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Marriage Of The Blessed Virgin


THE HOLY VIRGIN lived in the Temple with several other virgins under the charge of pious matrons. These virgins were occupied with embroidery and other works of the same kind for the hangings of the Temple and the vestments of the priests : they were also employed in washing the vestments and in other matters pertaining to the divine worship. They had little cells whence they had a view of the interior of the Temple, and where they prayed and meditated. When they were arrived at a marriageable age they married. Their parents had given them entirely to God in conducting them to the Temple, and there was among the most pious of the Israelites a secret presentiment that one of these marriages would be the cause some day of the coming of the Messiah.

The Blessed Virgin being fourteen years old, and about soon to leave the Temple and be married, with seven other young girls, I saw St. Anne come to visit her. Joachim was no longer living. When they informed Mary that she must leave the Temple and be married, I saw her deeply moved, declare to a priest that she had no desire to quit the Temple, that she was consecrated to God alone, and had no inclination for marriage : but they told her she must take a husband.

I saw her afterwards in her oratory pray to God with fervor. I remember also that being very thirsty she descended with her little pitcher to draw water from a fountain or a reservoir, and that there, without any visible apparition, she heard a voice which con soled and fortified her, at the same time making known to her that she must consent to be married.

I saw also a very old priest who was unable to walk it might be the High Priest. He was carried by other priests into the Holy of Holies, and, whilst he lighted the jrifice of incense he read some prayers from a roll of parchment placed on a kind of pulpit. I saw him in an ecstasy. He had a vision, and his finger was placed on the following passage out of the Prophet Isaiah which was written on the roll : "A branch shall arise from the root of Jesse and a flower shall spring from this root" (Isaiah ix. i).

When the old priest returned to himself he read this passage and knew something by this. I then saw that messengers were sent to all parts of the country, and that they convoked to the Temple all the men of the race of David who were unmarried. When many of them were assembled in the Temple in their festival dress, they were presented to the Blessed Virgin.

I then saw the High Priest, obedient to an interior impulse which he had received, present branches to each of those present, and tell them to mark each one a branch with his name and hold it in his hand during the prayer and sacrifice. When they had done as required the branches were taken from them and placed upon an altar before the Holy of Holies, and it was announced to them that he among them whose branch should flourish was designed by the Lord to be the husband of Mary of Nazareth.

Whilst the branches were before the Holy of Holies they continued the sacrifice and the prayer; then after the time fixed, they gave back the branches and announced to them that no one of them was designed by God to become the husband of this virgin.

Afterwards the priests of the Temple sought afresh in the registers of families if no other descendant of David was in existence whom they had overlooked. As they there found an indication of six brothers of Bethlehem, of whom one was. unknown and had been absent for a long time, they inquired after the abode of Joseph, and discovered him a short distance from Samaria, in a place situated near a small river, where he dwelt on the margin of the water, working for a master carpenter.

On the order of the High Priest Joseph came to Jerusalem and presented himself at the Temple. They made him also hold in his hand a branch while they prayed and offered sacrifice. As he was offering to place it on the altar before the Holy of Holies, there came out from it a white flower like a lily, and a luminous apparition descended upon him. It was as if he had received the Holy Ghost. They knew then that St. Joseph was the man designed by God to be the spouse of the Blessed Virgin, and the priests presented him to Mary in the presence of her mother. Mary, resigned to the will of God, humbly accepted him as her spouse, for she knew that everything is possible with God, who had received her vow of belonging only to Him







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