Exile – In these days of ongoing reflection after Christmas and Epiphany, I can’t help wondering about what life must have been like for the Holy Family after the departure of the Kings.
We know the angel instructed St Joseph to get to the safety of Egypt. I wonder how safe it was? I suppose it must have been relatively safe. Indeed, much safer for whatever period it needed to be because frankly the brutal, merciless, cruel intentions and actions of Herod made it so.
The Holy Family went into exile under the sacrificial protection of the precious blood of the Holy Innocents. The moral and spiritual power of their martyrdom must surely have given added protection for their journey and sojourn in Egypt.
We don’t know how long they had to stay.
Was Jesus still a baby or was he a toddler or older by the time Joseph got the all clear to return to Nazareth?
One thing is for sure. The Holy Family was safe where they were, however, strange and foreign and challenging it must have been.
And life can be a bit like that for us at times. We can feel forced out of our comfort zones and habits of routine or even have to physically be somewhere else doing something else for a time or indefinite period. The point is to trust that we are never out of God’s loving care. We are where we are supposed to be at that point even in pain and suffering and hardship.
Exile even existential exile need not cut us off completely from our roots and like the Holy Family grace will guide us back to where we belong more. Their time in Egypt must surely have made them stronger and more resilient to face the future. Our struggles and discomforts, long or short, can do the same if we surrender our will to Him and face our fears, especially in prayer.