And I don’t think Joseph was an old man when Jesus was born. I think we need an image of a young strong husband and father. )