The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus—the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us…A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character…A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the Carpenter’s Son, in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work. — Paul VI at Nazareth, January 5, 1964
Since the Holy Family observed the Jewish law in its perfection, we can deduce quite accurately what prayers they recited. The Psalms, of course, were the favorites. Three times a day Jesus, Mary, and Joseph said the Tephillah, “The Prayer,” consisting of eighteen long invocations and blessings. Joseph (and later Jesus when He attained to manhood) was obliged to say the Shema, a sort of profession of faith in the one true God, twice daily.
A very interesting Jewish custom of prayer that must have been observed in the house at Nazareth was that of the Mezuzah, “the doorpost,” and the “phylacteries,” small square calfskin boxes with Scripture texts written on parchment inside them.
On the doorpost of the house at Nazareth was fastened a wooden tube containing a rolled parchment inscribed with the passage quoted above from the Book of Deuteronomy and another passage (11:13-21) citing the blessings of serving God. On entering and leaving the house the members of the Holy Family would piously touch this Mezuzah, saying, “May God keep my going out and coming in from now on and forevermore.” All this was intended to show reverence for the word of God.
Such was the vocal and the more or less formal prayer which Jesus, Mary, and Joseph offered in their home at Nazareth. In their hearts, however, they prayed always. Just as the Heart of Jesus was constantly united with His divinity, so were the hearts of Mary and Joseph so closely bound to God that their every action was a prayer. — Excerpted from Reflections on the Life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, Francis L. Filas, S.J.