View all Novenas | September 8, 2022
Day 3 – The Flight into Egypt
Day 3 – The Flight into Egypt
“When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son.” Hosea 11:1
The second of Mary’s sorrows begins with the visit of the Magi. When King Herod hears of their request to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews, his security and power as a ruler is greatly threatened so he plots for its removal. After visiting the Holy Family and paying homage to Jesus, they depart and “behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.’ Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt” (Mt 2:13-14).
God’s ways are not man’s ways. Security does not come from the power of this world, nor from its esteem and comforts. Instead of power, God chooses persecution. Flight, not fight. His divine Son becomes a refugee, an outcast, an immigrant. Joseph and Mary leave behind the security of their homeland to cast out into the unknown. They brave the physical privations of a long journey through desert wastelands. They face the emotional privations of being separated from all that is familiar and loved. They are immigrants. They enter a country with a new language that they do not speak, with different traditions, religious practices and cultural expectations that they don’t understand. In some sense they are political refugees, fleeing Israel with the constant fear of being discovered by Herod’s men.
Mary has lost all that is familiar and secure. Her sorrow is real. It is deep.
God leads her through a real desert and a spiritual one. She lets go of the various forms of human security – creature comforts, the esteem of others, her own self-sufficiency. She is not merely forced to do this; Mary embraces and chooses to relinquish those things that could never really provide security anyway, thus growing in the virtues that lead to security.
The virtue of temperance allows her to let go of the simple comforts because she would not let anything come between her and Jesus. She will embrace any privation out of love for him.
The virtue of humility allows her, as an immigrant in a foreign land, to base her worth and dignity on God’s love for her, on her God-given dignity.
Faith allows her to trust in God’s plan and Providence in the midst of this dark valley. The Virgin Mary grasps onto her Lord more firmly, placing her security in God alone. He is her rock, her fortress.
Questions to Ponder:
Where do I find security, and in what ways can I place greater security in God?
Do I have compassion for those who are rejected, unwanted, or on the fringes of society? Do my own insecurities prevent me from associating with them?
Blessed Virgin Mary, you were tempted to put your security in familiar comforts, in the esteem of those around you, or in your own understanding and abilities but you had the wisdom to seek security in the Lord alone. Help me to humble my pride, to laugh away my vanity, and to embrace privations so that I, too, can trust in the Lord alone. He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. Mother, teach me to trust. Mother, teach me to reach out compassionately to the outcasts on the fringes of society, the refugees and immigrants, the unwanted, the lost. All of them are beloved in the eyes of God. Teach me to see them and to love them as he does.
Hail Mary, full of grace …
Jesus, I trust in You!