Greetings in Jesus and Mary...
The Mother without the Child! This is one of the greatest mysteries of the entire life of Jesus. Five years had passed since the return from Egypt and Jesus was 12 years old. In that year, as the Gospel narrative tells us, He went up to Jerusalem at the Pasch, with Mary and Joseph, and according to the tradition, He went on foot. Even though His Calvary was far off in years, it was keen to the Heart of Mary. Each moment with Jesus was to Her so infinitely more precious than the moment before, which caused Her love for Him to grow and intensify. As a child grows, all the things that become more apparent such as His mannerisms, His character, His gait when He walks, etc., all become noticed and valued by the Mother. Who can doubt that there was a spiritual beauty shining in all that He did; a heavenly beauty over everything which would take place every hour and how daily they would bring new surprises to the Mother’s Heart.
Now they reached Jerusalem before the beginning of the seven days of unleavened bread; and during that time, they made their devotions in the temple, visited the poor and the sick, and performed the other customary works of mercy. When Mary and Joseph knelt together in the temple, all created sanctity, such as had shone in the angels and saints, was pale in comparison to the prayers of Mary and Joseph. How the mystery deepens when we think of the Child Jesus at the age of twelve kneeling in their midst. A Son of David, “greater than Solomon” older than the day of Abraham, was among the crowds, One who could destroy the temple and build it up again in three days --- a Boy of twelve.
When it finally came time to leave, the women to whose caravan Mary belonged were mustered at their proper gate, Jesus was not there. But children might go either with the father or the mother. Jesus was not with Her but it filled her Heart with joy to think that He was filling Joseph’s heart with love and joy. Two evenings had gone before the bands of men and women had met at the accustomed halting-place. Joseph was waiting for Mary but Jesus was not with him and Mary’s Heart sank within Her. They felt suddenly alone, alone amidst the crowd. What could it mean? Jesus was gone. There were many sorrows on earth that night, but there were none like Hers. In the silent dark night, Mary and Joseph were treading the road again to the Holy City. Their feet were sore and wary. Their hearts were sorer and more weary. The darkness in Mary’s spirit was deeper than the darkness on the hills.
It had been a weary day and neither Joseph nor Mary had broken their fast all day. They were hungry to find Jesus. A broken heart does not think of sleep or food. They finally came to the eastern gate of the Temple and went in. Close to this gate was a spacious room, a sort of Academy, in which the interpreters of the law sat, and answered questions, and resolved doubts, and moderated in disputations. Mary’s ear caught the sound of Jesus' voice in which it was impossible to be mistaken. She came forward and said to Him, "Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold Thy father and I have sought Thee, sorrowing". …He saw Her sorrow but He had never been away from Her. He had been lying in Her Heart the whole while giving Her the strength and graces She needed. He said to them, “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? Poor Mother! Could She have done otherwise? His look and tone would always be in Her Heart to ponder. Yet, “They understood not the word that He had spoken unto them.” “And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them; and His Mother kept all these words in Her Heart.”
In this third dolor, She had lost Jesus, and She knew not why, nor where He was, nor what He might be suffering. She was plunged into a dense spiritual darkness, and God seemed altogether to have abandoned Her. Hence, the torture of Her Heart never was worse, not even at the burial because at the burial – He was to suffer no more. We must have Mary’s Heart to feel Mary’s sorrow.
The lesson learned in this dolor is: The greatest joy we can experience on this earth is to find Jesus. If anything else should console us outside of Jesus it would be the saddest of things for He is our Lord and Saviour.
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!