I can imagine myself in Joseph’s shoes… or maybe slippers, as he awakes, gets out of bed and considers what he just dreamed. First of all, was that just a dream or was it really the voice of an angel? More important, I already know what needs to be done. I am a compassionate guy and I am going to take care of this situation in a manner which does not draw undue attention to Mary’s indiscretion. It is the right thing, what society demands and what my religion requires. I must end this relationship now.

But what is this voice I am hearing? Why would I even consider doing anything but what I have already planned? Why is my heart not quite comfortable with the plan? This whole situation is too disappointing and too painful. I feel sorry for Mary, but what about me? What if this is God talking to me? What if this is God’s invitation to my special role in salvation history? I am just going to have to trust and jump in one direction or another. I will answer the simple question, “What does love require?”

—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits