The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

This post is by Kathryn Heltsley, Product Marketing Copywriter for Verbum.

“. . . and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

The fact of the Annunciation is the reality that was in front of Mary throughout all the events of her Son’s life. When we arrive at the Temple in Jerusalem in this Joyful Mystery, Mary and Joseph had lived in the presence of this child, God made flesh, for 12 years. This presence became the consciousness in which they lived.

The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple by William Holman Hunt, 1862.

In his reflections on the Most Holy Rosary, Monsignor Luigi Giussani writes,

“Consciousness is an eye wide open to reality, which by its very nature never ends…For the Virgin, [reality] was the presence of that child.”

Because of the Annunciation, Mary knew that this child was God. Yet he came to her in human form, the frailty of his human body entrusted to her care. It was by faith she knew he was God, not by the evidence of what she could see. What a mystery it must have been to her the first time he skinned his knee! Think of the preconceptions that we would have in the same situation. The doubts we would feel that “there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to [us] by the Lord!” (Lk 1:45) Every piece of evidence pointing to Jesus’ mortality would attack our faith, would clash against our idea of what it meant to be the Son of God. Like the apostles, we would be scandalized by the reality of what the Messiah must face, by the fact of his suffering and sacrifice.

the-navarre-bible-saint-lukes-gospelMary encountered these things that she did not understand. But she did not allow her lack of understanding to separate her from reality. “Thus,” writes Giussani, “we pray to our Lady to help us take part in the consciousness by which she lived…” Mary offers a perfect example of faith for us to follow: “[her] faith was the basis of her generous fidelity throughout her life—but there was no reason why it should include detailed knowledge of all the sacrifices God would ask of her, nor of how Christ would go about his mission of redemption. That was something she would discover as time went by, contemplating her Son’s life” (Navarre Bible: The Gospel of Luke).

When Mary and Joseph discover Jesus in the Temple, he had been there three days, amazing the teachers with his understanding and insights. Upon their arrival, his words to Mary and Joseph reveal his divine Sonship, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Lk 2:49). And so, despite her anxiety at being separated from her young son—and even her anger at his treatment of her (Lk 2:48)—this is a Joyful Mystery. The joy of being reunited with Jesus, and of seeing him as he truly is for the first time.






Written by
Kathryn Hogan
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Written by Kathryn Hogan