2. In Egypt.
They arrived at last; but where, it is not known. We may suppose that They did not remain in the first frontier post. They would probably wait a few days before taking a decision. They would enquire and take Their bearings.
Perhaps Joseph or Our lady received guidance as to where God wanted Them to stay. Or maybe He left that matter to Their own discernment, as He often does in order that man may exercise the virtue of prudence. But finally Their abode was fixed in the vicinity of Heliopolis, where some other Jewish families had settled.
Now stop to consider the emergency dwelling of the Holy Family. In Bethlehem They had a home, poor though it was. Joseph had his workshop there. But now they have nothing. They must beg for whatever They need. Contemplate Our Heavenly Mother reduced to the condition of a beggar. They had nothing and They had to beg for everything.
They would probably tell the people about Their misfortune, about Herod's persecution from which They had run away. And the Jewish families of the neighborhood, touched by the story, would perhaps take Them into their house until They could find a better place. Later on, little by little, and by dint of sacrifice They would manage to set up Their little house and even a small workshop for Joseph and then They would live on his work.
Come, offer your heart again as a shelter to Our Blessed Lady. Envy those good people who were able to console and help the Holy Family in their tribulations. Why do you also not try to be a consoler of Jesus, of Joseph and of Mary whenever They go about unsuccessfully looking for souls wherein to take shelter? Do you not see that this would bring the greatest happiness into your heart?
Lastly, see how God, whilst allowing this trial, fills Them with consolation. They labor, They toil, They suffer, but with joy and confidence in God. Their stay in Egypt lasted several years. It is evident that there it was that Jesus showed the first charms of His childhood. There He muttered His first words. There He called Our Lady for the first time "Mother." There He uttered the first prayers that She taught Him; and how Our Lady would fall into ecstasies on seeing Her Son join His little hands and pray with great fervor and devotion! There He put on His first childish tunic. There He played His first games on the banks of the Nile River. Often He brought Our Lady a bunch of flowers, receiving from Her in return an ardent kiss. What consolations Our Lord pours on the souls that sacrifice themselves for Him. No mother had ever suffered so much, but there was no happier Mother than Mary.
[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]