Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Each year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
Introductory Prayer: Dearest Mother Mary, Christ your Son learned to love from your loving example. Teach me to love in the same way. Instruct me in the way of your virtues. Help me to make use of every opportunity to grow in them. Never let me miss the opportunities life gives me to love and form myself in virtue. I always want to love the way you love.
Petition: Mary, my Mother, help me be your faithful child. Bring me to your son.
1. Not Everything Is Clear From the Outset: Mary has a mother’s heart that wants to love the loves of her Son. For Mary the road was not always clear. There would be many trials and difficulties. Nevertheless, Mary is resolved to follow her Son. She wants to follow him, understanding the mission. She cares for him in every way – even spiritually. There were many surprises in store for her as Christ matured and prepared for his mission. She never expected this one: losing her son for three days, at such an early age. Her son desired to be in his Father’s house and prepare his work. He loved being there and was preparing for the day when he would go out and actively do the work he had been sent to complete. Mary too was preparing for that day and Christ helped her get ready.
2. She Stored All These Things Up In Her Heart: It was hard for Mary to understand the full meaning of this moment. Being a woman of prayer and contemplation, she stored all these things up in her heart where she could recall them, reflect on them and compare them to other moments of her mission. What did all this mean? What did it point to? God’s plan would only reveal itself with time and Mary would be ready for it. It was not so much understanding that she needed but rather acceptance and fidelity to complete it. Mary had a contemplative heart that sought to unite itself and identify itself to the mission of her Son. She knew that she had a part to play in that mission and that she would need to prepare herself for it through prayer.
3. Take Mary’s Hand: We will never understand the purpose and meaning of our life unless we pray and contemplate like Mary did. It takes time, patience and a great deal of simplicity and trust. “Blessed is she that believed that the promises made to her would be fulfilled!” exclaims her cousin Elizabeth after the annunciation by the angel Gabriel. We are blessed when we can believe. It may take a long time to see the fulfillment of God’s designs in our lives too. We need to be like Mary and follow through by faithfully walking the path that is marked out for us. It can be a path that is not clear. We don’t need to know all of what lies ahead – just where we need to walk. Mary identified with her Son’s mission with her whole heart. She invites us to identify with it too. She will not fail to take you by the hand and lead you along that unclear, difficult and unknown path.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, when you had already given us everything – your life, your love, your Body and Blood in the Eucharist – from the cross you gave us the gift of your Mother. I thank you for this great gift. I want to be her faithful child. I want to imitate all her virtues, especially her faithfulness to you up to and beyond the moment of the cross. Grant me the grace to accompany both you and your mother at the foot of the cross. I want to follow you closely and perfectly as Mary did. I want to belong only to you and do only your will.
Resolution: I will ask Mary to shape all Christian virtues in me by my daily prayer to her in the Rosary. I will also make a special visit to her at one of her statues or images this week.