Sunday, April 14, 2013

Contemplating the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

There was a time when I contemplated the mystery of the finding of the child Jesus in the temple that my focus was held solely on the anxiety that the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph must have felt at having lost their child.  I meditated on the panic they must have felt, and even how on earth He could have been lost in the first place - surface elements of the mystery itself.

However, when praying the rosary the other day, it came to me that there is an element of this mystery that I have been missing the whole time - that of the young Jesus in the temple amongst the wise men.  The Scriptures say that Jesus sat "among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard  him was amazed at his understanding and his answers." (Luke 2:46-47)

I often say that "theology is simply philosophy with answers", and here I see this in action.  The very Word, the Son of God Himself sits among the wise men with the answer, which is Himself. They are astounded by His questions and His answers, and their own wisdom becomes minute, nothing in the face of Wisdom itself, "the Wisdom, in, by and through whom all are wise who are wise"1

I see in this mystery that Christ Himself is the answer, the fount of all knowledge, Wisdom itself, the final goal of which is knowledge and contemplation of God, the Holy Trinity without beginning or en, where we "contemplate Him in His Essence and most perfect Being"2.  "How great is that light from which shines out every truth that lightens the reasoning mind!"3

We see, when contemplating this mystery, that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (1 Cor. 3:19).  All of the wisdom of these men in the temple was answered and fulfilled by Christ who sat their discoursing amongst them.  Every question that was brought forth was answered. 

So it is that we must, if we wish to know the truth of all things, sit at the feet of the divine Master, He Who is Wisdom, Love, and Truth itself. 

1 - St. Augustine, The Soliloquies, I:3
2 - St. Alonso de Orozco, Mount of Contemplation, XII
3 - St. Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion, XIV


  1. I once listened to a youtube video where Fulton Sheen says that Mary knew sin. Of course, we know she didn't; so we are left wondering what he means by it. He later explains that she knew sin because she knew what it was like to be without Jesus, to have lost Him. This was his point for the mystery you mentioned above, and honestly, I loved his reference. Isn't it true that when we sin we lose our friendship with Jesus; we should go seeking for Jesus immediately - when we realize we don't have Him anymore!

  2. Jason, I have to tell you that ever since I read what St. Therese had to say about this Gospel mystery, it has become my favorite decade of the Rosary to pray. St. Therese observed that Jesus wanted His dear mother to be "the example of the soul searching for Him in the night" Now you have given me a different meditation to contemplate. Thank you.

  3. This is just a very beautiful piece! When I was reading your article, I felt an extremely wonderful feeling. Thank you so much for this!