Our dear founder, the venerable Brother Gabriel Taborin, had a great devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth. In this novena, we are going to pray for and with our dear Founder to the Holy Family of Nazareth, so Jesus, Mary and Joseph open the doors of grace for us and glorify his servant. Each day we will read a passage from the Gospel on the mysteries of the Holy Family of Nazareth and connect those passages to the life of Bro. Gabriel Taborin.
Day 1: Call of Mary and Joseph
The angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesus. Then Mary said to the angel, how can this be, since I am a virgin? And the angel said to her, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you. Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” (Lk 1:30-31, 34-35, 38).
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. She has conceived by the Holy Spirit and now she will bear a son. You shall call him ‘Jesus’. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do. (Mt 1:20-21, 24)
Bro. Gabriel lacked neither resignation nor courage in this tremendous trial. He felt sad and humiliated, but not disheartened. He kept the same inner strength, the same unbroken courage that he had shown before. He listened to the call of God again and, after considering himself unworthy in front of God for founding a religious Congregation, because of his few talents and virtues, he told to himself these simple words: “If this work is only mine, it will perish; but if it is from God, He will know how to sustain it and to make it prosper.”
Prayer that is said every day: Father in heaven, creator of all, you ordered the earth to bring forth life and crowned its goodness by creating the family of man. In history’s moment when all was ready, you sent your Son to dwell in time, obedient to the laws of life in our world. Glorify your servant, venerable Brother Gabriel Taborin, granting us through his intercession the grace we ask for. (we may mention the person’s names for whom we wish to pray). We ask this through the merits of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Day 2: Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem
At that time the emperor issued a decree for a census of the whole empire to be taken. Everyone had to be registered in his own town, so everyone set out for his own city. Joseph too set out from Nazareth to Galilee to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was with child. (Lk 2:1,3,5)
On September 7th, the house of Belmont had to be handed over to Mr. Garin. Preparations were made for departure and on 5th or 6th September they headed on foot to Belley. That little Congregation, arriving at Belley, was going to experience as Mary and Joseph, when they arrived in Bethlehem.
Day 3: Birth of Jesus
They were in Bethlehem when the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in the manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Lk 2:6 & 7).
The words of Bishop referring to Brother Gabriel: “Well, we cannot let this Brother bogged down in this situation; we must recognize that he is full of good will.” Indeed, His Excellency gave him a hand, offering shelter in the cottage that served as greenhouse on the premises of the Bishop’s House. This small house served as a stable.
Day 4; Message of the Angel to the Shepherds
“The angel said to them “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David’s town your Saviour was born —Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. So they hurried of and found Mary and Joseph and saw the baby lying in the manger” (Lk 2:10-12. 16).
Bishop Devie told him “My son, until now I have helped you very little; you had to work almost alone. I wanted to check whether you got discouraged and whether your project was truly God’s project. I find that I can no longer doubt. Courage; continue working; carry on with your project. From now on your Bishop will help you much more.” These encouraging words gave him hopes and brought him great joy and strength in him.
Day 5: Holy Family in the temple of Jerusalem
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Lk 2:33-35)
John Mary Vianney gave me an appointment for after Mass and dressed himself in the sacred vestments. In the conversation I had with the Servant of God, at the right moment, he showed great interest in me, he congratulated me for having given my Congregation the name of the Holy Family; he announced that it was going to prosper, despite many obstacles, and he recommended that I should never be discouraged.
Day 6: The Holy Family flees to and comes back from Egypt
An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.” Joseph got up, too the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod died… after Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead” (Mt 2:13-15a. 19-20)
The Revolution of July 1830 was another obstacle for Brother Gabriel’s project. A general persecution was expected, the clergy and the religious communities feared for their survival. They were not very appropriate times to found a religious congregation. He closed the house following the advice of Bishop Devie. Then the Baron of Champdor a pious person invited Bro. Gabriel to come and live with him and to administer his business. He accepted the proposal and left Belmont. His situation in the Baron’s castle could not b better. Though there are many facilities available nothing satisfied him because the Lord had chosen him to something very different rather than to enjoy some material advantages that the world looks for eagerly. Amid everything he was sad and dreamer.
When King Louis Philip’s government had firmly seized the power and if the passions of the hotheads belonging to the secret societies had not faded, at least, they had to be controlled. The calm had returned and the central government was not contrary to the religion. Bro. Gabriel communicated the Baron his soon departure. Soon after Bro. Gabriel started his mission as God wants him.
Day 7: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Lk 2:41-43, 46-47)
After having taken a convenient time to examine his vocation, he left the school and he returned to his parents’ house to get their consent. His parents, that were happy thinking of having a son priest, suffered a great disappointment. they fostered the secret hope that Gabriel would reconsider his decision, but he did not. He decided to obey and to fulfil the God’s will.
Day 8: The Holy Family in the House of Nazareth
“So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart. Jesus grew both in body and in wisdom, gaining favour with God and People” (Lk 2:51-52).
Meanwhile getting consent of his parents, he prepared the things to be able to follow his project. He was appointed the primary teacher of the government school and at the same time he was a good sacristan and altar boy in the parish church. He liked a lot this kind of mission. He did many good things in his village and he grew stronger in his project and mission and he gained good name in his village.
Day 9: Holy Family of Nazareth is an inspiration to the Brothers of the Holy Family
The Father chose the Holy Family to give Christ to men. The Brothers find in her, inspiration and support for their apostolic mission. Mary and Joseph around Jesus form in Nazareth the first evangelical community. It evangelizes by its testimony of living charity. (Const. # 116). House of Nazareth is the place where virtues can be learned, where respect, forgiveness, and love take root. Devotion to this Holy Family of Nazareth is beneficial to all the Brothers of the Holy Family. It lives as a model for every brother of the Holy Family. We are challenged to make their way of life, our way of life.
Brothers take inspiration from the humble, simple and active lifestyle of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Just as that family was poor among the poor, they share their time, talents, energy, the same gift of their vocation, with simplicity and pay special attention to the neediest. (Const. # 18)