If the life of the Holy Family was a hidden
life in their own country, how much more was this
the case in Egypt? There, amid strangers and
idolaters, they were bereft of all human sympathy
and consolation. In Egypt, how sorely they missed
the happiness of worshiping God in His Temple.
How great a sorrow to them to be deprived of the
weekly services of the Synagogue, and to miss the
congenial companionship of those who were full of
the love of God, and of a longing for the redemption
of Israel. Are we pained when circumstances
prevent us from our accustomed religious duties,
or do we consider it rather as a relief?
Yet, after all, the loss of these external privileges
was of small moment to Mary and Joseph.
Had they not Jesus with them? and in His company
what more could they desire? O happy indeed are
those who have Jesus with them, and who walk
always in His Presence. "When Jesus is present,"
says Thomas a Kempis, "all is well, and nothing
How are we to retain the presence of Jesus
with us? "Be humble and peaceable, and Jesus
will be with you." This is the advice of a Kempis,
this is the lesson that we learn from Mary and
Joseph. Pride drives Him away, self-seeking and
uncharitableness drive Him away. But humility
and gentleness ensure the joy of His abiding
Music: The Shepherds' Farewell
from L' Enfance du Christ Op. 25
by Hector Berlioz
1. Thou must leave Thy lowly dwelling,
The humble crib, the stable bare.
Babe, all mortal babes excelling,
Content our earthly lot to share.
Loving father, Loving mother,
Shelter Thee with tender care!
2. Blessed Jesus, we implore Thee
With humble love and holy fear.
In the land that lies before Thee,
Forget not us who linger here!
May the shepherd's lowly calling,
Ever to Thy heart be dear!
3. Blest are ye beyond all measure,
Thou happy father, mother mild!
Guard ye well your heav'nly treasure,
The Prince of Peace, The Holy Child!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild!