The Joyful Mysteries

The Fifth Mystery:
The Finding of the Christ Child in the Temple
The Fruit: Conversion of Sinners and Heretics;
Union with Jesus Through Constant Prayer


1. Shortly after their return from Egypt to Nazareth the Lord resolved to try His Most holy Mother in the same manner as He had tried Her in Her childhood as the first-born Daughter of the new Law of grace, the most perfect copy of His ideals and the most pliant material, upon which should be set the seal of His doctrine of holiness, so that the Son and the Mother might be the two true tablets of the New Law of the World (Exod. 31:18). For this purpose of the Infinite Wisdom He manifested to Her all the mysteries of the evangelical law and of His doctrine; and this was the subject of His instructions from the time of their return from Egypt until His public preaching. For this purpose the Lord withdrew Himself, causing Her to lose Him from Her sight, which until then had caused Her to revel in continual joy and delight.  ... still remaining with Her and in Her by and ineffable presence and grace, He hid Himself from Her interior sight and suspended the tokens of His Most Sweet Affection. The Heavenly Lady in the meanwhile knew not the inward cause of this behavior, as the Lord gave Her no explanation. Moreover Her Divine Son, without any forewarning showed Himself very reserved and withdrew from Her society. Many times He retired and spoke but few words to Her ... This unannounced and unexpected change was the Crucible in which the Purest Gold of the Love of Our Queen was cleansed and assayed.

2. After Our Queen with Her Most Holy Son and Saint Joseph had settled in Nazareth, the time of the year in which the Jews were obligated to present themselves before the Lord in the Temple of Jerusalem, was at hand. This commandment obliged the Jews to this duty three times each year, as can be seen in Exodus and Deuteronomy. But it obliged only the men, not the women (Exod. 23:17); therefore the women could go or not, according to their devotion;  ... The Most Pure Mother was drawn by Her piety to worship the Lord in the temple; ... The Israelites visited the temple on the feast of the Tabernacles (Deut. 16:13), the feast of the Weeks, or Pentecost, and the feast of the Unleavened Breads or the Pasch of the preparation. To this latter the Sweetest Jesus, Most Pure Mary, and Joseph went up together. ... when the Divine Child was twelve years old and when it was time to allow the splendors of His inaccessible and Divine Light to shine forth, They went to the temple for this feast (Luke 2:42). This festival lasted seven days, according to the command of the Divine Law; and the more solemn days were the first and the last. On this account our Heavenly Pilgrims remained in Jerusalem during the whole week, spending their time in acts of worship and devotion.

Having thus spent all the seven days of the feast, They betook themselves on their way home to Nazareth. When His parents departed from Jerusalem and were pursuing their way homeward, the Child Jesus withdrew from them without their knowledge. For this purpose the Lord availed Himself of the separation of the men and women, which had become customary among the pilgrims for reasons of decency as well as for greater recollection during their return homeward. The children which accompanied their parents were taken in charge either by the men or the women, since their company with either was a matter of indifference. Thus it happened that Saint Joseph could easily suppose that the Child Jesus had remained with His Most Holy Mother, with whom He generally remained. The thought that She would go without Him was far from his mind, since the heavenly Queen loved and delighted in Him more than any other creature human or angelic. The Great Lady did not have so many reasons for supposing that Her Most Holy Son was in the company of Saint Joseph: but the Lord Himself so diverted Her thoughts by holy and Divine contemplations, that She did not notice His absence at first. When afterwards She because aware of Her not being accompanied by Her sweetest and beloved Son, She supposed that the Blessed Joseph had taken Him along and that the Lord accompanied His foster-father for His consolation.

Thus assured, Holy Mary and Joseph pursued their home journey for an entire day, as Saint Luke tells us. The Most Holy Mary and Saint Joseph found themselves at length in the place where they had agreed to meet on the first evening after leaving Jerusalem. When the Great Lady saw that The Child was not with Saint Joseph and when the Holy Patriarch found that He was not with His Mother, the two were struck dumb with amazement and surprise for quite a while. Both, governed in their judgment by their most profound humility, felt overwhelmed with self-reproach at their remissness in watching over their Most Holy Son and thus blamed themselves for His absence; for neither of them had any suspicion of the mysterious manner in which He had been able to elude their vigilance.

After a time they recovered somewhat from their astonishment and with deepest sorrow took counsel with each other as to what was to be done (Luke 2:45). The loVing Mother said to Saint Joseph: "My Spouse and My Master, My Heart cannot rest, unless we return with all haste to Jerusalem in order to seek My Most Holy Son." This they proceeded to do, beginning their search among their relations and friends, of whom, however, none could give them any information or any comfort in their sorrow; on the contrary their answers only increased their anxiety, since none of them had so much as seen their Son since their departure from Jerusalem.

Thus this sincerest Dove persevered in Her tears and groans without cessation or rest, without sleeping or eating anything for three whole days. Although the ten thousand Angels accompanied Her in corporeal forms and witnessed Her affliction and sorrow, yet they gave Her no clue to find Her lost Child. On the third day the Great Queen resolved to seek Him in the desert where Saint John was; for since She saw no indications that Archelaus had taken Him prisoner, She began to believe more firmly, that Her Most Holy Son was with Saint John. When She was about to execute Her resolve and was on the point of departing for the desert, the Holy Angels detained Her, urging Her not to undertake the journey, since the Divine Word was not there.

7. She wanted also to go to Bethlehem, in the hope of finding Him in the cave of the Nativity; but this the Holy Angels likewise prevented, telling Her that He was not so far off. Although the Blessed Mother heard these answers and well perceived that the Holy Angels knew the whereabouts of the Child Jesus, She was so considerate and reserved in Her humility and prudence, that She gave no response, nor asked where She could find Him; for She understood that they withheld this information by command of the Lord.
Not all the sorrows suffered by all the martyrs ever reached the height of the sorrows of Most Holy Mary in this trial; nor will the patience, resignation and tolerance of this Lady ever be equaled, nor can they; for the loss of Jesus was greater to Her than the loss of anything created, while Her love and appreciation of Him exceeded all that can be conceived by any other creature. Since She did not know the cause of the loss, Her anxiety was beyond all measure ... Moreover, during these three days the Lord left Her to her natural resources of nature and of grace, deprived of special privileges and favors; for, with the exception of the company and intercourse with the Angels, He suspended all the other consolations and blessings so constantly vouchsafed to Her Most Holy Soul.

8. She failed not in reverence and in the praise of the Lord, nor ceased in Her prayers and petitions for the human race, and for the finding of Her Most Holy Son. With this heavenly wisdom and with greatest diligence She sought Him for three successive days, roaming through the streets of the city, asking different persons and describing to the daughters of Jerusalem the marks of Her Beloved, searching the byways and the open squares of the city and thereby fulfilling what was recorded in the Canticles of Solomon (Cant. 5:10). Some of the women asked Her what were the distinctive marks of Her lost and only Son; and She answered in the words of the Spouse: "My Beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands." One of the women, hearing Her thus describing Him, said: "This Child, with those same marks, came yesterday to my door to ask for alms, and I gave some to Him; and His Grace and Beauty have ravished my heart. And when I gave Him alms, I felt myself overcome by compassion to see a Child so gracious in poverty and want." These were the first news the sorrowful Mother heard of her Only-begotten in Jerusalem ... Then the thought struck Her, that, since He was not with the poor, He no doubt tarried in the Temple, as in the house of God and of prayer. The glorious patriarch Saint Joseph at this moment again met his Spouse, for, in order to increase their chance of finding the Divine Child, they had separated in different directions, By another Angel he had now been likewise ordered to proceed to the temple. During all these three days he had suffered unspeakable sorrow and affliction, hastening from one place to another, sometimes without his Heavenly Spouse, sometimes with Her. His sincere and exquisite love for the Divine Child made him so anxious and solicitous to find Him, that he would have allowed himself no time or care to take nourishment.
{Meanwhile] He [the Christ Child] betook Himself to the temple. On the day which the Evangelist mentions it happened that also the rabbis, who were the learned and the teachers of the Temple, were all seated in their places filled with the sense of authority customary to those who are teachers and considered as learned. The Child Jesus came to the meeting of these distinguished men; and He that was the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Apoc. 19:16), the Infinite Wisdom Itself (1 Cor. 1:24), presented Himself before the teachers of this world as an Humble Disciple, giving them to understand that He had come to hear their discussion and inform Himself on the question treated of, namely: whether the Messias was already come, or, if not, concerning the time in which He should come into the world. He stepped into their midst with exceeding majesty and grace ... The scribes and learned men who heard Him were all dumbfounded.

9. The Heavenly Lady approached Her Most Loving Son and in the presence of the whole assembly, spoke to Him the words recorded by Saint Luke: "Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing" (Luke 2:48). This loving complaint the Heavenly Mother uttered with equal reverence and affection, adoring Him as God and manifesting Her maternal affliction. The Lord answered: "Why is it that You sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

The Evangelist says that They did not understand the mystery of these words (Luke 2:50); for it was hidden at the time to Most Holy Mary and Saint Joseph. And for two reasons; on the one hand, the interior joy of now reaping what They had sown in so much sorrow, and the visible presence of Their Precious Treasure, entirely filled the faculties of their souls; and on the other hand, the time for the full comprehension of what had just been treated of in this discussion had not yet arrived for them. Moreover, for the most solicitous Queen there was another hindrance, just at that time, and it was, that the veil, concealing the interior of Her Most Holy Son had again intervened and was not removed until some time later.

10. The Divine Child received Her with signs of pleasure and offered Himself as Her Teacher and Companion until the proper time should arrive. Thus was the dove-like and affectionate heart of the Great Lady appeased, and They departed for Nazareth.
They arrived at Nazareth, where They occupied themselves in what I shall record later on. The Evangelist Luke compendiously mentions all the mysteries in few words, saying the Child Jesus was subject to His parents, namely Most Holy Mary and Saint Joseph, and that His Heavenly Mother noted and preserved within Her Heart all these events; and that
Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men (Luke 2:52).


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