God can act in unexpected ways, calling for brave acceptance, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- St. Joseph teaches people to learn to take life as it comes and to accept what God has in mind, Pope Francis said.

Speaking about how Joseph reacted to Mary being pregnant while they were still engaged, the pope explained why St. Joseph "gives us an important lesson: He chooses Mary with 'his eyes open,'" and "with all the risks" that came with it.

"They had probably cultivated dreams and expectations regarding their life and their future," he said during his weekly general audience Dec. 1. But then, "out of the blue, God seems to have inserted himself into their lives and, even if at first it was difficult for them, both of them opened their hearts wide to the reality that was placed before them."

During his audience in the Vatican's Paul VI hall, Pope Francis continued a series of talks on St. Joseph, reflecting on his role as a just man and husband of Mary, and what he can teach all engaged couples and newlyweds.

St. Joseph was pious and subject to observing the religious laws of the time, which called for stoning a woman accused of adultery or -- with later interpretations -- a formal repudiation that had civil and criminal consequences for the woman, the pope said. But Joseph's "love for Mary and his trust in her suggested a way he could remain in observance of the law and save the honor of his bride. He decided to repudiate her in secret, without making noise, without subjecting her to public humiliation."