Marian Devotion (Day 7)
May 07, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.
Day 7
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (1:18-25)

The birth of Jesus Christ occurred in this way. When his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came to live together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was a just man and did not wish to expose her to the ordeal of public disgrace; therefore, he resolved to divorce her quietly.

After he had decided to follow this course of action, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to receive Mary into your home as your wife. For this child has been conceived in her womb through the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus,[g] for he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place in order to fulfill what the Lord had announced through the prophet:

 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

a name that means “God is with us.”[

When Joseph rose from sleep, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary into his home as his wife,  but he engaged in no marital relations[i] with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus.

From The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander

That virginal quality which, for want of a better word, I call emptiness is at the beginning of this contemplation. It is not a formless emptiness, a void without meaning; on the contrary it has a shape, a form given to it by the purpose for which it is intended.  It is emptiness like the hollow in the reed, the narrow riftless emptiness which can have only one destiny: to receive the piper's breath and to utter the song that is in his heart.
It is emptiness like the hollow in the cup, shaped to receive water or wine. It is emptiness like that of the bird's nest, built in a round warm ring to receive the little bird. The pre-Advent emptiness of Our Lady's purposeful virginity was indeed like those three things.   She was a reed through which the Eternal Love was to be piped as a shepherd's song. She was the flowerlike chalice into which the purest water of humanity was to be poured, mingled with wine, changed to the crimson blood of love, and lifted up in sacrifice. She was the warm nest rounded to the shape of humanity to receive the Divine Little Bird...
It is the purpose for which something is made that decides the material which is used. The chalice is made of pure gold because it must contain the Blood of Christ. The bird's nest is made of scraps of soft down, leaves and feathers and twigs, because it must be a strong warm home for the young birds… The material which God has found apt for it is human nature: blood, flesh, bone, salt, water, will, intellect. It is impossible to say too often or too strongly that human nature, body and soul together, is the material for God's will in us...
Think again of the three symbols I have used for the virginal emptiness of Mary. These are each made from material which must undergo some experience to be made ready for its purpose. The reed grows by the streams. It is the simplest of things, but it must be cut by the sharp knife, hollowed out, and the stops must be cut in it; it must be shaped and pierced before it can utter the shepherd's song. It is the narrowest emptiness in the world, but the little reed utters infinite music. The chalice does not grow like the flower it resembles. It is made of gold; gold must be gathered from the water and the mud and hewn from the rock, it must be beaten by countless little blows that give the chalice of sacrifice its fitting beauty. The twigs and fluff and leaves of the bird's nest are brought from all sorts of places, from wherever the brave careful mother alights, with fluttering but daring heart, to fetch them, from the distances and explorations that only the spread wings of love know. It is the shape of her breast the moulds the nest to its inviting roundness.
Thus it is with us -- we may be formed by the knife, pared down, cut to the least, to the minimum of our own being; we may be marked indelibly by a succession of strokes, blown from the gold-beater's hammer; or we may be shaped for our destiny by the love and tender devotion of a devoted family.
Musical Selection
To a maid engaged to Joseph, the angel Gabriel came. "Fear not," the angel told her, "I come to bring good news; good news I come to tell you, good news, I say, good news. 
"For you are highly favoured by God the Lord of all, who even now in with you. You are on earth most blest, you are most blest, most blessed, God chose you, you are blest!" 
But Mary was most troubled to hear the angel's word. What was the angel saying? It troubled her to hear, to hear the angel's message, it troubled her to hear. 
"Fear not, for God is with you, and you shall bear a child. His name shall be called Jesus, God's offspring from on high. And he shall reign forever, forever reign on high." 
"How shall this be? said Mary "I am not yet a wife." The angel answered quickly, "The power of the Most High will come upon you shortly, your child will be God's child." 
As Mary heard the angel, she wondered at his words. "Behold, I am your handmaid, "she said unto her God. "So be it; I am ready according to your word." 


Holy Father, you joined together by a virginal bond 
the glorious Mother of your Son 
and the just man, Saint Joseph, 
that they might be faithful cooperators in the mystery of the Word Incarnate. 
Grant that we who are united with you by the bond of baptism 
may live more intimately our union with Christ 
and may walk more joyfully in the way of love. 
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns
with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen. (Feast of the Holy Spouses; January 23 in some places)