The three magi had left the manger, and now we see the Holy Family in a run from Herod. The idyllic peace of the crib is suddenly over. From this moment, God’s plan starts to unfold. Jesus with his parents goes to Egypt. With this, Jesus was recapitulating the history of His people. Their flight repeats the captivity of the Jews in Egypt, before the joy of the promise of the New Covenant. So, the Messiah’s work starts with a humble origin - but what a growth and triumph will follow!
The story which started with the birth and the crib is the story of transformation. Members of the Holy Family are transformed, and grow in their care for Jesus, the son of God. Mary and Joseph grow and flourish as caring parents. ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’
So, ‘our journey with the crib’, the crib of Jesus, is about our transformation. Joseph and Mary’s prompt response is to inspire us. That instant response of Joseph shows how the crib inspires. Our care for the life of God in us, purifies us. The quick response of care by Joseph and Mary, its quickness invites us to remove the hindrances to our search for God. Their unselfishness teaches us how not to be full of ourselves. For if one is full of himself or herself, it is difficult to find space for God. On Christmas eve we turned towards the crib, with the Three Wise men we turned towards the star, and now we follow with our attention the Holy Family. The ‘crib’, as it were, requires us to turn away from ourselves…
Their journey to the unknown Egypt is a journey of faith. We can imagine, and we cannot be mistaken, how Joseph and Mary grew in prayer. The journey of the crib thought them to affirm God’s providence how he cared for them. They set an example for us. Following them, our task is to affirm the activity of God in his creation and seek God in our world. We are called to seek his providence in our life and witness to it.
The ‘crib’, the story of the Holy Family, make us face a more general call. It is about our prayer life. There is a need for growth and development in the life of prayer. And this is the practical teaching of the Holy Family. Regardless that one is an introvert or extrovert type (Jung’s typology), ‘we should begin our prayer life by concentrating on our strengths (the intellectual turning to meditation, the more emotional person to affective prayer, an extrovert and active person to charity). Then we need to develop those sides of our nature which will become negative if they are repressed. [In other words, then we have to work on those aspects of our personality, where we are less developed, or not gifted at all.] In this way, we may grow in faith.’ Mary overcome her fear of the angel, Joseph became trusting in God’s guidance.
So let us become part of the Holy Family in a special way, in terms of joining their prayer life, and growth in prayer. Let us be guided by their example and ask ourselves: what are the ways that I can pray best? And what are those areas, where I can pray (I can love) least?
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..