UNBORN WORD of the day

The dream of St Joseph
May 2, 2009, 1:30 am
Filed under: Unborn Jesus


The Dream of St. Joseph (with unborn Christ Child) by Francisco Rizi (1608-1685)

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court and was promoted by the royal confessor.

The angel comes to Joseph in a dream, pointing to the luminous vision of Mary crowned with stars (Apocalypse 12:1), with the Divine Spirit (dove and triangle) hovering over her and Jesus Incarnate in her womb. The angel also seems to carry a book and a light, perhaps indicating the fulfillment of the prophecies quoted in Matthew’s text. The white flowers may indicate the fruitful virginity that Joseph is to share with Mary and Jesus. Joseph’s halo shows him to be the “righteous man” of faith (Matthew 1:19). The angel communicates to Joseph his vocation as husband of the Mother of God.

Francisco Rizi was the Spanish-born son of a Bolognese painter who went to work for Philip II at the Escorial in 1583. Rizi, became the royal painter to Philip IV in 1658.

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