22 January 2014

The Espousals Of Mary

Once upon a time - just over a hundred years ago - we would have celebrated the feast of the Espousals of the BVM tomorrow.

Insofar as we commemorate the Sacrament of Matrimony, we tend to think of the Marriage Feast of Cana, but that tends to involve preaching on the first public miracle, Jesus doing what his Mother asks, and (embarrassingly, sometimes) "there's nothing wrong with the occasional skinful".

Our Lady's marriage to St Joseph is a much deeper model, and not just for those of us who are married.  The necessity of marriage is shown in the angel's coming to tell an already compassionate Joseph faced with her pregnancy that he was to marry Mary. 

Jesus could not be born outside marriage.

This is a really important message, one I have never heard preached, but something we can bring to the once-Christian world.  Or could, but no longer so easily, because the Feast has been suppressed.

The significance of this marriage, as expressed in two of the Propers is interesting:

COLLECT: We beseech Thee, O Lord, to bestow on thy servants of thy celestial grace; that to those for whom the Blessed Virgin's maternity was the beginning of salvation, the votive solemnity of her Espousals may procure increase of peace.

SECRET: May the humanity of thy only-begotten Son be our succour, O Lord: that Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of a virgin did not diminish, but consecrated the integrity of his mother, may in the solemnity of her Espousals deliver us from our sins, and make our oblation acceptable to thee.

These are ways of looking at Jesus, who was born of a woman, a married virgin, that stop me in my tracks and make me think.

Wait until we get to the suppressed feasts of the Lenten season!

1 comment:

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks: excellent post, and very interesting Collect and Secret.