Mary's and Joseph's intimate feelings?

I know Mary was a virgin who couldn’t even be intimate with her own husband…and I know Joseph was more the role of her protector, while she took care of him and his house, as any wife would. But would it be sinful or border on blasphemous to think they might have had moments of feeling the normal feelings a man has for a woman and a woman for a man? I’m asking, because I’m writing a novella of Mary’s life (just for my own eyes, never to be published), and I’ve written a long scene where Joseph is looking at Mary one night, wishing he could have her completely, yet I’ve written their interior thoughts on how they both know and understand it would still be wrong in the eyes of God. I’ve written that every now and then, they’ve had such temptations, yet they’ve, of course, never succumbed to it. Is this terribly wrong? I don’t know if having written this has left a bad taste, so to speak, or if I didn’t commit a sin by writing of them in this way. Again, I wrote it this way to make them seem more real and that they did now and then have the feelings of a man and woman, but their love of God kept them from acting on it. Just their feelings.

Thanks for any thoughts. I know it’s just a story, but I don’t want to face judgement at the end of my life for this if it was a pretty awful thing to have written.

Posted by Crown of Stars
I know Mary was a virgin who couldn’t even be intimate with her own husband…and I know Joseph was more the role of her protector, while she took care of him and his house, as any wife would. But would it be sinful or border on blasphemous to think they might have had moments of feeling the normal feelings a man has for a woman and a woman for a man? I’m asking, because I’m writing a novella of Mary’s life (just for my own eyes, never to be published), and I’ve written a long scene where Joseph is looking at Mary one night, wishing he could have her completely, yet I’ve written their interior thoughts on how they both know and understand it would still be wrong in the eyes of God. I’ve written that every now and then, they’ve had such temptations, yet they’ve, of course, never succumbed to it. Is this terribly wrong? I don’t know if having written this has left a bad taste, so to speak, or if I didn’t commit a sin by writing of them in this way. Again, I wrote it this way to make them seem more real and that they did now and then have the feelings of a man and woman, but their love of God kept them from acting on it. Just their feelings.

Thanks for any thoughts. I know it’s just a story, but I don’t want to face judgement at the end of my life for this if it was a pretty awful thing to have written.


Dear “Crown of Stars,”

I would be very careful about ascribing such human failings to either Mary or Joseph.
Mary was especially chosen by God to be the “Christ-Bearer” to the children of men in this fallen world with all the failings that we find here. But, Mary was chosen and set apart by God from the foundation of the world to be who she was. One of the mystics wrote that she spent years in the temple as she was growing up.

As to Joseph, I don’t know if he was older, perhaps a widower, or whatever, but I do know that he was especially chosen by God as was Mary and the Lord doesn’t make mistakes. He KNEW that they would live holy lives and not one of chaffing temptations. I’m sure that was why Joseph was chosen to be the foster father of God’s Holy Son. God KNEW the integrity of his heart from the very beginning. To ascribe fallen behavior to either of these chosen ones is to court problems, at the very least. I would suggest that if you need to express yourself in such a story that you choose two people who are more a part of the same world that you and I are living in. Just don’t try to reduce Mary and Joseph’s relationship in holiness to the same base emotions found here on this fallen earth.

There is nothing wrong with our emotions in so far as we live up to the expectations of the Church in this world. We were not chosen in the same way as were Mary and Joseph, but are expected to find our happiness in this world. If you must write, pick a time in history that would appeal more to what you would like to say! And good luck with your writing!

DesertSister62
*** .

Don’t let your imagination get carried away with you! We do that to often these days, and try to bring God’s work down to our level of human weakness and understanding. Their love was so pure, so chaste, so beautiful we would never really understand it. At least not in our fallen human nature. Possibly, love in Heaven will be like that, who knows. Another of God’s beautiful Mysteries. There is no proof that Joseph was an old man or a widower. He had to be young and strong enough to endure the things he did. He worked hard, and traveled a lot etc. God Bless, Memaw

I think you are making a terrible mistake in portraying Joseph and Mary in this way.

“Know most certainly that before he married me, Joseph knew in the Holy Spirit, that I had vowed my virginity to my God, and was immaculate in thought, word, and deed, and that he espoused me with the intention of serving me, holding me in the light of a sovereign mistress, not a wife… But when I had consented to the annunciation of God, Joseph, seeing my womb increase by the operation of the Holy Spirit, feared vehemently: not suspecting anything amiss in me, but remembering the sayings of the prophets, foretelling that the Son of God should be born of a virgin, deeming himself unworthy to serve such a mother, until the angel in a dream ordered him not to fear, but to minister unto me in charity.” (The Blessed Virgin Mary speaking to Saint Bridget of Sweden, Revelations of Saint Bridget, p. 23-24, TAN books).

Our Blessed Mother being, as the Church teaches, a virgin before, during and after Christ’s birth, and being Immaculate in “thought, word and deed” ,implies that her virginity was not simply something confined to the biological scope of the definition :

Mary was and remained a virgin in body, mind and soul. We need to understand what that means.

In his Josephology-based article which identifies five qualities of St. Joseph , Father John Hardon ,S.J. says that

"Some of the apocryphal gospels picture him as an old man, even a widower. This is not the Church’s teaching.

We are rather to believe that he was a virgin, who entered into a virginal marriage with Mary. This was to protect Mary’s reputation and safeguard the dignity of her Son.

What is the lesson for us?. . .

To ascribe , as DesertSister62 so aptly calls them, “human failings” to our Blessed Mother or to St. Joseph is to simultaneously impose human limits on Divine grace.

While asking whether our Blessed Mother and/or St. Joseph would have had “moments of feeling normal feelings” which a married man and woman feel for each other ,might initially appear to be an innocent enough question, we musn’t lose sight of the fact that the marriage of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary , was a true marriage, but with singular privileges.

While such “normal feelings” are usually ordered within marriage to the conception and birth of a child, in the higher order of grace, due to our Blessed Mother’s perpetual virginity , these feelings couldn’t really be considered “normal” because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit - not St. Joseph, and Mary’s perpetual virginity , would have had to preclude any other children being conceived .

If no other children being conceived, became the order of grace in this Divinely ordained marriage between St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary , then neither can any desire which would lead to any other children being biologically conceived and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, be considered something which was properly ordered to their unique mission as the Mother and legal father of Jesus.

In the OP the feelings are referred to as both “normal feelings” and at the same time, “temptations”. In my own limited opinion, it can be a little bit confusing to present the topic of the article that way : Usually , we do not consider “normal feelings” to be exactly the same thing as “temptations” - there can exist an entire world of situational ethics between the two.

:hmmm:

I think you are letting your imagination wander into a disturbing direction.

Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

What you are thinking about is **none **of those things.

I’ve come to think that Mary and Joseph were, to a degree, attracted to each other, enjoyed each other’s company, and maybe even hugged and kissed. Those things are not mutually exclusive to Mary’s perpetual virginity or a chaste relationship between the two.

And since they were the godliest couple to ever live, I’m sure they were quick to ask God for virtue and self-control; we know He would not hesitate to grant it.

I find that speculation is almost always dangerous spiritually, and at best is pointless.

You desire to experience or know something that can be neither experienced or known. So you are lead to un-reality. Or a reality that only exists in your own head. Engaging in speculation leads to doubt in my view and here at CAF frequently leads to arguments over nothing.

But anyway,
We know that Mary is without sin.
Joseph is not. But we have no way of knowing what he struggled with in his life.
Does it matter?

I like the scripture quote previous: think the best of everyone, think of noble and sacred things, and the devil cannot grab hold of you so easily (particular struggle of mine, so I try to take it to heart.).

“And when they came to the floor of Nachon, Oza put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it: because the oxen kicked and made it lean aside. And the indignation of the Lord was enkindled against Oza, and he struck him for his rashness: and he died there before the ark of God.” --2 Kings (2 Samuel) 6:6-7 DRV

II think God gave Joseph special graces to avoid such thoughts before allowing him to sleep in the same tent with his young mother. Remember, a spouse cannot refuse a reasonable request from their spouse for the marital act, so surely God would have made sure that Mary would never have to chose between her marital vows and her virginity.

Thank you for your replies. I’ve read them all, and actually some of your comments scared me enough into washing my hands of it. I’ve removed the scene, and instead I have Joseph merely thinking about how pretty Mary is, with her long dark hair and pretty golden skin, dark eyes, and her smallness. Now I don’t think this is wrong, is it? I imagine her to have been very pretty, just like I described. I know I might probably now get comments that it’s the inner beauty that matters…but outer beauty is kind of my weakness:o I do think outer beauty is important too, as long as the person is nice on the inside. And for my fictionalized version of Mary, I just want to make her as beautiful as possible. Little, delicate, and dark. Also, I’ve written a scene where Joseph is just looking at Mary as she plays and laughs with Jesus as a three-year-old, and thinks of how even more glowing she’s become since she’s become a mother. Her inner beauty shining through, and outwardly beautiful too.

There’s nothing wrong with this. I think it was the Bible miniseries that has scene where Joseph, in an interior monologue, talks about how Mary has “the most beautiful eyes”. Just because they were chaste does not mean they were frigid or asexual.

Good writing is simply weaving such deep thoughts into a story. You can’t help but start to go in that direction. It’s just natural. A man will see the physical beauty of a woman. It’s the way we were made.

“Remember, a spouse cannot refuse a reasonable request from their spouse for the marital act”

There is no such teaching in Catholicism. Either spouse is free to decline a reasonable request for marital relations on occasion.

The obligation to have marital relations (the marital debt) would make a refusal sinful only over the course of time, depending on the circumstances. Refusal on occasion does no harm to the refused spouse. Refusal for a length of time requires a proportionate reason; the longer the length of time, the weightier the reason needs to be. For a grave reason, spouses may decide to discontinue marital relations indefinitely.

Mary and Joseph did not have the Sacrament of Marriage, since they were not baptized at the time, and none of the Sacraments had yet been established. Mary was a “betrothed virgin” under OT law, and she remained as such.

Well actually, no.

1 Corinthians 7: The husband should fulfill his duty toward his wife,and likewise the wife toward her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife. Do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, to be free for prayer, but then return to one another, so that Satan may not tempt you through your lack
of self-control.

Casti Connubii teaches/

  1. The second blessing of matrimony which We said was mentioned by St. Augustine, is the blessing of conjugal honor which consists in the mutual fidelity of the spouses in fulfilling the marriage contract, so that what belongs to one of the parties by reason of this contract sanctioned by divine law, may not be denied to him or permitted to any third person; nor may there be conceded to one of the parties anything which, being contrary to the rights and laws of God and entirely opposed to matrimonial faith, can never be conceded.

  2. By this same love it is necessary that all the other rights and duties of the marriage state be regulated as the words of the Apostle: “Let the husband render the debt to the wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband,” express not only a law of justice but of charity

I am happy to discuss with my Priest to get more sources, he includes this in his marriage prep talks and I learned this from one of his sermons. Ultimately it is a sin to refuse a reasonable request from your spouse, based on scripture and tradition. Any continence within the marriage would have to be mutually agreed to. Also, Our Lady was not an unwed mother, she did have a husband. When I’m home I can look through my notes on St. Joseph to remind myself where this was taught, but she was not an unwed mother.

I think you are overreaching in your interpretation of this teaching. If a husband requests and a wife says no, the husband may (should) mutually agree that this is not the time.

The spouse is not bound to engage in relations upon request, as if a robot.

I promise, my friend, that I am not including my own explanation and just relaying the contents of a homily my priest gave on the marital act. I don’t meant that as an appeal to authority, but just to say that this is not my interpretation but instead it’s what I learned as Mass. I will see if I can find the sources if Father referenced them in his homily. As I am not married, I simply listened to Father’s words and promised to ask him more questions when I’m preparing for marriage. I have also not seen any sources backing up the notion that a spouse may refuse a reasonable request either, so I just have the charitable words that you have provided and also the words of my priest in his homily to go on. Let’s get to the bottom of this! :thumbsup:

ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb16.htm
Chapter 17 gives us something to ponder. Also chapters 28-32.
Interesting the tone JP2 uses and the language he uses. He does not refer to the “conjugal gift of self” as a debt to be paid.

God made us man and woman and he saw this as GOOD (Genesis 2:18).

Our human desire for sexual intercourse is psychologically/emotionally related to our sense of incompleteness. For example, I was attracted to my husband because he was able to tell people “no” while I was a bit of a doormat. I was attracted to him and I wanted to become one with him because I thought he would tell people “no” for me for the rest of my life. I needed to learn to say “no” for myself. I had no idea that I would get a lot of practice after marrying my husband. I met his mother. She was a bulldozer. I quickly learned how my husband had learned to say “no” so well. He did not say “no” for me. Instead I heard “no” a lot from him! We’ve been married for 20 years now and life is good. However, Mary was not incomplete like me. She did not have this NORMAL sexual human attraction like I did. She was free from original sin. I had very imperfect parents. I needed to heal by being a married woman involved in a sexual relationship with my spouse. We worked through my wounded human nature.

Any ideas we have about Mary and Joseph are rooted in our own life experiences and our own projections. Human sexuality is ordained by God and is good. Human sexuality brings psychological healing, safety, security, connection, and love into the world. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus Christ into the world who was the perfect example of love. He sought nothing in return. Mary likewise sought nothing in return for her sacrifice.

Unlike me, Mary was not incomplete and in need of healing. Therefore, I do not think that she experienced sexuality like we do. I think she experienced something far greater. I think she experienced God’s presence piercing her heart with ecstasy when she conceived Jesus. I think both she and Joseph experienced a supernatural oneness that was far more satisfying than mere human sexual intercourse. I don’t think they felt any need to consummate their union because they constantly lived in the loving presence of God. I think they showed affection for each other and other people much like Jesus showed affection.

Very very VERY nice thoughts. :thumbsup:

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