As a Catholic, I have gotten a lot of questions from non-Catholics revolving around my personal relationship with Mary, Queen of Heaven. There is a great misunderstanding of who Mary, Jesus’ mother, and mine, is in the Christian world outside of the Catholic faith. If I dare say so, I feel there is a huge, missed opportunity from those of other religions who do not take advantage of the beautiful relationship Jesus invites each of us to while He was on the cross.
My relationship with Mary is one of the things that I value most in my Catholic faith. I encourage all to read the beautiful documents in the church’s library on Mary. My relationship with Mary began when I was about 25 years old. I grew up at St. Mary’s Church, I went to St. Mary’s Grade School and St. Mary’s High School, but rarely were we taught anything about Mary. (Catechesis in the 80-90’s was certainly much to be desired!) I graduated from high school having absolutely no idea what the rosary was or how to even begin praying it. I then attended the University of Mary and was a Pastoral Ministry major and again was not taught the Theology of Mary. This was definitely a tragic commentary on our times. While I was studying for my master’s degree in theology, I was introduced to the beautiful writings and dogmas of our faith concerning Mary. I dove headfirst into these documents and grew to love Mary more and more each day.
For the last 18 years my relationship with Mary has grown into a beautiful friendship. I feel her presence with me daily. She is my go-to when I am worried about my children. She is my confidant when I am anxious or feeling over-whelmed. She is the true example of who I aspire to be as a female living my faith…Gentle, humble, peaceful, and totally obedient and devoted to the Heavenly Father!
In several of my blog articles in the next several weeks I plan to explore some of the mysteries of her great prayer, the rosary, that have come to mean so very much to me. Don’t get me wrong, all twenty mysteries of the rosary are amazing, but some have come to speak so clearly to me that I feel called to reflect about them.
In this article, I want to look at my most favorite mystery of the rosary. It is a mystery that gives me great hope and strength to persevere. That mystery is, “The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.” Why has this mystery come to mean so much to me? It was not always this way, but within the last few years it has begun to speak so profoundly to my heart. But why?
There are three reasons I want to explore with you! First, I can relate to Mary as mother who has just left her son behind at the temple. In her mind she has lost her son. I can only imagine what went through her mind thinking about the times that my children have hidden under a clothes rack in a store and I cannot find them. The sheer panic that enters a mother’s heart cannot even be explained. During this mystery I often ponder, “Have I lost Jesus?” “Where is Jesus in my life?” “Is Jesus front and center or is he back sitting in the pew where I left him on Sunday morning when I left Mass?”
Second, I can relate to Jesus who knows exactly where He is and is confident that He is doing exactly what His Holy Father has asked him to do. Doesn’t it feel good to do the will of God? There are many times that God calls us to do things that may be hard for our families to understand. I know there have been times when my husband and I have made decisions on what God is calling our family to do that my parents raised an eyebrow and felt a sense of fear that we certainly didn’t know what we were doing. Whether it was adding another baby to the mix, leaving a job, or deciding to homeschool I know I have not always pleased my parents, but I do know that I pleased God and doing the will of God is more important that doing the will of my parents. (Disclaimer: My parents have always come to respect our decisions and see that indeed we are following where God is calling us. I have amazing parents!) I am doing the will of my Father should be the response we give everybody, every day!
Finally, it calls me to humility… A humility, I so very much need. When I ponder this mystery, I get a huge sense of humility from Mary. She was panicked, she was probably a bit perplexed at her son, and yet when she asks him why “he had done this to us?” Jesus, quite matter of factly states: ““Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2: 48-49, NAB) I know that if my twelve year old child responded this way to me I would not respond so gracefully. Mary does not respond in anger or frustration, even though she didn’t exactly know what Jesus meant, but she responded with pure love and humility, pondering all that had happened in her heart. Mary is the epitome of humility. She is who we are all called to be. When praying this mystery, I often ask where I can grow in humility? What am I not depending on the grace of God to help me with?
In closing? Have I lost Jesus? Am I doing what God is calling me to do in my life? What am I trying to do on my own, without the help of God, and how can I grow in humility? These are wonderful questions to ask ourselves and isn’t it comforting to know that even Mary lost Jesus…once!