Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’
Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’
Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola proposes a contemplation on the Hidden Life of Jesus who honored his father and obeyed his mother. The object Ignatius proposes is “the obedience of the Child Jesus to his parents.” Jesus freely accepted his most ordinary, most average family life as normal. He played with the other boys, sat at the feet of the rabbi to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah, hung around Joseph in the workshop, loved family meals, learned to pray from his parents, attended synagogue every Sabbath.
Like me, many retreatants have found imaginative contemplation on our Lord and Savior as the child Jesus very nourishing. They see him with his Mother watching over him, or Joseph teaching him. St. Ignatius was right; all these aspects of his Hidden Life are certainly worth contemplating so that we may attain a more profound loving understanding of Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.
—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, is a retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA.
O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate Jesus, Mary and Joseph in practicing the virtues of family life in the bonds of love, so that the joy of our home may be a foretaste of life in our Heavenly Home.
—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, based on the collect prayer for the Feast of the Holy FamilyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!