Children of the Immaculate Heart's Newsletter Archive
Gabriel Z. Pacheco looks to Mary and Joseph's marriage for guidance in our times.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Today is an incredible day to be Catholic, as it is the day Tradition honors the Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary! In an age when our enemy seeks to obscure and destroy the meaning of marriage, Mary and Joseph stand out as a stark example of what life in wedlock signifies. Today, society says that marriage is simply an at-will contract made of nothing but socially constructed legal bindings and emotionally generated vicissitudes; and, if we are extremely lucky, it might help people live slightly healthier lives.
However, through His Church Christ teaches us that marriage is a relationship meant to bind two people together until death and that it should be open to new life. While sometimes unspoken, it is also meant to be a place where Jesus, who is Life Himself, has a lasting and comfortable abode. In the end, the married state reflects our final purpose and the meaning of human existence: union with God and His people forever. As people lose sight of this meaning, they find themselves in broken relationships leading to broken hearts and dysfunctional behaviors. Since Mary and Joseph are the exemplars of love par excellence, it would be prudent to look to them for help and guidance in these troubled times.
First, let us examine Joseph, who in Matthew 1:19 is called a righteous man. Since the term righteous means he acted in exact accordance with Christ’s justice and mercy, we know from this title alone that he treated Mary with the absolute highest devotion and love. And Mary is the Immaculate Conception, so we know that she acted in perfect in alignment with God’s will in everything, including how she treated Joseph. Based on their virtuous character, we know that they both behaved with perfect reverence and love towards one another. It is also important to recognize that they were completely led and fulfilled by God and did not come into their relationship expecting creatures to fix their unresolved traumas and gnawing voids. Because of this, Mary and Joseph were able to act towards each other with selfless love. They were able to perfectly give as well as receive, and God stayed in His proper place. Thus, we can say that their righteousness and virtue merited Jesus entering their lives as a visible sign of the perfect bond God had created between themselves and with Himself.
Of course, one might ask how Joseph and Mary can truly serve as examples of conjugal love when they never participated in the physical marital act. This is a reasonable protest, but it is important to recognize that they fully gave their bodily rights over to the other and that they would have gladly had intercourse if God or their spouse had asked them to do so. However, both God and the two spouses honored and upheld their vows of chastity and celibacy. Notwithstanding this, through their immense Charity they experienced a profound spiritual unity that no other couple has or ever will experience, and it is within this union that Jesus chose to enter the world.
So, where does this leave us normal people? While we may not be immaculately conceived or righteous beyond all other men, we can live marriage’s meaning by becoming virtuous people who are good spouses that can properly love one another and our children. We can use natural resources like therapy to help us heal from past hurts, and we can cultivate a deep life of prayer and devotion so that we find our ultimate fulfillment in God. This way we can genuinely appreciate His creatures and their active participation in His love without demanding that they take God’s place. And, like Mary and Joseph, a healthy and Godly marriage binds its constituents on a deep spiritual level and draws down Jesus into its midst, binding them to Him and His Church. Like all truly human things, this kind of marriage has many benefits. Among these boons, people in healthy marriage relationships create a secure and loving environment for their children where they learn that they are intrinsically worthwhile and loveable. This in turn shields them from all sorts of behavioral and emotional problems and helps protect them from people who might otherwise attempt to take advantage of them.
Unfortunately, many of our clients come from strained or broken homes where their parents were unable or unwilling to properly love God, each other, and their children. This left many terrible wounds and voids in the girls’ hearts that were only made worse when they sought to fill themselves with the counterfeit love they received from other broken people making evil choices. Little by little this eventually led them into “the life” of prostitution. Imagine how different things might have been if they had experienced the real meaning of marriage at home?
Let us therefore strive to be better spouses so that we can be better parents. Let us bravely go with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to the roots of our own hurts so that they no longer dictate how we act towards others. Let us decide to truly give and receive love. Let us plead with them to teach us the true meaning of marriage, not only for our sake, but for that of our posterity as well. Then, like Christ’s parents, when we come together seeking to genuinely love each other in, with, and through God we will also make that special place for Jesus in our midst and in the heart of our society. Through Mary and Joseph’s intercession may Jesus make His home in our hearts that He may fill all our relationships with peace, joy, and love this coming year.
Yours in the Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,
Gabriel Z. Pacheco
Charitable Development Coordinator
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Children of the Immaculate Heart
(CIH) was founded to serve those who are vulnerable due to human trafficking. It seeks to reach out to women and children directly in the trafficking industry as well as those made vulnerable in trafficking-dependent industries.