The anxiety of St. Joseph

 The Anxiety of St. Joseph by Tissot
Betrothed but still unmarried, Mary and Joseph do not yet live together, making the news of her unexpected pregnancy a cause of deep concern for Joseph. Ordinarily industrious, as the curled wood shavings around his feet attest, the carpenter hunches over his bench, lost in thought and unable to work. In the hope of catching a glimpse of Mary, he gazes out at the street as women pass carrying jars filled with the day’s water.

Although traditional representations of Joseph show a man of advanced age, Tissot painted him as younger and more robust, arguing in his accompanying commentary that “Rabbinical doctrine” would have regarded the union of an old man and a young girl as a “profanation.” He further asserted that the rigorous demands placed on the Holy Family required a man of vigor.

There's still time to read over and ponder the scriptures you'll hear proclaimed at Mass this weekend for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

You'll find the texts, commentary on them and hints for helping children prepare to hear these scriptures at this earlier post.

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