Most of our thoughts today are (naturally!) centered on the fact that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the
first day of Lent -- which makes today Shrove Tuesday -- otherwise known as "Fat Tuesday." And, no kidding, we are indulging today in the goodies we'll be giving up tomorrow! I'm already on a diet that's wiped out most of my food addictions -- but I'm taking the opportunity to eat meat breakfast lunch and dinner -- and, since we're all giving up the TV for Lent, we're enjoying a marathon of movies today. The kids have ice cream planned for later, too, since they're giving up sweets -- and are planning decadent snacks that I don't even want to know about... It's all very distracting -- and fun!
But, I don't want to be so fat and lazy today as to miss out on one of our favorite lessons from the life of Christ. See, today the Liturgical Calendar marks the memory of the Holy Family's journey into Egypt. Having picked up and moved, ourselves, many times in the last few years because we've felt it was God's will to do so, I identify with this journey and draw comfort from it. Talk about blind faith and obedience! Not only did St. Joseph immediately understand the will of God speaking to him through a dream and begin to pack immediately for Egypt - but the Blessed Mother -- who didn't have the dream, herself -- picked up and prepared to go to Egypt (of all places!) at the word of Joseph -- out of obedience and trust in her husband -- and perfect faith in God.
But, think about it. Mary just picked up her belongings (meager though they were), wrapped up Baby Jesus, and started... WALKING to Egypt!
|Wm Hole 1500s|
Mary the Mother of Jesus
(This would mean walking roughly the distance from Des Moines, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska and back -- once a year)
*After she conceived by the Holy Spirit, she walked from Nazareth to south of Jerusalem where Elizabeth, her cousin, was pregnant with John the Baptist (130 miles, 209 km). She then walked back to Nazareth (130 miles, 209 km). Then with Joseph she walked back south of Jerusalem to Bethlehem (130 miles, 209 km). During all this travel -- 390 miles (627 km) -- Mary was 'with Child'!
(This is roughly the distance between Washington D.C. and New York City. Imagine walking that round trip, pregnant!)
|Philip Otto Runge 1805|
To learn about the legend of the Sycamore tree under which the Holy Family rested in Matariya, Egypt, go here.
* With Herod, the King, seeking to kill Jesus, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and he was told to flee to Egypt, where they lived until the death of Herod. Then St. Joseph was told again by an angel to return to Israel and they came to live in Nazareth. (Matthew 2:13-23) The normal mileage from Bethlehem down to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, through Gaza across the Sinai Desert and into Egypt to the Pyramids along the Nile would be about 350 miles (563 km). The Blessed Mother traveled with the infant baby Jesus at about the age of two for 350 miles (563 km) through the desert.
(This would be roughly the equivalent of a walk from Boston to Philadelphia -- and back the long way)
|Click and print for a lovely coloring page!|
|Albrecht Durer. Click and Print|
for another great coloring page!
|Can't find the painter of this beautiful depiction. Love the rich color and the pyramids in the distance. Where is their baggage, though?|
*Repost from 2011 (Incidentally, one of the best research projects I've ever gotten to do! Putting facts and mileage to the history made it more than just a story for me...)