The flight into Egypt.
After Mary's Purification and the presentation of Jesus in the temple, Joseph was tempted to settle with his family in Bethlehem because of all that had happened there; but one night, he was visited in sleep by the Archangel Gabriel who said "Arise and take the Child and His Mother and fly into Egypt, and be there until I tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him." (Matt. 2:13)
When Joseph was told to flee he was given no road map or passports (or GPS!). There would be danger from wild beasts and robbers. It was winter. Mary collected the things they would need to put on the ass. Then taking Jesus in his arms, Joseph covered Him with his mantle to conceal Him and shield Him from the wind. Then in the darkness and silence of the night they set out.
The journey was strenuous--filled with fatigue, suffering, and danger. Soon, cries of terror began to pierce the air. Herod, furious at being outwitted by the Magi, issued an order. His soldiers entering Bethlehem with swords drawn, burst into every dwelling and murdered all the male infants. The atrocity spread to surrounding villages.
When they passed through Hebron Mary wanted to stop to warn Elizabeth to save baby John, but Joseph felt that it was too dangerous, so Mary sent an angel to warn her. Elizabeth replied by angel messenger and sent her servant with money, cloth, and supplies to Gaza. (Note: no texting required.) Joseph and their beast of burden were exhausted so the little Family rested there for two days. Mary gave some of the presents received from the Kings and from Elizabeth to the poor whom they met, and made cloaks for the Infant and St. Joseph out of Elizabeth's cloth to keep them warm. Mary would not rely on miracles when she could provide for the family's daily needs by her own efforts.
On the third day they began their journey, on foot, through the 60 leagues (or 180 miles, a league is how far someone can walk in an hour) of the deep sand of the Bersabe desert. The cold desert winds added to the misery. When they ran out of food God provided it. The journey took over 50 days. The Holy Family still had another 140 leagues to go before they reached Heliopolis, now Cairo.
On crossing the border into Egypt, entering each town, the Infant Jesus in Mary's arms raised His eyes and hands to His Father, asking for the salvation of these inhabitants held captive by Satan. The idols crashed to the ground, the altars fell to pieces, and the temples crumbled to ruin. Although most of the Egyptians were astounded at these inexplicable events, the more learned among them remembered what Jeremias had predicted: "a King of the Jews will come and the temple of the idols will be destroyed."
When curious people came to talk to them, Mary would instruct them, telling them about the true God, Creator of Heaven and earth, Who alone is to be adored. All others are false gods. Word soon spread, and many came to hear her. Everywhere the Holy Family travelled, the healing miracles that followed inspired sorrow for sins and love of God.
O God Whose Angels led the Holy Family safely on their journey, in Thy mercy, help us to listen to our Guardian Angels who guide us on our way to Thy paternal embrace in Heaven. This we ask through the merits of Thy Divine Son. Amen.
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|Title Annotation:||MARIAN SERIES|
|Author:||Ferrari, Jeanne Marie|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2015|
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