THE TRUE ROYAL WEDDING, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN


The Wedding of Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Golden Legend, which derives its account from the much older Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, recounts how, when Mary was 14 (and living in the Temple), the high priest gathered together all the male descendents of David of marriageable age (including Saint Joseph, though he was much older than the rest) and ordered them to bring a rod. Whoever's rod blossomed into flower would become Mary's husband. After the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and caused Joseph's rod to blossom, he and Mary were married according to Jewish custom. (It is unclear whether this story was set before or after the Annunciation which, in the New Testament account, occurred after their betrothal but before their marriage.) The account, quoted in its entirety, runs thus:
“ When [Mary] had come to her fourteenth year, the high priest announced to all that the virgins who were reared in the Temple, and who had reached the age of their womanhood, should return to their own, and be given in lawful marriage. The rest obeyed the command, and Mary alone answered that this she could not do, both because her parents had dedicated her to the service of the Lord, and because she herself had vowed her virginity to God.... When the high priest went in to take counsel with God, a voice came forth from the oratory for all to hear, and it said that of all the marriageable men of the house of David who had not yet taken a wife, each should bring a branch and lay it upon the altar, that one of the branches would burst into flower and upon it the Holy Ghost would come to rest in the form of a dove, according to the prophecy of Isaias, and that he to whom this branch belonged would be the one to whom the virgin should be espoused. Joseph was among the men who came.... [and he] placed a branch upon the altar, and straightaway it burst into bloom, and a dove came from Heaven and perched at its summit; whereby it was manifest to all that the Virgin was to become the spouse of Joseph. ”
In fact, neither the Golden Legend nor any of the early apocrhyphal accounts describe the actual ceremony, and they differ as to its timing, other than that it preceded the "Journey to Bethlehem". In the Gospel of James it comes after the Annunciation, but in the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the primary source in the West, it comes before it.
Painting Marriage of the Virgin- by Giotto circa 1305
The Marriage of the Virgin is the subject in Christian art depicting the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. The marriage is not mentioned in the canonical Gospels but is covered in several apocryphal sources, and later redactions, notably the 14th century compilation the Golden Legend. Unlike many other scenes in Life of the Virgin cycles (like the Nativity of Mary and Presentation of Mary), it is not a feast in the church calendar.
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, essentially the same scene, with very similar iconography, is considered to represent the earlier scene of the "Entrusting of Mary to Joseph", with Joseph being made Mary's guardian by the temple authorities.
In art the subject could be covered in several different scenes, and the betrothal of Mary, with Joseph's blossoming rod, was often shown, despite its apocryphal origin. Wedding processions are also shown, especially in the Early Medieval period.
The Sacrament of Marriage (Catholic Marriage)
Marriage is a practice common to all cultures in all ages. It is, therefore, a natural institution, something common to all mankind. At its most basic level, marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and mutual support, or love. Each spouse in a marriage gives up some rights over his or her life in exchange for rights over the life of the other spouse.
While divorce has existed throughout history, it has been rare until recent centuries, which indicates that, even in its natural form, marriage is meant to be a lifelong, union.
The Elements of a Natural Marriage:

As Fr. John Hardon explains in his Pocket Catholic Dictionary, there are four elements common to natural marriage throughout history:
It is a union of opposite sexes.
It is a lifelong union, ending only with the death of one spouse.
It excludes a union with any other person so long as the marriage exists.
Its lifelong nature and exclusiveness are guaranteed by contract.
So, even at a natural level, divorce, adultery, and "homosexual marriage" are not compatible with marriage, and a lack of commitment means that no marriage has taken place.
A Supernatural Institution:

In the Catholic Church, however, marriage is more than a natural institution; it was elevated by Christ Himself, in His participation in the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), to be one of the seven sacraments. A marriage between two Christians, therefore, has a supernatural element as well as a natural one. While few Christians outside of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches regard marriage as a sacrament, the Catholic Church insists that marriage between any two baptized Christians, as long as it is entered into with the intention to contract a true marriage, is a sacrament.
THE TRUE ROYAL WEDDING, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN THE TRUE ROYAL WEDDING, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN Reviewed by Francisco Nascimento on 07:09 Rating: 5

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