March 8th — St. Joseph’s First Sorrow.
8th day. — St. Joseph’s First Sorrow.
1. St. Joseph’s life had been from the beginning one of many trials and much suffering, but all were mere trifles compared with the dark cloud of sorrow that fell upon him after Mary returned from the house of Elizabeth. He could not help seeing that she was about to become a mother. What could this mean? How could it be explained consistently with her spotless purity? St. Joseph ventured not to pass any judgment. Here he is our model, slow in believing that which had the appearance of evil, anxious to find a favorable explanation.
2. What explanation could he find? That she had sinned was a thought not only abhorrent to him, but utterly impossible in view of Mary’s transparent purity and exalted virtue. Away with so horrible a thought! Could the human paternity have been without any fault on her part? Equally impossible; God would have protected His hand-maid. Was her condition a miracle wrought by God? Such a miracle was without example since the world began. Joseph was utterly perplexed. All was dark and black; he could only wait and pray. O wise resolve!
3. But it was necessary to take action. In no case could he keep her with him. She must be sent back to her friends. How could he live without her? How could he expose her to disgrace? To put her to open shame was out of the question; he must send her away privately. This was his duty and he would do it. It would break his heart to lose her, but he must do his duty without thought of self. Here, too, St. Joseph is a model to us.
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