There is an ancient tradition that when the time
came for the Virgin Mary to be betrothed her guardians ordered lots to be drawn,
so that God himself might choose a worthy spouse for the ward of the Temple. The
order was that the candidates for Mary’s hand should each place a branch of an
almond tree overnight in the Temple. When morning came and all were assembled at
the appointed place, it was found that the smooth branch of Joseph, son of
Jacob, had blossomed into a beautiful flower and leaf. This sign was held by all
as a testimony of Joseph’s worthiness.