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Me, I think that St. Joseph was an older man, "assigned" to be the Virgin's protector. The "Gospel of the Nativity of Mary," of unknown origin, but translated from the Hebrew original by St. Jerome, says that St. Joseph was of "a man of great age":

From the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary Wrote:Now there was among the rest Joseph, of the house and family of David, a man of great age: and when all brought there rods, according to the order, he alone withheld his. Wherefore, when nothing in conformity with the divine voice appeared, the high priest thought it necessary to consult God a second time; and He answered, that of those who had been designated, he alone to whom the virgin ought to be espoused had not brought his rod. Joseph, therefore, was found out. For when he had brought his rod, and the dove came from heaven; and settled upon the top of it, it clearly appeared to all that he was the man to whom the virgin should be espoused. Therefore, the usual ceremonies of betrothal having been gone through, he went back to the city of Bethlehem to put his house in order, and to procure things necessary for the marriage. But Mary, the virgin of the Lord, with seven other virgins of her own age, and who had been weaned at the same time, whom she had received from the priest, returned to the house of her parents in Galilee.

The "Protoevangelium of St. James," dating to at least A.D. 125 says the same thing:

From the Protoevangelium of St. James Wrote:  VIII

1 And her parents gat them down marveling, and praising the Lord God because tile child was not turned away backward.

And Mary was in the temple of the Lord as a dove that is nurtured: and she received food from the hand of an angel.

2 And when she was twelve years old, there was a council of the priests, saying: Behold Mary is become twelve years old in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her ? lest she pollute the sanctuary of the Lord. And they said unto the high priest: Thou standest over the altar of the Lord. Enter in and pray concerning her: And whatsoever the Lord shall reveal to thee, that let us do.

3 And the high priest took the vestment with the twelve bells and went in unto the Holy of Holies and prayed concerning her. And lo, an angel of tile Lord appeared saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias~ go forth and assemble them that are widowers of the people, and let them bring every man a rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went forth over all the country round about Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all men ran thereto.

IX

1 And Joseph cast down his axe and ran to meet them, and when they were gathered together they went to the high priest and took their rods with them. And he took the rods of them all and went into the temple and prayed. And when he had finished the prayer he took the rods and went forth and gave them back to them: and there was no sign upon them. But Joseph received the last rod: and lo, a dove came forth of the rod and flew upon the bead of Joseph. And the priest said unto Joseph: Unto thee hath it fallen to take the virgin of the Lord and keep her for thyself.

2 And Joseph refused, saying: I have sons, and I am an old man, but she is a girl: lest I became a laughing-stock to the children of Israel. And the priest said unto Joseph: Year the Lord thy God, and remember what things God did unto Dathan and Abiram and Korah, how the earth clave and they were swallowed up because of their gainsaying. And now fear thou, Joseph, lest it be so in thine house. And Joseph was afraid, and took her to keep her for himself. And Joseph said unto Mary: Lo, I have received thee out of the temple of the Lord: and now do I leave thee in my house, and I go away to build my buildings and I will come again unto thee. The Lord shall watch over thee.

One reason why I like picturing him as older is that it helps make her perpetual virginity more instantaneously "believable." Christmas cards, for ex., that show a young, lovely Mary and a strapping lad of a Joseph lead folks, I'd guess, to thinking that sexual expressions of their love for each other would be a "given" (even though it obviously doesn't follow logically that youth=inability to remain chaste, but people's minds work the way people's minds work).

I prefer to think of St. Joseph like this:

[Image: feastofstjosephpainting.jpg]

What about you guys?

The troparion for the eve of the nativity in the Eastern tradition refers to him as "the aged Joseph."  That's how I think of him; I agree, everything seems to make more sense that way. 
Just for fun, here's a recording of some monks from a monastery near my home singing the troparion: https://ia601500.us.archive.org/10/items...Tone_3.mp3

The Blessed Virgin Mary was probably a beautiful girl not merely in the moral sense, but also in every aspect in which a woman could be beautiful - and thus attractive to men. Since God was going to become incarnate of this woman's flesh, it was imperative that everything be perfect. Prudence is perfect in God, and it would seem that prudence demands an older man to care for this younger woman. No fleshly lust could have distracted a noble and majestic elder from his solemn task.

I do not believe it would be positively against the Gospel for Joseph to have been Mary's age or slightly older, however. We're talking about saints, here - people characterized by heroic virtue and love of God & neighbour. The fact that Scripture calls them espoused conjures a beautiful image of family life between two people of the same age.

Since Joseph was not around for the Crucifixion, of course, we should probably think an elder Joseph is more likely...?
   
    I believe St. Joesph was older and had been married but his wife died.  He had children with his first wife, I believe.

    I know for a fact that the Jewish descent practices don't have "cousins."  One male cousins on the father's side are called "brothers."  Read about Jacob.  He married his first cousins, the daughters of his uncle.  On the other hand it was considered incest to marry the daughters of his mother's siblings.

      This is why some believe the Blessed Mother had other children besides Jesus Christ.  This is foolish.

MC
(04-06-2014, 08:49 PM)Militaris Christi Wrote: [ -> ]   
     I believe St. Joesph was older and had been married but his wife died.  He had children with his first wife, I believe.

     I know for a fact that the Jewish descent practices don't have "cousins."   One male cousins on the father's side are called "brothers."  Read about Jacob.  He married his first cousins, the daughters of his uncle.   On the other hand it was considered incest to marry the daughters of his mother's siblings.

       This is why some believe the Blessed Mother had other children besides Jesus Christ.  This is foolish.

MC

100% agree. As a matter of fact, Protoevangelium of St. James (quoted by Vox) says that:

And lo, an angel of tile Lord appeared saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias~ go forth and assemble them that are widowers of the people, and let them bring every man a rod, and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went forth over all the country round about Judaea, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all men ran thereto.
(04-06-2014, 08:35 PM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]The Blessed Virgin Mary was probably a beautiful girl not merely in the moral sense, but also in every aspect in which a woman could be beautiful - and thus attractive to men. Since God was going to become incarnate of this woman's flesh, it was imperative that everything be perfect. Prudence is perfect in God, and it would seem that prudence demands an older man to care for this younger woman. No fleshly lust could have distracted a noble and majestic elder from his solemn task.

I do not believe it would be positively against the Gospel for Joseph to have been Mary's age or slightly older, however. We're talking about saints, here - people characterized by heroic virtue and love of God & neighbour. The fact that Scripture calls them espoused conjures a beautiful image of family life between two people of the same age.

Since Joseph was not around for the Crucifixion, of course, we should probably think an elder Joseph is more likely...?

So her moral beauty was manifest in physical beauty? Perfect symmetry? No blemishes? Nary an ingrowing hair? All sounds very Platonic.
I a of the opinion that Saint Joseph was an older man as well.  Everything in the early Church seems to point to it, even if the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary isn't divinely inspired, it is still a record of the beliefs of the early Christians.  I do not think he was necessarily a widower.  Saint Joseph was predestined to be the guardian and protector of the Holy Family.  That was his vocation.  I don't get a sense that he had to go out and "live his life" before taking up his role as spouse of the Blessed Virgin and foster-father to Our Lord Jesus Christ.  That almost implies that another woman, other children, took "precedence" over the greatest of all women and the best of all children.  Of course it's merely a thought exercise, but I imagine that Saint Joseph was advanced in years but had lived a celibate life.  He had not "found the right woman" as it were.  He just prayed and worked and waiting for God to make known to him what He wanted of him.  And then he found his vocation, to live in service to the Blessed Mother and her Divine Son, providing for their material needs, protecting them and guarding them.  The thought that concupiscence ever had its sway with him in regards to the Blessed Virgin never crossed my mind.  Our Lady must have been extraordinarily beautiful.  But her beauty, although earthly, would have simply directed the eyes to God.  I doubt someone would find an angel attractive in a sexual way, I do not think Our Lady would have ever been viewed such by any man, not just Saint Joseph.  But furthermore, Saint Joseph would have lived decades in prayer.  He would have been well prepared for his vocation.  He was a just man, a good man.

I cannot help but see him on the streets of Cairo, exiled from his native land to protect his family.  Begging on the streets to bring home a little bread and milk to his spouse and his foster-child.  His clothes ragged, his beard grey and matted.  But unbowed.  Straight backed, regal despite his rags.  A prefiguration of the Christ crowned with brutal thorns.
St. Joseph was 34 and Our Lady was 14 at the Nativity of Our Lord. 

It is acceptable to hold whichever pious legend from the non canonical sources above if it helps your faith.

While 34 may have been considered "old"  (and around 64 at his death -- sometime before the public ministry of Our Lord), my preference is a young or middle aged St. Joseph in art and iconography.

St. Joseph is powerful with God -- Ite ad Ioseph !
(04-07-2014, 04:33 AM)loggats Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-06-2014, 08:35 PM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]The Blessed Virgin Mary was probably a beautiful girl not merely in the moral sense, but also in every aspect in which a woman could be beautiful - and thus attractive to men. Since God was going to become incarnate of this woman's flesh, it was imperative that everything be perfect. Prudence is perfect in God, and it would seem that prudence demands an older man to care for this younger woman. No fleshly lust could have distracted a noble and majestic elder from his solemn task.

I do not believe it would be positively against the Gospel for Joseph to have been Mary's age or slightly older, however. We're talking about saints, here - people characterized by heroic virtue and love of God & neighbour. The fact that Scripture calls them espoused conjures a beautiful image of family life between two people of the same age.

Since Joseph was not around for the Crucifixion, of course, we should probably think an elder Joseph is more likely...?

So her moral beauty was manifest in physical beauty? Perfect symmetry? No blemishes? Nary an ingrowing hair? All sounds very Platonic.

No; rather, her inner beauty and immaculate perfection shined through her person in the same way that an old, holy nun - though perhaps blemished, wrinkled, and decrepit - seems to shine with the beauty of eternal youth, for she has a childlike spirit. That is very desirable and attractive to men in an unusual way, for they can strongly observe the beauty of the image of God such a woman. This would have made it very much harder for a younger Joseph to keep chastity.

That said, I am rather partial to some aspects of Platonism. Who better to incarnate the heavenly forms than the Blessed Virgin? Wink
(04-07-2014, 09:08 AM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-07-2014, 04:33 AM)loggats Wrote: [ -> ]
(04-06-2014, 08:35 PM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]The Blessed Virgin Mary was probably a beautiful girl not merely in the moral sense, but also in every aspect in which a woman could be beautiful - and thus attractive to men. Since God was going to become incarnate of this woman's flesh, it was imperative that everything be perfect. Prudence is perfect in God, and it would seem that prudence demands an older man to care for this younger woman. No fleshly lust could have distracted a noble and majestic elder from his solemn task.

I do not believe it would be positively against the Gospel for Joseph to have been Mary's age or slightly older, however. We're talking about saints, here - people characterized by heroic virtue and love of God & neighbour. The fact that Scripture calls them espoused conjures a beautiful image of family life between two people of the same age.

Since Joseph was not around for the Crucifixion, of course, we should probably think an elder Joseph is more likely...?

So her moral beauty was manifest in physical beauty? Perfect symmetry? No blemishes? Nary an ingrowing hair? All sounds very Platonic.

No; rather, her inner beauty and immaculate perfection shined through her person in the same way that an old, holy nun - though perhaps blemished, wrinkled, and decrepit - seems to shine with the beauty of eternal youth, for she has a childlike spirit. That is very desirable and attractive to men in an unusual way, for they can strongly observe the beauty of the image of God such a woman. This would have made it very much harder for a younger Joseph to keep chastity.

That said, I am rather partial to some aspects of Platonism. Who better to incarnate the heavenly forms than the Blessed Virgin? Wink

Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?

Tis the form of the divine feminine, as expounded by men Wink
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