I met Orlando about ten years ago on an Ignatian Spirituality Project (www.ispretreats.org) retreat. He was a young man who was experiencing homelessness after being released from prison. He, like all of us, was struggling with fear. While incarcerated, Orlando’s son was born. They were about to meet for the first time. Orlando was terrified: “What if my son says he doesn’t love me?”

The Holy Family likewise knew pain. No idyllic, cherubic pictures in this icon. They were homeless.  They were poor refugees who fled to survive. They were tired, desperate, but full of grit. They leaned on each other, and they made it…together.

I never heard what Orlando’s son said to him, but I know any family is made holy through fidelity and forgiveness. It is the kind of mercy and faithfulness that God has for each of us in whatever exile we might find ourselves.

—Jordan Skarr works with the Jesuits at the Midwest province office in Chicago, assisting with programming for pastoral ministries.