The Lukan story of the finding of Jesus in the temple is the fifth joyful mystery of the rosary. It is also the only story of the hidden life of Jesus in any of the canonical Gospel accounts. But it hardly seems a joyful thing to me. Can you imagine Mary and Joseph realizing that their twelve year old son was not among them after a day from leaving Jerusalem? Can you imagine their deep fear as they raced back to Jerusalem to search for him? Can you imagine Mary’s terror on the first day of not finding him. Her feeling on the second day of still not finding him. And finally on the third day Mary finding him in the temple of Jerusalem holding the teachers spellbound. And Mary, bewildered and deeply hurt, asked him why have you done this to your father and me?
And she heard her twelve year old son ask her why she had searched for him. Did she not know that he must be in his father’s house. And I believe that at that moment Mary became aware of who her son was. At that moment she understood something she had not before and that would lay in the bottom of her heart forever and be with her at the cross. She finally understood what the angel had told her years ago. She finally understood the enormity of the mystery she was so intimately and perfectly involved in. She finally became the Blessed Mother and experienced the prophesy of Simeon so many years ago in the same temple where she finally found her son.
Many years ago, I wrote a poem about the finding of Jesus in the temple and I would like to share it with you now on this feast day of Mary if you would allow me. I called it The Virgin’s Song.
When we finally found you,
Sitting bright among the dusty sun beams
That haltingly probed the holy place
Like alabaster fingers meekly caressing a nameless tomb,
My weeping stopped forever.
I fell into my heart
Where the awful thrill of your birth,
A living throb of raw wonder,
Lay enshrined in vivid silence.
Years later, you came to me there with parting words
That mingled with the memories of our chosen blood,
Falling to the sand along the shores of forgotten glories.
The frightful peace that bolted from your eyes
Held me steady in the thunder as you walked away.
With all God’s strength I would have cried out,
But I no longer knew your name.
When they finally lowered you into my arms,
And I crawled from my dead heart into yours,
I felt the brand of searing darkness press against my face,
As you led me to the precipice of faith’s tender reasoning,
Where we leapt, laughing and screaming in ecstasy,
Into the widening arms of love.