The Holy Spouses prayer, repeated ten times for each mystery, is patterned after the “Hail, Mary.” It opens with the two titles with which the angel addresses Mary and Joseph at their respective annunciations: “Mary, full of grace, and Joseph, son of David” (Lk 1:28, Mt 1:20). Next, the Church’s time-honored title for Mary, “Mother of God,” is complemented by the Church’s more recent choice of title for Joseph, “guardian of the Redeemer.” While Mary and Joseph are honored, the child Jesus is eternally praised: he is the center of their family, and his name remains at the very center of this prayer, as it should for every prayer. Mary and Joseph are invoked together as “Holy Spouses” and their prayers are sought not simply for ourselves as individuals, but also for our families and communities. The prayer is:
Mary, full of grace, and Joseph, son of David; honor to you, Mother of God, and to you, guardian of the Redeemer. Eternal praise to the child with whom you formed a family, JESUS.
Holy Spouses, pray for us sinners, our families and communities, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Bringing together the two annunciations to Mary and Joseph and their common role of parenting and raising Jesus, the words of this prayer provide a background for the events of the coming of the Messiah into the world and for his years of hidden preparation for his public ministry. Jesus is clearly the object of these annunciations and of this attentive upbringing. The prayer puts us into living communion with Jesus through the love of his mother and earthly father.