• 28 JANUARY, 2020
Joseph: A Compassionate and Faithful husband

Joseph, the son of Aaron worked as a carpenter in the House of Prayer. They repair and make new furniture ordered by community people. Joseph and his family lived in Nazareth. Joseph was good-looking and had a glowing personality. Joachim met him during work and liked him for being civilized, respectful, and accommodating. Joseph was a man of strong beliefs, he knew what was right and made wise and sound decisions.

The historical religious fiction, I Am Only Mary written by Thomas Atzberger explores the life of Mary and the events that happen when Mary reached adulthood. The story explicates the meeting of Joachim with Joseph’s father to discuss the betrothal of their children. Mary’s betrothal had to be taken place with Joseph. He belonged to a respectable family. Joseph’s high character nobility, good values, and truthfulness impelled Joachim to consider him a perfect suitor for his daughter. Joseph’s family liked Mary due to her simple, loving personality, politeness, and helpful nature.

The decision of betrothal with Mary developed a new sense of relationship in Joseph for he became more responsible. Considering his knowledge of manhood, and family traditions, Joseph began to plan his work in evening hours and worked hard to provide for himself and his betrothed. However, when the betrothal of Mary to Joseph was about to be announced by both families, Joseph received improbable and unconvincing news about Mary’s childbearing. It was a test of faith and patience to hear such devastating news about the person whom he was dreaming to be his future life partner. At first, Joseph was shocked and abruptly stated to Mary’s parents, “Thank you for coming. I must consider what I am to do.” He left the room quickly.

Joseph suspected that Mary had committed adultery against him during their betrothal. He was advised by his parents to divorce Mary. When he finally decided to leave Mary, his misperception about Mary was resolved by a strange vision of the Holy Spirit that confirmed Mary’s purity and virginity. Being faithful and righteous, Joseph felt convinced. This was the turning point of the story that saved Mary’s betrothal and strengthened her relationship with Joseph.

According to Bible, Joseph faithfully lived up to his promises to Mary. He respected her and took care of her during childbirth. Therefore, the highest compliment given to Joseph was a just, pure, and upright man. Joseph was wholeheartedly obedient to God in marrying Mary. Consequently, he practiced his faith and obeyed all the spiritual rules and regulations to lead a prosperous marriage life. When Mary was leaving to meet Elizabeth, Joseph spoke to Mary with pure sentiments, “I will miss you very much. Please be very careful. God is with us as we put our faith in Him.” With hugs and goodbyes, they separated.

Joseph showed more compassion and care for Mary as he is unwilling to expose Mary to shame in the community. He upholds her good name and defends her reputation when community people humiliate Mary by injuring her dignity and pride. The scriptures state that Joseph became closer to God as angels appeared numerous times in Joseph's dreams. Being compliant with God’s command, Joseph promptly obeyed. Hence, he was a true and faithful companion of Mary who stayed faithful to Mary and supported her in tough and challenging times. He practiced self-control and is a wonderful biblical example of integrity and godly character.

About The Book

Reading the book will help you know the pious role of Mary. The narrative fiction I Am Only Mary by Thomas W. Atzberger makes Mary accessible to us as a fellow Christian, emphasizing her humanity and her virtuous living of the call God gave to her. Mary, being a righteous and angelic adolescent showed her obedience and love for God by surrendering herself to God’s command.

The book reveals Mary’s life and character elements we rarely know about. It depicts different stages of Mary’s growth from childhood to adulthood when Mary’s Annunciation took place by the Angel Gabriel. Mary’s betrothal process with Joseph was planned. When she received a vision from The Holy Spirit that Mary will conceive and bear a holy child. Readers come to know about the high noble character of Joseph and how he convinced both families to continue with the wedding.

The story talks about Mary’s visit to Elizabeth who was also expecting a child in old age and Jewish rituals after the birth of the child. At the end of the book, Mary departed after spending her best time with Elizabeth. Mary felt more confident and strong to execute the big responsibilities ahead. She courageously lived out her life, day to day, fulfilling her role as a caring and loving wife, and, ultimately, looking forward to the birth of her child.

This book is a must-read. The religious fiction, I Am Only Mary is available on different online platforms. Anyone who has a keen interest in knowing about the probable details of Mary’s journey will find narrative fiction more appealing. Since the history and biography about Mary are hardly available, reading this prose meditation brings us close to her.

About the Author

Thomas Atzberger is a retired lawyer from Columbus, Ohio. He completed three years of college-level studies in a Catholic seminary before earning degrees from John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Thomas is an attorney by training and is a supervisor of stockbrokers. He has been married to his wife Christina since 1970, with three adult children. The inspiration to compile this amazing work comes from Thomas's life experience as a husband, father, uncle, neighbor, and relative of many in his extended family. His earnest feelings are that we should follow virtuous living like Mary and practice religious acts that work out our salvation. Thomas Atzberger aims to make Mary’s biography more interesting for the readers.