But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
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Ambrose of Milan
In this word “appeared” is conveyed the power of Him that did appear, allowing Himself to be seen where and how He pleases.
Be not troubled that he calls her his wife; for she is no therein robbed of her virginity, but her wedlock is witnessed to, and the celebration of her marriage is declared.
Yet though Joseph think on these things, let not Mary the daughter of David be troubled; as the word of the Prophet brought pardon to David, so the Angel of the Saviour delivers Mary. Behold, again appears Gabriel the brides man of this Virgin; as it follows, “Behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph.”
But if Christ was born by the agency of the Holy Spirit, how is that said, “Wisdom hath built herself an house?” For though God made the world, yet is it not right to say that it is the Son of God, or born by Him, but that it was made, or created, or formed by Him. But seeing that we confess Christ to have been born by the Holy Spirit, and of the Virgin Mary, how is He not the Son of the Holy Spirit, and is the Son of the Virgin? It does not follow, that whatever is born by any thing, is therefore to be called the son of that thing; for, not to say that of man is born in one sense a son, in another a hair, or vermin, or a worm, none of which are his son, certainly those that are b...
While St. Joseph, yet uninformed of so great a mystery, wanted to put away Mary quietly, he was advised in a dream by an angel who said to him, “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit.” St. Joseph is made aware of the heavenly mystery, lest he think otherwise about Mary’s virginity. He is also made aware of this that he might exclude the evil of suspicion and receive the good of the mystery. The following words were said to him: “Do not be afraid, Joseph, son of David, to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit,” so he might acknowledge the integrity of his fiancée and the virgin birth. It was not appropriate for so great a mystery to be revealed to anyone other than Joseph, who was known to be Mary’s fiancé, and no reproach of sin was attached to his name. In fact, Joseph translated from Hebrew into Latin means “beyond reproach.” Notice here too the order...
Ap Anselm: In this is to be noted the wise soul that desires to undertake nothing rashly.
part Int., part Anselm: The Angel appearing calls him by name, and adds his descent, in order to banish fear, “Joseph, son of David;” Joseph, as though hewere known to him by name and his familiar friend.
ord: To be “born in her,” and “born of her,” are two different things; to be born of her is to come into the world; to be born in her, is the same as to be conceived. Or the word, “born,” is used according to the foreknowledge of the Angel which he has of God, to whom the future is as the past.
But we are not to think that she ceased to be betrothed, because she is here called wife, since we know that this is the Scripture manner to call the man and woman, when espoused, husband and wife; and this is confirmed by that text in Deuteronomy, “If one finds a virgin that is betrothed to a man in the field, and offer violence to her, and lie with her, he shall die, because he hat humbled his neighbour’s wife.”
How then did the angel assure Joseph? Hear and marvel at the wisdom of these words: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife.” The angel instantly puts him in mind of David, from whose seed the Anointed One would spring. He did not allow him to be confused by the exalted title of his forefather or remind him that the promise was made to the whole race. Rather, he addresses him personally as “Joseph, Son of David.” … By saying “fear not,” he indicates that Joseph had been afraid, lest he might give offense to God by retaining an adulteress under the law. If it had not been for this, he would not have even thought of casting her out. The angel came from God to bring forward and set before him clearly what he thought to do and what he felt in his mind. The angel did not only mention her by name but also simply called her “your wife.” He would not have called her so if she had been unfaithful. Even as espoused, he speaks of her as “your wife,” just as Scripture commonly ca...
Also observe the mercifulness of Joseph, that he imparted his suspicions to none, not even to her whom he suspected, but kept them within himself.
He did not appear so openly to Joseph as to the Shepherds, because he was faithful; the shepherds needed it, because they were ignorant. The Virgin also needed it, as she had first to be instructed in these mighty wonders. In like manner Zacharias needed the wonderful vision before the conception of his son.
But by saying, “Be not afraid,” he shows him to be in fear that he had offended God, by having an adulteress; for only as such would he have ever thought of putting her away.
As her betrothed husband also he is admonished not to be afraid; for the mind that compassionates has most fear; as though he were to say, Here is no cause of death, but of life; she that brings forth life, does not deserve death.
Also by the words, “Fear not,” he desired to show that he knew the heart; that by this he might have the more faith in those good things ...
The very thing which had made him afraid and for which he would have cast her out— this very thing, I say, was a just cause why he should take her and retain her in his house. This more than entirely did away with his distress. It is as if the angel were saying, “For she is not only free from unlawful sexual relations but her very conception is above all natural causes. So not only put away your fear but rejoice even more greatly, ‘for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’” What a strange thing he spoke of, surpassing human reasoning and all the laws of nature. How then might one be made able to believe such an announcement that would be so wholly unexpected? Only by viewing this event in relation to past disclosures in Scripture. For with this intent the angel laid open to Joseph all things that were in his mind, what he felt, what he feared, what he was resolved to do, so that he would be wholly reassured. And not only by past revelations in Scripture but also by the...
Do you see the mildness of the husband? So far from punishing, he did not even declare it to any one, no not even to her whom he suspected, but was thinking it over with himself, as aiming to conceal the cause even from the Virgin herself. For neither is it said that he was minded to cast her out, but to put her away, so very mild and gentle was the man. But while he is thinking on these things, the angel appears in a dream.
And why not openly, as to the shepherds, and to Zacharias, and to the Virgin? The man was exceedingly full of faith, and needed not this vision. Whereas the Virgin, as having declared to her very exceeding good tidings, greater than to Zacharias, and this before the event, needed also a marvellous vision; and the shepherds, as being by disposition rather dull and clownish. But this man, after the conception, and wide the interval between the two men; wherefore neither was there need of rebuke.
But by saying, fear not, he signifies him to have been afraid, les...
How the Angel appeared to Joseph is declared in the words, “In his sleep;” that is, as Jacob saw the ladder offered by a kind of imagining to the eyes of his heart.
Or, “to take her,” that is, in marriage union and continual converse.
Because Joseph was minded, as has been said, to put Mary away privily, which if he had done, there would have been few who would not rather have thought her a harlot than a virgin, therefore this purpose of Joseph was changed by Divine revelation, whence it is said, “While he thought on these things.”
When the righteous one was uncertain, then the angel appeared in order to show him what to do. The angel appeared to him in a dream, because Joseph had great faith. With the shepherds the angel conversed openly, as they were rough country men; but the angel spoke to Joseph, who was righteous and believing, in his sleep. How could Joseph not believe, when the angel spoke to him of matters that were in his mind and that he had not revealed to anyone? For it says, "while he pondered," but did not speak of, these things, the angel appeared to him. It was right that he believed the angel to be of God, for it is the attribute of God to know the things that are unspoken.
The angel called him "son of David" to remind him that the prophets had foretold that the Christ would come from the seed of David. It is as if the angel were saying to him, "Do not doubt, but remember David who received the promise concerning Christ."
Here he shows that Joseph was afraid to keep her, lest he spurn God by...