On the Reason Why Jesus’ Flight Was into Egypt.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Reason Why Jesus’ Flight Was into Egypt.
The Holy Family on their flight into Egypt had to journey for seven days across the desert of Sur, and up to the present time two lofty granite pillars mark the spot where they crossed the boundary line between Asia and Africa. Who could enumerate the hardships and privations which the Holy Family had to endure on the way through the desolate wilderness! And when you contemplate them following this difficult and toilsome route, do you ask, my soul, whether it was by chance or deliberate intention that Jesus chose for His flight this troublesome journey to Egypt in preference to any other? Unquestionably it was with intention, for only consider:
1st. Although the whole world belonged to our Lord, although He could have made choice for His exile of the land of the wise men, where He would assuredly have been received with open arms and treated with the utmost respect, yet He fixes upon Egypt in particular, although the journey thither presented such great difficulties, and where He could only dwell as a despised alien, in poverty and obscurity. Do you not, my soul, see herein a fresh manifestation of the self-denial, the renunciation of the divine Lord, which He practised from the very first moment of His entry into the world and continued to practise in His every act until His death upon the cross?
Shame upon you, my soul! In a holy spirit of self-sacrifice, out of love for you, Jesus, when fleeing from His native country, chooses for the place of His exile the land where the greatest suffering, the utmost contumely awaits Him, and yet you desire, fleeing as you are from the world, always to live in that place, to occupy that part where you will have the least suffering, the most enjoyment, the minimum of work, the maximum of leisure; where you will meet with the fewest rebuffs, the most numerous marks of esteem. Is it not to be feared that your flight is not being made in the right direction?
2d. Consider that Jesus, by His flight into Egypt, showed Himself at once in His character of Saviour of the world. No nation was at that period so given over to idolatry as the Egyptians were; they even worshipped a heifer as their god, and were sunk in the most degrading superstition. And it is to this very people that the Redeemer goes for refuge. He who is the true God goes to the land of the false gods. He, the Light of the world, goes into the kingdom of darkness, of superstition. Born in the land of Judea, the divine Child now flies to the heathen, for He is sent to redeem both Jews and Gentiles. Consequently immediately upon His entry into the land of Egypt all the idols fall down, according to the prophecy of Isaias. (xix. 1.) “Behold the Lord will enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at His presence.” What a singular thing! The devil seeks through Herod’s instrumentality to compass the death of the divine Child, and what is the result of his efforts? The holy Child retires into Egypt, in order to destroy the dominion of the devil in that land, where he reigned supreme. O my soul, if at any time you are called upon suddenly to quit a position which use has rendered congenial, a calling which years have endeared to you, a place of abode that you delight in, do not murmur; you know not what may be the wise designs of God, any more than St. Joseph suspected how all-important it was that he should direct his flight to the land of Egypt.
3d. Consider, in order to realize more completely the fact of the flight, the words of the prophet, which were accomplished during that flight: “Waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness.” (Is. xxxv. 6.) Tradition relates that the Holy Family took up their abode in the vicinity of Heliopolis, and that a spring welled out of the ground to afford them refreshment; this spring is now known as the holy well, and has given its name to the city hard by. Thus the words above quoted: “ Waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness,” were literally fulfilled; and not only literally but figuratively as well. For this fount of water is Christ, and the streams that issued from it and fertilized the desert, are the holy monks and anchorites who by their presence in that very tract of country caused Egypt, which before Christ was notorious for its idol-worship, to become after Christ a focus of light to the whole Christian world. O what a remarkable fact is this! Herod, when seated on the throne of Juda, persecutes and seeks to destroy the new-born Christ, compelling Him to fly for refuge to Egypt, and two hundred years later we see the occupant of the imperial throne of Rome, the Herod of his day, persecuting the infant Christian Church, forcing it again to fly to Egypt; and Egypt is thus peopled by holy monks and anchorites who from thence pour forth a vivifying stream that flows to all the ends of the earth.
Therefore praise and adore the wisdom of God to conclude your meditation to-day. What, if looked at from an earthly standpoint, could be more pitiable, more abject than the Holy Family flying fearful and alarmed across the desert to the frontier, and yet what, if viewed by the eye of faith, could be more truly great, more rich in blessings than that flight? Wherefore let there be no more murmuring, but on the contrary, childlike submission to the designs of God’s providence, strange and mysterious as they may oftentimes appear.
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, brightness of eternal light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, sun of justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, lover of us, have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of peace, have mercy on us.
Jesus, author of life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, example of virtues, have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous lover of souls, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our refuge, have mercy on us.
Jesus, father of the poor, have mercy on us.
Jesus, treasure of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us.
Jesus, true light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal wisdom, have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite goodness, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our way and our life, have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us.
Jesus, strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us.
Jesus, light of Confessors, have mercy on us.
Jesus, purity of Virgins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, crown of all Saints, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From Thy wrath, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus.
From the neglect of Thine inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus.
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy most divine life, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy labors, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Cross and dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy death and burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let Us Pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who has said, Ask and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you, mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name, for Thou never failest to help and to govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast love: who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen.
– Raccolta 113
An indulgence of 7 years.A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, for the daily and devout recitation of this litany (S. C. Ind., Jan. 16, 1886; S. P. Ap., Jan. 2, 1933).
Prayer in honor of the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times. – Thomas A. Kempis
Prayer of Reparation in Praise of the Holy Name of God entitled:
“The Golden Arrow”
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in heaven on earth and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most Holy Sacrament of the altar. Amen.
Prayer in honor of the Holy Name
O my Jesus, Thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. Hitherto I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
Most holy Virgin, obtain for me the grace of invoking the name of Thy Son Jesus in all my necessities, together with thine own, my Mother Mary; but let me invoke them always with confidence and love, so that I may be able also to say to thee as did the devout Alphonsus Rodriguez: “Jesus and Mary, may I suffer for you; may I die for you; may I be wholly yours, and in nothing my own!” O my beloved Jesus! O Mary, my beloved Lady! give me the grace to suffer and to die for your love. I will be no longer my own, but altogether yours; yours in life, and yours in death, when I hope by your help to expire saying, Jesus and Mary, help me! Jesus and Mary, I recommend myself to you; Jesus and Mary, I love you, and I give and deliver up to you my whole soul.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus de Liguori. p. 163 (Imprimatur 1927)
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P.S. 17th day for anyone praying Total Consecration by St. Louis de Montfort that ends February 2nd!