Pope Francis on developing a mature relationship among spouses

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01/12/2021
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Pope Francis explained the significance of St. Joseph's marriage to Mary in his General Audience. He says that Joseph's description in the Gosepl paints him as a man who “willingly submitted to the requirements of the Law and its precepts concerning marriage.”

The Pope explains that Joseph's openness to the Holy Spirit, demonstrated by his decision not to leave Mary upon learning she was with child, is what brings his love for Mary “to a maturity expressed in the virtues of chastity, fidelity, respect and humility.”

In this way, Pope Francis says their relationship is a model for young people engaged to be married as well as to everyone caught in the middle of life's challenges to trust “in God’s just and providential concern for our lives.”

SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Saint Joseph, we now reflect on Saint Matthew’s description of Joseph as both “a just man” and as “the husband of Mary.” As a devout son of Israel, Joseph willingly submitted to the requirements of the Law and its precepts concerning marriage.

Having learned that Mary was already with child, out of love and regard for her Joseph sought to spare her the humiliation of a public separation. Then, in a dream, Joseph learned from an angel that it was right that he should marry Mary, since she had conceived her son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

By God’s providence, Joseph came to a deeper understanding of divine justice and its authentic demands. Joseph and Mary’s openness to God’s saving plan brings their love to a maturity expressed in the virtues of chastity, fidelity, respect and humility. Far from restricting our freedom, these virtues in fact give our love direction and endurance. In this sense, Joseph and Mary can serve as an example not only to young people engaged to be married, but to all of us, who also in the midst of life’s inevitable challenges, are called to discover the true joy and freedom that come from trusting in God’s just and providential concern for our lives.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the United States of America. I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of the newborn Saviour of the world. May God bless you!

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