Commentary on Father Médaille's Contemplation on the Mystery of the Flight:

Father Médaille presents this mystery of Jesus' life to bring us to a place where we will find the motivation for "Why suffer?" "Why undergo interiorly and exteriorly all that we must undergo in the spiritual journey?" The answer is clearly that suffering "empties us" and suffering "fills us with God's life". This is the purifying and transforming action happening in times of suffering and duress. This becomes then a valuable "spiritual exercise" when we are in a state of intense suffering - either psychological, moral or physical.

"No sooner were you born than you were being persecuted." You, Jesus, enter the human condition to be one with us in all things and almost immediate to your coming, you are subjected to abuse and hardship. All of this is unjust, coming from the dictates of someone in power who is very cruel and evil. What a welcome for our God from humanity. Why suffer like this? Why allow this to happen to you?

The paradox lives again. You, Jesus, had the power to destroy your enemies yet you endured their attacks with divine patience. You had the power to destroy yet you chose to show mercy. You suffered pain, hardship along with Mary and Joseph. You went into exile and poverty. You were a child refugee, driven from your homeland and place of birth. We cannot help but marvel at your patience, gentleness and goodness in suffering this flight into Egypt in the dark passage of the night.

This causes us to reflect upon how we handle similar, even less trying situations of personal suffering and attack. So often, we murmur, complain, rebel, are full of interior disquiet with all kinds of "noises in our heads." Old memories of abuse, degradation and blame surface to ward off more of the same. Our "woundedness" is close to the surface again and we suffer and cry out for a time of healing and wholeness. With this contemplation we pray that we may receive your virtues of gentleness and patience and love for our enemies as effects of God's loving providence on our behalf. We need God in these critical times... only God!

Here is Father Médaille's wisdom on why suffering serves a positive and perfective role in the spiritualization process of each person. God allows this suffering. He does not will it nor does He directly cause it. But God does permit suffering in our lives and God does use it positively to effect our growth in wholeness/holiness. In its purifying elements - suffering empties us of our selfishness and self-centeredness.

In its transforming elements - suffering fills us with qualities of God's very own life so that "as time goes on" we find ourselves responding more and more in the likeness of Christ - with his patience, gentleness and goodness. This is how PURE LOVE grows in us.

The Letter of James records this truth:

"You will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them
as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the
test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results
so that you will become fully developed, complete, with nothing missing."
(James 1: 2-4)

Father Médaille in his maxims on patience upholds this same teaching:

"No matter what disagreeable things happen to you,
never see them as obstacles but as profitable and necessary to your daily life.
If you consider them as effects of the tender and loving Providence of God,
your Father, you will love them tenderly and accept them willingly.
(Maxim of Perfection 7:3)


Hence, rather than respond to suffering, contradictions, setbacks, even persecution with a lot of self-pity and anger at the persons inflicting the abuse, desire to be filled with Jesus' virtue of patience and pure love and "see" in our present trial a "hidden grace", God-permitted, to bring us to a deeper self-emptying and a fuller participation in God's divine life.


"These are the trials through which we triumph,

by the power of Him who loved us."
(Romans 8:37)


Father Médaille was well aware that we would all have to pass through one or more "flights into Egypt". There will be those traumatic, life-threatening encounters with 'authorities' in our lives that challenge us to fulfill our destiny at whatever the cost. These are times of deadliest peril! In this story Jesus models for us a way through the crisis with violence and abuse:


"To escape their violence, you chose a way of humility, you had
your foster father carry you out to Egypt into a place of exile, where you lived for seven years in extreme poverty."


You model for us that distance, non-physical presence and non-engagement in the dysfunctional/destructive relationship is sometimes the only way to endure such persecutions. This takes an incredible strength of character born out of hope and love. Abba Jean, St. Paul and many others who have been moved by this holy inspiration have come to sing this hymn to God's love:


"Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even
if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food
and clothes, or being threatened or even attacked...
For I am certain of this... nothing can ever come between us and
the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Roman 8:31-39)