Wednesday, January 14, 2009


St. Mary stayed in the Temple till her adolescence under the supervision of St. Zechariah, the priest and Anna, the prophetess. Following the Jewish custom, the priests planned the betrothal of St. Mary. Since she had made a vow of virginity before God, the purpose of her betrothal was to identify a perfect guardian to protect her and her vow of virginity. Impressed by her reported virtuous life and scholarship, several young men of her tribe wanted to marry her.

It is traditionally believed that the High Priest advised all the aspirants to bring a stick each. They were prayerfully placed before the Holy Altar. Later, it was observed that only the stick of St. Joseph sprouted and flowered, thus miraculously confirming that he was selected by God to marry St. Mary. This was similar to the miracle that confirmed the selection of Aaron as the High Priest by God. St. Joseph was a righteous and virtuous young man who had vowed to be a chaste Nazirite before God. Thus he agreed to respect and protect the vow of virginity made by St. Mary. The High Priest publicly announced and celebrated her betrothal to St. Joseph in the Temple. After the rituals of betrothal, following the Jewish traditions, she returned to her humble home in Nazareth, where she continued the prayerful life she had practised in the temple. It was during such a prayerful moment that the Archangel Gabriel arrived for the Annunciation.

By: N.G.Philip, Bethel, Nalamchira, Thiruvananthapuram-695015, Kerala, India & Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is story No. 67 in this site. Please click ‘older posts’ at bottom of page to read previous stories in this site.

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