In previous articles we have considered what St. Joseph may have thought when he learned of the conception of the Christ Child and also have compared the evidence from Sts. Matthew and Luke to attempt to create a harmony of the events from the betrothal of St. Joseph and the Virgin through the finding of Jesus in the Temple, our purpose in the current article is to elaborate an additional point which was already covered briefly – Was St. Joseph present at the Visitation?
After briefly establishing the relevant points made from the previous articles, we will consider the arguments in favor of St. Joseph’s presence followed by those opposed to it. In so doing we do not attempt to establish dogma or come to absolute certainty, rather we only desire to gain some understanding of the historical reality of the Visitation of the Mother of God to St. Elizabeth. Certainly, a careful consideration of the Gospel text, together with the tradition of the Fathers and Doctors, will be of great aid to us as we make a meditation upon this mystery. Specifically, we recall that imaginative prayer (especially, that which is in the Ignatian tradition) is deeply rooted in the historical circumstances and details of the mystery – one simply cannot effectively engage this event in imaginative mental prayer without considering whether or not St. Joseph was present.