Saturday, December 19, 2009


A dark cloud had brought trouble into the tranquil life of Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth who was betrothed to Mary, the prettiest girl in the village. He had not yet taken her into his house, so the would-be bridegroom was thrown into a deep crisis by the unexpected pregnancy of his fiancee.

For weeks he was torn between his love for Mary and the temptation to accuse her of infidelity and thereby see her condemned to be stoned, according to the provision of the Law. (Dt 23:24-25.) He just could not understand how that “terrible thing” could have happened, nor was he able to come up with a quick-fix satisfactory solution.

Others would simply have gone ahead with a strict application of what the law mandated on the matter. Thus their wounded pride would have been avenged and other girls would have thought twice before betraying their fiancé. But Joseph was a considerate and wise person. For sure, he prayed a lot.

In the end he came up with what seemed the best solution, under the difficult circumstances. He would neither marry nor accuse Mary, but would simply dissolve his engagement “quietly,” without stating the reason in public. He thought that such a solution was the least painful for all concerned.

But God had a different plan and brought it to the knowledge of the troubled young man through a dream: Joseph should not hesitate to take Mary as his wife and to officially recognize the child as his own, for the baby she had conceived was the work of the Holy Spirit, and not of a man. (See Mt 1:20-21.) That entailed quite a change of plans!

Others would simply have ignored such a “dream.” Yet, Joseph did not ask for further explanations. He did not ask for “a sign” that might prove the divine origin of such an order. In his deep faith, he said “Yes” readily and immediately. He sacrificed his own plan, in order to embrace God’s plan. He thereby became the husband of the holiest and most loving of all wives, and enjoyed the unique privilege of being called “Daddy” by the very Son of God!

We, too, may be troubled sometimes and experience a painful uncertainty as to what to do. We devise solutions which are not what God wants . . That’s the time for us to pray for enlightenment, as Joseph surely did. And we may be sure that the Lord will find ways and means to lead us to understand what He wants of us.

Then it will be our turn to humbly submit to His plan, forgetting our own short-sighted solutions, and to accept the role God has assigned to us in His all-wise and saving plan. “You will never regret it!” Joseph assures us, and with very good reasons.