Another of those words which indicate more than appears at first sight. He was there: Erat ibi; but what was his position and how did he live? Picture to yourself a poor artisan all at once transported to a foreign land, where he knows no one, is known of none, is without means, tools, work, or home. Ah! what are the anxieties and inconveniences of Bethlehem compared with the cares and sufferings of Egypt? At Bethlehem they at least knew the extent of their sojourn, it was but for a few days; but of their stay in Egypt they know nought, neither can they even conjecture the duration of their exile. "Remain there," said the Angel, " until I return." In face of a future so uncertain, it is vain to think of any permanent abode; and yet, with all the inconveniences inseparable from a temporary sojourn, that sojourn will last for years.
Who can tell the sadness experienced by the Holy Family at sight of the idolatry of Egypt? In presence of this sorrow all the privations of exile grow pale and vanish. God ignored, God offended, souls lost, ah ! what grief to the heart of Jesus, and therefore to the hearts of Mary and Joseph also!
The Holy Family in Egypt is a type of the Church in the world. The Church is there: the Pope is there: Et erat ibi, always threatened by Herod and awaiting the tyrant's death: Usque ad obitum Herodis. Such, too, is the situation of those persons and societies who dedicate themselves to God's service. In the ages of faith they built for the future ; but now times are changed. A work is commenced, and tomorrow the breath of Revolution or a tyrant's caprice stays your projects or destroys your undertaking. Labour on in spite of this, and carry on the works God has inspired you to commence. But trust not to man, but depend on God alone.
Watchword,—Work, but be ready to quit it at the first intimation that such is God's will.
20. The Deserted Pilgrims.
Gecile Portaro and a few of her companions made a pilgrimage to Notre-Damede- Drepane, in Sicily. The boat which should have brought them back started without them, and they were left ashore, far from Palermo, and without shelter for the night. Great was the consternation of the little band. Cecile invoked Saint Joseph, and almost immediately, an old man and child arrived; the former, touched by the anxiety of the holy maidens, offered to show them the way, and the child took charge of their scanty baggage. "Good man," said Cecile, "surely Saint Joseph has sent you; but we have a long way to
go." "Where to?" replied the old man. "To Palermo, Rue Saint Joseph." " That is my street," rejoined the old man, and they continued their route. As soon as the little caravan had arrived at the place of their destination, the old man set down the luggage. The travelers turned round to thank him, but both old man and child had vanished, and Cecile felt sure they could be no others than Saint Joseph and the Infant Jesus.