The “Brothers” and “Sisters” of the Lord

Monday, May 25, 2009 \PM\.\Mon\.

The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with biblical references to Jesus’ brethren by a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The predominant view in Latin Christianity is the “cousins theory” mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea as a belief of some Christians, but more widely supported by St. Jerome in De Viris Illustribus in the 4th century, as he sought to defend the doctrine of Mary as Ever-Virgin.  This biblical interpretation found favor with the Pope at the time and became widely promulgated, eventually becoming the non-official, but majority view of the Roman church.

With great respect and love of St. Jerome, a celebrated saint and Father of the Church, dare I say, I would like to boldly make a theological argument against his position and that of the majority of Catholics and delineate a just as valid, but arguably more reasonable theological opinion.

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In Praise of Saint Joseph

Thursday, March 19, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

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One of the great things for me in finding Christ’s Church is the abundance of examples Catholics have for living a holy life. The saints show us Christian life: what to expect from it and how to live it. When I came into the Church three years ago this coming Easter, my wife and I chose St. Joseph as my patron. As a new husband, it seemed a natural if somewhat uninspired, choice. I also was not very familiar with any other saints and at least new Joseph from the Christmas story. However, as I learned more Church history and began to familiarize myself with the lives of the saint, I must sadly confess that I began to wonder if some other less well-known or more “exotic” saint would have been a “cooler” choice. It wasn’t until the birth of my son that I really began to understand how significant and beautiful is St. Joseph. Through what has proven to be some of the toughest years in mine and my wife’s lives, I have felt his gentle but strong working man’s hand on my shoulder. In a very real sense Our Lady’s Most Chaste Spouse has been with me every step of the way. I don’t think I truly understood marriage and family life until I discovered Saint Joseph and his place in the Holy Family. Through my Baptist heritage I was obviously aware of Joseph but mostly as a backdrop in the Nativity story. Neither Joseph nor Mary were the subject of any particular devotion and once Christmas was over they were literally and figuratively put back in the attic.

I especially look to him and ask for his intercession as I struggle to provide for my family during this recession. For several reasons but mostly economic ones, my wife and I recently returned to my hometown after living on the East Coast for many years. The economy here, while not great, has faired much better than many other parts of the country and it is nice to have my parents nearby so they get to spoil their new grandson. These days I often think of St. Joseph leading his young wife and child into the unknown of Egypt. How difficult must that have been? At least I am familiar with the place the Lord has led us. I may be wrong, but I do not think Joseph was in any way familiar with the land of the pharaohs, regardless, he trusted God absolutely and relocated. We see that even in what must have seen the bleakest of times, God provided for him so that he could provide for the Blessed Mother and the Infant Christ. I feel an especial love for Saint Joseph on this day as I look upon this love and trust in God. Herod’s attempt to slaughter the Christ Child was an attempt by Satan to destroy our Hope before most of the world even knew He existed. In a sense, Joseph with the Holy Family was fleeing despair. In similar fashion, we must always follow God’s will for us and not our own, even if we are unsure where He is leading us. Let us ask for the intercession of Blessed Saint Joseph for all the needs of our family, for the protection of our loved ones and the protection of the Church founded by Christ.

EWTN.com has a great page on Saint Joseph on this page.