About The Holy Family of Nazareth Icon

Here is an icon of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Quietly we can stay with the Holy Family, it is a house of prayer.

Here is Our Lady, gentle, she is not demanding that we look at her, or confronting us with our inadequacy. Her eyes are not focused on Joseph her husband, or Jesus her son, but pondering in her heart the words of God: The strange event of the angel’s greeting, the visit with Elizabeth, the longed for arrival of John and the return of Zechariah’s voice. Her own miraculous conception of her son and Joseph’s acceptance, the journey to Bethlehem, the rejection – no place at the inn - the remarkable visit of the shepherds, their tale of the angels then the arrival of the Magi. The flight into Egypt, the Presentation in the Temple and the words spoken of the future…

She is the mother of Jesus, Mother of God, and in holding the hand of her son she gently invites us to go to her son. She does not hold him back. She gives him to us. She knows we will hurt him, that we have hurt him, but she knows too that this is not the end.

What strange things have happened in my life? What has God given me in sufferings or in joys? We can bring them to Mary, our mother, we can ask her to help us to know her son. We can ask her to help us to be gentle. We can try to learn from her how to love her son, how to bring him to our friends, our neighbours, our enemies. Mary, help us to enter the quiet of your house.

Next to Mary is St Joseph, her spouse most chaste. He does not take anything for himself. He does not speak, his mouth is small. But his eyes are big. He is the watchman. He looks out. God gave him the vocation as Husband and Father. When he had thought this was a mistake and thought to divorce Mary informally, God intervened sending a messenger, an angel to console him in a dream: ‘Do not be afraid…’

God has made him the guardian of His house, of His Son. God in this vocation gave him special gifts to defend the Holy Family and make difficult decisions. His ears are big too, always ready to listen.

It is not by chance that Joseph died before Jesus began his public mission. St Joseph was the defender of the Holy Family. Who could touch his son if he was alive?

St Joseph is the patron of a holy death. He was attended by Jesus and Mary - who could have died so well? St Joseph taught his adopted son how to enter suffering, how to enter death. Where else but here at the feet of His adopted father could Jesus have learnt these things so well?

St Joseph, help us to enter our vocation, help us not to be afraid. Help us to trust God’s plan for our life; that He has given us and will continue to give us everything we need to complete His Will. Intercede for us, that we may be open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as you were. Help us to obey, as you obeyed the words of the angel without hesitation. Defend us; defend the Church as you defended your spouse, Mary. And at the last, St Joseph, pray for us that we may have the grace of final perseverance and a holy death.

Lastly, the child Jesus stands at the bottom of the picture, in the middle waiting for us. He rests his hand in that of His mother’s. He places his trust in Mary and invites us to place our trust in her too. He is little. Our God has become Man and has become small for us. We do not need to be afraid to draw near to Him. He is not afraid of where he is to go. He holds onto the staff of his adopted father, taking from him the Cross, taking the authority of His Heavenly Father, taking His Justice and offering the Mercy of his gaze. He has his arms uplifted, like Moses in the desert to give us the victory over our enemies, our sins, and raised in supplication like the priest at the altar. Here is the priest, so little. Here is the lamb, the pure victim, the spotless victim, who takes away the sins of the world. He is dressed in a white robe with two blue bands, the robe of the philosopher, the teacher, he comes to teach us how to live, how to die, how to live to the full. He comes robed in gold, in the glory of His Father, the brightness of the Eternal Day to chase away the darkness that clings to us.

He is little and he invites us to be little too; Jesus, help me to want to be little.

He invites us to take him into our arms, to tell him that we love him. To entrust everything to this little one. How often have I ignored Him… Jesus, I cannot go to the cross, I am afraid. Help me to walk with you. Help me to obey as you always obeyed you parents. Jesus, teach me to live.

Sanctuary of the Trinity, Holy Family of Nazareth, help me to contemplate your loving communion, that this same communion may be evident in the family; help me to sincerely love the family that I was raised in, the family of people that I live amongst and the family of God that I have been baptised into; help me to recognise the simple beauty of the family.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
grant us peace and preserve the family

See also the Holy Gospel according to St Luke.


Holy Family of Nazareth
Protect & Save Our Family
© Rachel Sim 2013-2014