Little mention is made of Joseph after the birth, save the journey into Egypt and the visit to the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was 12. It is assumed Joseph probably died not long after, for he is never mentioned again. For the gospel writers he was not a person who figured in their life other than what they were told of Jesus birth. So Mary was possibly a single mother for much of her life. But this also is not the reason for their marriage to be considered one made in heaven.
From the account of the birth of Jesus, I want to suggest one crucial detail is absolutely vital and which has a special relation to the highest human experience...
It is Attitude. Attitude tells us about the way our mind is relating to the world around us. Like a boat on the ocean, attitude is constantly challenged by the circumstances of ones surrounds. Words like passive, aggressive, assertive, cynical, gullible, naïve, pleasant, joyful, bubbly, thoughtful are a sample of words that indicate the way we are relating to the world around us. They are words that describe the attitude of our mind. The two extremes might be pictured as the extremely reserved through to the highly volatile.
So what has this spiritual state of mind got to do with the heavenly? The attitude that has captured the notion of the still point of life so that one can keep focused on the heart of life. Irrespective of the circumstance, the catastrophic happening, the darkness that can surround ones environment, the despair that engulfs the person overwhelmed with responsibility, the one who time and time again is beaten down to the point of losing all hope, no matter what our day brings, if we can stay focused upon the still point of life, the sacred message of the universe can shine through the wonderful array of the divine in all corners and circumstances of life.
This speaks of attitude, and relates to the notion of one being grounded in the richest sense of reality. It is the life of faith grounded in spirit.
As we turn to the life of Mary and Joseph we are presented with a couple who lived through the most extraordinary circumstance. Mary being confronted by angelic figures suggesting she was pregnant in an era when being ostracized was a harsh penalty for immorality displayed an attitude of trust that left her exceptionally vulnerable. Rejection with no means of self support was virtually life threatening. Her life would now be totally dependent upon the fickle whim of neighbours. Criticism, scorn and deprivation became the order of the day. Her attitude was trust in the still point of life. She believed in herself and thereby the messages she regarded as divine.
Joseph shared the extraordinary circumstance surrounding his engagement to Mary. The thought of such a scandal would so damage his reputation that the common response would have been to dismiss the pregnant Mary from their pending marriage. His challenge comes in the form of a dream with a message to trust that despite how unconventional her pregnancy was it was a Godly act. He risked belief. His attitude mirrored the trust that Mary also had displayed.
I want to emphasize the importance of attitude as the vital mental capacity that guides us through all the circumstances and challenges of life. As I have said, it is the connection with what we might call the still point of experience that keeps us in relationship with the divine. It is an attitude of trust, an openness of attitude, from which the spirit of love, joy, peace, truth, patience and generosity may flow.
ATTITUDE AND HEAVEN
A specific open trusting attitude is what keeps us in tune with the rhythm and harmony of the divine spirit of being, that, which we call God. Mary and Joseph both displayed this extraordinary attitude of trust when faced with a most challenging circumstance of their life.
We can say it was this union of a trusting attitude that made it a marriage in heaven and opened the doorway for the divine to reveal himself to humanity in such a beautiful human way.