Excerpted from Scene 2 of The Flight Into Egypt, Pious Recreation 6 by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (21 January 1896)
Joseph, you’ve been away a long time, why do you work such long days?
O Mary! Tell me, what is this profound mystery?… The Desired of the eternal hills, the Emmanuel for whom all the patriarchs have sighed, sits on my knees and He looks at me, His poor, unworthy servant.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN
Like you, Joseph, I am astonished to be able to press to my heart the Divine Child whose mother I am; I am astonished that a little milk is needful to Him who gives life to the world. (After a long, contemplative silence, Mary continues:) Soon Jesus will grow up and you will have to teach the Creator of the universe how to work…. With you, He will earn His bread by the sweat of His adorable brow….
What are you saving, Mary? Must Jesus become a poor workman like me? I’ll never have the courage to see Him hear the reproaches I receive!…
Even today, the rich lord for whom I was working was not happy with my work and sent me away, telling me to seek my fortune elsewhere. After much searching and main rebuffs, I finally found enough work to last a whole month: I’ll be able to do it here at home, a happiness for which I didn’t dare to hope. Not to go away from Jesus and from you, what a consolation!… (Realizing that little Jesus is asleep, he lowers his voice) The Dime Child is sleeping; take up your Treasure, His bedtime has come. (He kisses Jesus on the forehead, then gives Him to Mary who takes Him respectfully.)
THE BLESSED VIRGIN, softly.
Joseph, may God bless your sleep, rest in peace beneath the gaze of Him whose heart is always watching.
The Holy Family With a Curtain, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1646