Our Blessed Redeemer spent the first part of His childhood in Egypt, leading there for several years a life of poverty and humiliation. In that land Joseph and Mary were foreigners and strangers, having there neither relatives nor friends. Only with difficulty could they earn their daily bread by the labor of their hands. Their home was poor, their bed was poor, their food was poor. Here Mary weaned Jesus; dipping a piece of bread in water, she would put it in the sacred mouth of her Son. Here she made His first little garments and clothed Him with them. Here the Child Jesus took His first steps, stumbling and falling as other children first do. Here too He spoke His first words, but stammeringly. O wonder of wonders! To what has not God lowered Himself for love of us! A God stumbling and falling as He walks! A God stammering in His speech!
Not unlike this was the poor and humble life that Jesus led in Nazareth after His return from Egypt. There, until He was thirty years old, He lived as a simple servant or workman in a carpenter shop, taking orders form Joseph and Mary. ‘And He was subject to them.’ Jesus went to fetch the water; He opened and closed the shop; He swept the house, gathered the fragments of wood for the fire, and toiled all day long, helping Joseph in his work. Yet who is this? God Himself, serving as a apprentice! The omnipotent God, who with less than a flick of His finger created the whole universe, here sweating at the task of planing a piece of work! Should not the mere thought of this move us to love Him?
O Jesus, my Savior! When I consider how, for love of me, Thou didst spend thirty years of Thy life hidden and unknown in a poor workshop, how can I desire the pleasures and honors and riches of the world? Gladly do I renounce all these things, since I wish to be Thy companion on this earth, poor as Thou wast, mortified and humble as Thou wast, so that I may hope to be able one day to enjoy Thy companionship in heaven. What are all the treasures and kingdoms of this world? Thou, O Jesus, art my only treasure, my only Good!
I keenly regret the many times in the past when I spurned Thy friendship in order to satisfy my foolish whims. I am sorry for them with all my heart. For the future I would rather lose my life a thousand times than lose Thy grace by sin. I wish never to offend Thee again, but always to love Thee. Help me to remain faithful to Thee until death.
O Mary, thou art the refuge of sinners, thou art my hope. Amen.