Spousal Solemnities: St. Joseph & the Annunciation

Every March, two spousal solemnities fall amid the penitential season of Lent. The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary on March 19 and The Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord on March 25. St. Joseph was espoused to the ever virgin, all-pure Mary; In the moment of her “fiat” at the Annunciation, Mary was overshadowed by and overflowing with the Holy Spirit – espoused to the Holy Spirit for all eternity! Thus, one could say of St. Joseph that he is “Spouse of the Spouse of the Holy Spirit!” Rather symbolically, the Solemnity of St. Joseph precedes the Annunciation by seven days – a day for each of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This Lent, let us ponder the profound role the Holy Spirit played in the marriage of Joseph and Mary. In the context of these spousal solemnities, Joseph and Mary challenge us to faithfully embrace the selflessness of spousal intimacy. When we lovingly proclaim our personal “fiat” through Matrimony, Holy Orders,  or Religious Vows, we make them in faith. Though we might have a general, surface-level understanding of the sacrifices embedded, we do not know the fine details our commitment to self-donation will entail – what joys, challenges, trials, and custom-made crosses await us.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, received in their fullness at our Confirmation, are like spiritual buoys for our daily decision to lovingly continue in our commitments of self-gift to others. Though not typical for Lent, during these next seven days, consider meditating on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit in light of the selflessness of spousal intimacy. As each of the Holy Spirit’s Gifts have God at the center, we can selflessly focus on and pray for Understanding, Knowledge, Wisdom, Fear of the Lord, Counsel, Piety, and Fortitude as an antidote to our egocentric tendencies and culture.


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