The Life of Mary (5): Surprise!

According to an ancient story* Mary was twelve years old when she became engaged to Joseph, a widower with children. Life is full of surprises. I wonder what helps me learn to welcome them?

The flowering of Joseph's rod in the Life of Mary Window by Jill K H Geoffrion
Mary and Joseph looking at each other after learning of their future marriage

My Prayer:

God, may I be ready for the surprises of this day so that I am able to say, “Yes” to what You bring into my life.

The flowering of Joseph's rod in the Life of Mary Window by Jill K H Geoffrion
Mary with one hand resting on her abdomen and one hand reaching towards Joseph

Scriptural Touchstones:

You, O God, are my hope, my trust, O God, from my youth. Psalm 71:5 (NRSV)

Invitation To Pray:

The flowering of Joseph's rod in the Life of Mary Window by Jill K H Geoffrion
Joseph with his rod green and flowering–a sign that he is destined to be Mary’s husband

How would you like your hands to express your prayer today? Use them to pray now.


The flowering of Joseph's rod in the Life of Mary Window by Jill K H Geoffrion

Joseph and Mary discovering that they are to wed in the Life of the Virgin Window (1217-1220) in the south choir aisle at the Chartres Cathedral in France. This scene fills the right pane in the fourth row from the bottom.

Life of Mary Window by Jill K H Geoffrion

*Note: This story comes from the apocryphal Gospel of James written around 150-175 CE.
“Behold, Mary has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: You stand by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto you, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by Zacharias, saying unto him: Zacharias, Zacharias, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be.
And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judæa, and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran. And Joseph, throwing away his axe, went out to meet them; and when they had assembled, they went away to the  priest, taking with them their rods. And he, taking the rods of all of them, entered into the temple, and prayed; and having ended his prayer, he took the rods and came out, and gave them to them: but there was no sign in them, and Joseph took his rod last; and, behold, a dove came out of the rod, and flew upon Joseph’s head. And the priest said to Joseph, You have been chosen by lot to take into your keeping the virgin of the Lord.”

Other Posts in This Series:
Life of Mary (1): Mary’s Birth
Life of Mary (2) Mary’s First Bath
Life of Mary (3): Willing
Life of Mary (4): The Word

Jill K H Geoffrion

Serving as a contemplative Christian minister and artist by compassionately and creatively inspiring others to seek a deeper relationship with God and a more meaningful life of service.


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