FLIGHT TO EGYPT: ST. JOSEPH’S FAITH AND OBEDIENCE
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.’ (Mt 2:13-15).”
The above Gospel taken from St. Matthew relates to us how God works in mysterious ways, making known His Will to St. Joseph, in the midst of that peaceful and silent night after the most important event in the history of mankind had just transpired: the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Angel’s message to St. Joseph did not at all perturb him. It is impressive to read how “he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt”…simply just that! As St. John Chrysostom comments to this Gospel scene:
“On hearing this, Joseph was not shocked nor did he say: This is strange. You yourself made it known not long ago that he would save his people, and now you are incapable even of saving him — we have to flee, to set out on a long journey and spend a long while in a strange place; that contradicts your promise. Joseph does not think in this way, for he is a man who trusts God. Nor does he ask when he will return, even though the angel left it so vague: Stay there, until I tell you to return. Joseph does not object; he obeys and believes and joyfully accepts all the trials.”
St. Joseph and Mother Mary did not give in to interior complications, to complaints or negative, and critical thoughts. They had an enormous faith in God and obedient to His Will. St. Joseph was an ordinary man with great faith in and obedience to God, on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what God wanted him to do in a prompt and wholehearted manner, without wavering nor faltering, although it meant complicating his life, going to a country whose customs, people and language are unknown to him. As St. Josemaria comments:
“Joseph entrusted himself unreservedly to the care of God, but he always reflected on events and so was able to reach that level of understanding of the works of God which is true wisdom. In this way he learned little by little that supernatural plans have a logic that at times upsets human plans. In the different circumstances of his life, St Joseph never refuses to think, never neglects his responsibilities. On the contrary, he puts his human experience at the service of faith… That’s the way St Joseph’s faith was: full, confident, complete. And it expressed itself in an effective dedication to the will of God and an intelligent obedience. With the faith went love. His faith nurtured his love of God, who was fulfilling the promises made to Abraham, Jacob and Moses, and his affection for Mary his wife and her Son. This faith, hope and love would further the great mission which God was beginning in the world through, among others, a carpenter in Galilee: the redemption of man. (Christ is passing by, n. 42).”
Dear friends, let us ask the help of St. Joseph, Master of Interior Life, the man who loved Jesus most, so that we too, may have a firm faith and operative obedience, lovingly fulfilling God’s Will without reserve without being afraid of complicating our lives.
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Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.
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