The following is from the book “31 Day Novena to St. Joseph” edited by Dr. Rosalie A. Turton. Reflections and Meditations taken from “St. Joseph as Seen by Mystics and Historians”
While all men would contribute to the death of the savior, only one, St. Joseph, was to save Him from death in his infancy. Crisis reveals character. The flight into Egypt now showed to Mary that God had given her not only a devoted lover and a loyal husband, but a resolute man of action who would shirk nothing in Her defense and that of the child.
Let us consider now the anxiety and fright that Joseph suffered at the time when King Herod was looking for the Child to kill Him. Joseph was so unprepared for this news that, according to the Armenians, he fled the city as soon as he could with his Wife and left Her hidden in a cave. Then he went back to the city to look for some provisions and things for the journey, and he was an eyewitness to the slaughter of the innocents.
Afterwards, St. Joseph returned from the city with a few things for such a long journey, filled with fear and fright, and with this anxiety, the Holy Family began its flight from King Herod. And, since Joseph was afraid that they would be overtaken, he became uneasy when he saw soldiers on the road, fearful that they would tear the Child from Mary’s arms, as he had seen them do to others in the city.
The fear of being overtaken and discovered always accompanied those who fled, and made this journey for them a continuous nightmare, and Jerusalem was less than two hours away from Bethlehem. The flight was a rough one, six or seven days long.
In order to go to Egypt, they travelled through the desert and through towns. In the desert, they had to be on the watch for tigers, lions, snakes, beasts, wild animals, and robbers. The towns were inhabited by Gentiles, who were archenemies of the Israelites; since Joseph did not carry a halbred (weapon), he could not be sure of anything… and all this in the hardest part of winter with the discomfort of wind and snow!
In order to furnish them with some kind of shelter against the open air, however narrow and humble it might be, St. Joseph formed a sort of tent for the Divine Word and most Holy Mary by means of his cloak and some sticks. Everything they needed was lacking.
Another way that Joseph protected the God-man which also required tremendous strength, was to keep life-long silence about the Christ Child, in order more fittingly to hide from any witnesses the wonders which passed between them, and which were not to be communicated to outsiders. In silence, he prayed for many, and obtained the intercession of the Christ Child and His Mother.
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