Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Octave of the Epiphany

MEDITATION VIII: The Loss of Jesus in the Temple.

St. Luke relates that Mary and Joseph went every year to Jerusalem on the Feast of the Pasch, and took the Infant Jesus with them. It was the custom, says the Venerable Bede, for the Jews to make this journey to the temple, or at least on their return home, the men separated from the women; and the children went at their pleasure, either with their fathers or their mothers. Our Redeemer, who was then twelve years old, remained during this solemnity for three days in Jerusalem. Mary thought he was with Joseph, and Joseph that he was with Mary: Thinking that He was in the company (Luke 2:44).

The Holy Child employed all these three days in honoring his eternal Father by fasts, vigils, and prayers, and in being present at the sacrifices, which were all figures of his own great sacrifice on the cross. If he took a little food, says St. Bernard, he must have procured it by begging; and if he took any repose, he could have had no other bed but the bare ground.

When Mary and Joseph arrived in the evening at their home, they did not find Jesus; wherefore, full of sorrow, they began to seek him amongst their relatives and friends. At last, returning to Jerusalem, the third day they found him in the Temple, disputing with the Doctors, who, full of astonishment, admired the questions and answers of this wonderful child. On seeing him, Mary said, Son, why have you done so to us? Behold your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48).

There is not upon earth a sorrow like to that which is felt by a soul that loves Jesus, when she fears that Jesus Christ has withdrawn himself from her through some fault of hers. This was the sorrow of Mary and Joseph, which afflicted them so much during these days, for they perhaps feared, through their humility, as says the devout Lanspergius, that they had rendered them selves unworthy of the care of such a treasure. Where fore, on seeing him, Mary said to him, in order to express to him this sorrow: Son, why have you done so to us? Behold your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48). And Jesus answered, Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business (Luke 2:49)?

Let us learn from this mystery two lessons; the first, that we must leave all our friends and relatives when the glory of God is in question. The second, that God easily makes himself found by those who seek him: The Lord is good to the soul that seeks him (Lam. 3:25).

Affections and Prayers.

O Mary, you weep because you lost your Son for a few days; he has withdrawn himself from your eyes, but not from your heart. Don’t you see that the pure love with which you love him keeps him constantly united and bound to you? You know well that he who loves God cannot but be loved by God, who says, I love those that love Me (Prov. 8:17); and with St. John, He that abides in charity abides in God, and God in him (I John 4:16). Why, then, do you fear? Why do you weep? Leave these tears to me, who have so often lost God through my own fault, by driving him away from my soul. O my Jesus, how could I offend you thus with my eyes open, when I knew that by sinning I should lose you? But you do not will that the heart that seeks you should despair, but rather that it should rejoice: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord (Ps. 104:3). If hitherto I have forsaken you, O my Love, 1 will now seek, and will seek none but you. And provided I possess your grace, I renounce all the goods and pleasures of this world. I renounce even my own life. You said that you love him who loves you; I love you, love me also. I esteem your love more than the dominion of the whole world. O my Jesus, I desire not to lose you any more; but I cannot trust to myself; I trust in you: In you, O Lord, have I put my trust; I shall not be confounded forever (Ps. 30:6). I beseech you, bind me to you, and permit me not to be separated from you again.

O Mary! through you I have found my God, whom I once had lost. Obtain for me also holy perseverance. I will also say to you, with St. Bonaventure, In you, O Lady, have I hoped; let me not be confounded forever.


Hai said...

Thank you Father for the wonderful Reflection. Please say a short prayer as I am seeking God's will for me - I have found it really difficult to leave loved ones when seeking God's will. I have also had trouble with my guilts.

God bless you!

Kathleen Miller said...


What a beautiful blog you have!