ark tablet

cryingteacups  asked:

Hi Father! I once saw a thing that said that Mary and Joseph didn't really have romantic feelings for each other and that they only married because it was arranged. Are there any parts of the Bible that disprove this? I've always imagined that they were a couple that loved each other wholly so I got a bit taken aback with this news. Thank you!

Hello,

The Catholic faith teaches that Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus her Son.

That means that her relationship with Joseph would have been a loving, faithful, devoted, affectionate relationship, as husband and wife, but without having sexual relations. 

As for their marriage being arranged, remember that the Bible says an angel appeared to Joseph and said that God wanted Joseph to take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:20). Thus, Mary and Joseph’s marriage was part of God’s plan.

However, I would not say that they “only married because it was arranged.” After all, Joseph was already betrothed to Mary even before the incarnation. That means that Joseph and Mary loved each other, sought each other, and wanted to spend their lives together, even before they knew that they would be entrusted with Our Savior.

The Bible cannot prove that Mary and Joseph were virginal in their marriage. However, if we see how the Ark of the Covenant was treated in the time of Moses and afterward, we get a good sense of the Virgin Mary as a new Ark of the Covenant. The old Ark held the tablets of the Law, some of the Manna that fell from heaven, and the staff of Aaron. And yet it was such a sacred and untouchable vessel.

If God commanded that the Ark of the Old Testament be regarded as such a sacred vessel, how much more so the Ark of Mary’s flesh and blood? Mary’s womb held Jesus, and gave Jesus, His Flesh and Blood. That is certainly more sacred, more holy, than the tablets of the Law. Thus, from the Catholic point of view, it is only fitting and appropriate that the Ark of Mary’s body be held as sacred and untouchable also.

This is not to denigrate or put down the beauty of marriage, and the sacred act of a man making love to his wife and holding her body and receiving joy and pleasure from her body. But rather, the Catholic belief is that Joseph understood that Mary’s body was a unique vessel, a singular temple or tabernacle. 

As Catholics understand it, Joseph willingly sacrificed relations with his wife so that her body would always be honored for holding Jesus’ Flesh. He had the right to have relations with her, but he did not demand that right, so that he could cherish the Mother of Jesus in other ways for being the Ark of the new covenant.

The Bible does refer to Joseph not “knowing” Mary until after the birth of Jesus, but Catholics say that this refers to knowing in a spiritual sense, being deeply connected as partners and parents, without sexual relations. Non-Catholics can certainly disagree based on Biblical phrasing.

However, it is also quite reasonable and rational to see Mary’s body as being treated different than the body of any other wife, because of her singular vocation as a Tabernacle, or Ark, for holding God’s Flesh and Blood. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel