The Boy Jesus in the Temple

from: The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics

by Raphael Brown

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

The Boy Jesus in the Temple
Image by: Unknown 1

The following is from the book, "The life of Mary as seen by the Mystics", by Raphael Brown. It is a biography of Mary taken from the writings of four approved mystics of the Church. The mystics are: Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, Venerable. Mary of Agreda, Saint Bridget of Sweden, and Saint Elizabeth of Schoenau

Like all the Jews, the Holy Family went to the Temple in Jerusalem at least once a year, to celebrate the Passover in April. The Boy Jesus first took the long trip when He was eight years old, and He wished that it be made entirely on foot. Often He became tired and overheated, and then with tender compassion His Mother would ask Him to rest, while she gently wiped His face. Some nights they spent in inns and some in the open fields.

In the great Temple, Mary observed how Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven for the whole human race. And when she thought of her Son’s future sufferings in that same city, He would turn to her and urge her to offer up those sufferings with Him for the salvation of men. Several times in the temple she heard the Voice of the Eternal Father declare:

“This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.”

After Jesus reached the age of twelve, the Holy Family made their yearly pilgrimage to the Temple and spent seven days with friends in Jerusalem. But this time, when Mary and Joseph left the city and were on their way back to Nazareth, the Child Jesus withdrew from them, without their knowledge,not far from the city gate. He turned and hastened back through the streets. In His Divine Omniscience He foresaw all that was to happen, and He offered it up to His Eternal Father for the benefit of souls.

During the next three days, He spent part of His time begging and visiting the hospitals of the poor, consoling the sick and giving them the alms He had received. Secretly He restored bodily health to some and spiritual health to many.

Then, joining some boys, He went to three schools, on each day to a different one. The questions and answers of the twelve-year-old Jesus surprised and irritated the teachers and priests of these schools so much that they decided on the third afternoon to have Him publicly tested in the Temple by their most famous experts, in order to embarrass and humiliate Him. For though they began by applauding the Boy’s knowledge, they soon felt a secret envy and jealousy.

They all met accordingly in the great hall of the Temple, where Our Lord often taught later on. It was a vast auditorium in which crowds of people circulated casually, making it hard to recognize as a place dedicated to the service of God. Jesus was seated in a large throne-like chair that He could not wholly fill. Around Him were grouped a number of aged Israelites dressed as priests. He had stepped into their midst with remarkable majesty and grace, and by His pleasing appearance He awakened in these learned men a desire to hear Him. They listened to Him very intently, but with growing fury.

As, on the preceding days, Jesus in His replies had brought in analogies from nature and art, the scholars had taken care to call in some specialists skilled in the various branches of learning. When several of them began to ask Him questions relating to their fields, He told them that profane knowledge was not the proper subject for teaching in the Temple, but that He would nevertheless answer them, because such was the Will of His Father. They did not understand that He was referring to His heavenly Father, and assumed that Joseph had told Him to show them how much He knew.

In replying to their questions, Our Lord spoke first about medicine, and the way He described the human body aroused the admiration of the foremost doctors. Then He took up several matters pertaining to astronomy, architecture, agriculture, geometry, mathematics and law. He was so skillful in correlating these different subjects with the promises, prophecies and mysteries of their religion, its ceremonies and sacrifices, that His listeners were astounded and embarrassed.

Finally the discussion turned to the coming of the Messiah. Most of the Hebrew scholars maintained that He could not yet be due, because He was to come with kingly pomp and free His people by force from the Romans. But the Boy Jesus, by quoting the other prophecies concerning the rejection and death of the Messiah, proved that the Prophets had described His two different comings: first to redeem, and then to judge mankind. And by recalling that the people of Israel were now in that very servitude which was foretold as a sure sign of His coming, Jesus demonstrated that the Messiah must already be among them. He even reminded them of the visit of the three Magi, seeking the King of the Jews. Thus, while seeming to ask questions, Jesus taught with divine conviction.

The scribes and scholars who heard Him refute their arguments were all at first dumbfounded and then furious with shame. They could not tolerate His teaching them things they did not know, or His explaining the mysteries of the Law better than they could.

Meanwhile, during these three days, Mary and Joseph, their hearts filled with anxiety and self-reproach, had been searching in vain for Jesus among their relatives and friends. Although Mary knew that the time for her Son’s Passion had not yet come, still she feared that Archelaus (Ar-kel-lay-us) the King might have taken Him prisoner and be mistreating Him. Also she wondered whether Jesus might have gone to live in the desert with John the Baptist. Throughout those three days she neither ate nor slept. Though she often spoke with the angels that always accompanied her, they were not allowed to tell her where they knew Jesus was, and in her humility and prudence she did not ask them.

Since she did not know the cause of her loss, her anxiety was without measure, and yet she bore it with patience, resignation and submission. Not for a moment did she lose her interior or exterior peace, or entertain a discouraging thought.

And though her sorrow pierced her inmost heart, she never failed in reverence or ceased her prayers for the human race and for the grace of finding her Son.

One of the women she questioned exclaimed: “That Child came to my door yesterday begging for alms, and I gave Him some—His grace and beauty touched my heart. I was moved to compassion at seeing such a lovely Child in poverty and need.”

Later at the city hospital Mary was told of Jesus’ visits there. Then the thought occurred to her that since He was not with the poor, He was probably in the House of God and of prayer. Now the holy angels encouraged her and said: “

Our Queen and our Lady, the hour of thy consolation is at hand. Soon thou wilt see the Light of thine eyes. Hasten thy footsteps and go to the Temple.”

Just at this moment St. Joseph rejoined her, as they had been searching separately for a while. During all these three days he had suffered indescribable sorrow and affliction, hastening from one place to another. In fact he had been in serious danger of losing his life, if God had not strengthened him and if Mary had not consoled him and forced him to take some food and rest.

Mary and Joseph arrived at the Temple and found Jesus just as He was finishing His last explanation. All the scholars rose in complete amazement and looked at each other, exclaiming: “What a prodigy of a boy!”

Joseph humbly remained silent while Mary approached her Son and said with reverence and affection, before all those present:

“Son, why hast Thou done so to us? Behold, Thy father and I have been seeking Thee sorrowing.”

In a very serious tone of voice Jesus replied: “How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Mary and Joseph did not understand what He said, first because just then they were overwhelmed with joy at finding Him, and secondly because they had not heard Him explaining the Messiah’s mission. Moreover, during all this time the soul of her Son had again been veiled from Mary’s eyes.

For a moment it seemed as if several of the scholars who were so angry at Jesus might do Him some harm. then the Holy Family quietly went out through the crowd, which opened to let them pass. Soon they had left the city.

When they were alone on the road, Mary knelt before her Son and asked His blessing. With loving tenderness the Boy Jesus raised her from the ground, comforted her, and revealed to her all that He had done in those three days. Later during the journey He also explained to her that the learned doctors had not recognized Him as the Messiah because they were inflated and arrogant in their own knowledge, and that their understanding was obscured by the darkness of their pride, for if they had had the humble and loving desire to see the truth, His reasoning would have sufficiently convinced them. “

“And His mother kept all these things carefully in her heart.”

OUR LADY SAID TO VENERABLE MOTHER MARY OF AGREDA: “The Lord absented Himself from me in order that by seeking Him in sorrow and tears I might find Him again in joy and with abundant fruits for my soul. In my great love the uncertainty as to the cause of His withdrawal gave me no rest until I found Him. “In this I wish that thou imitate me, whether thou lose Him through thy own fault or by the disposition of His will. Fo r to lose sight of God for the purpose of being tried in virtue and love is not the same as to lose sight of Him in punishment for sins committed. “So strong are the bonds of His Love that no one can burst them”.