Gift of the Holy Spirit:
Fear of the Lord
Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin (whose) name was Mary. … the angel said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what they meant. The angel went on to say to her: “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus. Great will be his dignity and he shall be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know man?” The angel answered her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”
Soon after the betrothal of Mary to Joseph, in the time designated by the Father since the fall of our first parents, God sent His Archangel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she is to be-come the mother of the Messiah who is to be the Son of God Himself.
The Virgin Mary was in an ecstasy of prayer when the Archangel Gabriel came to her room in a shaft of brilliant light to announce to her the good news that she was to conceive the Son of God the Most High by the power of the Holy Spirit. With her fiat, the Blessed Virgin was wrapped in ecstasy. The room was filled with light. At that moment, the Holy Trinity was present as the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, filling her with radiant light, with God the Son conceived in her immaculate womb.
After the fall of Adam and Eve, when God announced to Lucifer at the Garden of Eden that He would send a Redeemer to crush his head, He did not reveal that the Messiah would be His only begotten Son. He introduced Him as the offspring of a woman. Mary, in her gentleness and humility of heart, could not find the courage to tell Joseph that the Archangel Gabriel, in majestic splendor, had come to visit her in such extraordinary circumstance, to announce to her that the long awaited Messiah is to be conceived in her and that He is the Son of God Himself and that the Almighty Most High has sent His Archangel as His envoy to solicit her consent and she has given her “Fiat”, freely and joyfully.
With her Fiat, God’s promised Word is now made flesh in her womb and the Savior God has become her Son.
As Mary conceives Jesus not by human seed but by the power of the Holy Spirit, she becomes the Handmaid and Daughter of the Father, Bride and Spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother of the Son of God the Most High.
From the beginning of the world until the end to come, no human person would ever attain such a high stature and honor in the natural order and in the supernatural order: Mother of God, Queen of heaven and earth, the angels at her command, clothed with the sun, a crown of stars on her head and the moon under her feet, destined to crush Satan and end our legacy of sin and begin a new lineage of the faithful and true.
With her loving Fiat, at long last, redemption is at hand and salvation be-comes ours to claim for all eternity.
Joseph, unknowing of the marvelous events that are taking place, truly personifies this Beatitude of gentleness: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth, his humility a fruit of Fear of the Lord.
These words from the Old Testament apply perfectly to St. Joseph: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God and walk in his ways and love him and keep his commandments with your whole heart and your whole soul, so that it may be well for you?”
Soon after, Joseph’s great joy turns into greater sorrow when he finds his betrothed pregnant with child. His heart broken, he could no longer proceed with the marriage but being “a just and upright man”, with fear of the Lord engraved in his wounded heart, he does not want to subject his beloved Mary to stoning, a punishment inflicted on unfaithful wives under the Jewish law.
Meek and gentle of heart, he perfects his just love for Mary with loving mercy and kindness towards her. After prayerful and tearful reflection, he decides to divorce Mary quietly and entrust her to the Lord so as not to expose her to public disgrace.
The Archangel Gabriel did not give Mary permission to make known the joyful Annunciation of her conception of the Savior, and in her complete submission to the Divine Will, she leaves the matter to the Holy Spirit to find a way to inform Joseph of this supernatural happening and relieve him of his spiritual suffering.
The Father in heaven is testing Joseph as He had tested Abraham before anointing him to be the father of His chosen people Israel. Like Abraham, Joseph, in meekness and humility, submits himself completely to the loving mercy of the Lord. He acts justly, with merciful love and fear of transgressing God’s commands. In this trial, he proves himself to be a worthy son of Abraham, fit to be the surrogate of the Father on earth.
As the Father had sent an angel to prevent Abraham from sacrificing his beloved Isaac, so does He now send His angel to appear to Joseph in a dream to prevent him from sacrificing his beloved wife Mary by divorcing her.
In this second joyful annunciation, the angel announces to Joseph the coming of the Savior Son, saying to him:
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
Imagine the joy of Joseph as he awakes from his dream. Imagine the joy of Mary when Joseph comes to her parents’ house to bring her to their own home. Imagine the joy of the Babe Jesus in the womb of His Mother; He leaps with joy as His parents are reunited with Him, the three holiest persons on earth composing the Holy Family of God, united in His loving presence.
Joseph, in his high dignity as husband of Mary and head of the Holy Family, becomes the Father’s Surrogate on earth. He shares with the Holy Spirit the title of Spouse of Mary, he being the human spouse while the Holy Spirit is her Divine Spouse. His love for Mary mirrors the love of the Holy Spirit, pure, chaste and holy, preserving her virginity for all ages, as perpetual proof of the Virgin Birth.
Joseph, the humble carpenter, is exalted by God to inherit the eternal land, the new heaven and the new earth, promised to his forefathers, to Abraham and his children forever.
Joseph’s strength lies in the surrender of his whole heart and soul, imbued with humility and meekness, loving with a gentle love that is kind and merciful. With this merciful love, he becomes the human father of Divine Mercy.
Joseph is chosen to be the last Patriarch of the House of David, to close the Book of the Old Testament and open the Book of the New Testament and to inherit the Promised Land for all generations to come.
Merciful father, just and upright, imbue me with a sense of justice and righteousness in all that I do, all with whom I relate in life, my family, my friends, my colleagues and co-workers, those whom I love and those who love me, and those who do not love me and those whom I failed to love.
Gentle Father, teach me merciful love, that I may await God’s loving mercy, now and at the end of my days. Amen.
Our Father. Ten Hail Marys. Glory Be.