MAY, THE MONTH OF MARY (MAY 24) – The Third Sorrow of our Lady: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple.
It happened that Jesus, at the age of twelve, having gone with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast and having finished the days of the feast, stayed behind in Jerusalem and was not notice by His relatives and parents. Believing that He was in the group of pilgrims, they had travelled on for a day before they sought Him among friends and acquaintances. And not having found Him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him. After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the Doctors, listening to them and questioning them. Those who listened, were amazed at His wisdom and His answers. Mary and Joseph, after seeing Him, marveled; and His Mother said to Him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” – “Why were you searching for me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what He was saying to them. Then He went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in Her heart. (St. Luke, II, 42-51).
The pain that Our Lady felt in the loss of Jesus, was among the most bitter of Her life. The more precious the treasure that is lost, the more pain one has for it. And what more precious treasure for a mother than her own child? Pain is in relation to love; therefore Mary, who lived only in the love of Jesus, had to feel in an extraordinary way the stab of pain of the sword in Her Heart.
Our Lady in all these moment of pains kept Her silence; never a word of complaint. But in this great pain She exclaimed: Son, why have you done this to us? Certainly, She did not mean to reproach Jesus, but to make a loving grievance, not knowing the purpose of what had happened.
What the Virgin suffered during those three long days of research, we cannot fully understand it. In Her other sorrows there was the presence of Jesus; But in this particular sorrow this presence was missing. Origène says that perhaps the pain of Mary was intensified by this thought: that Jesus has been lost because of my fault? There is no greater pain for a soul that loves than the fear of having displeased the person you love.
The Lord gave us Our Lady as a model of perfection and willed Her to suffer, and to suffer very much, to make us understand that suffering is necessary and it brings with it many spiritual goods, patience is indispensable for following Jesus carrying the Cross.
Mary’s anguish gives us a lesson for our spiritual life. Jesus has a multitude of souls who truly love Him, serving Him with loyalty and willing nothing else than to please Him. From time to time Jesus hides Himself from them, that is, He does not make His presence felt, and leaves them in spiritual aridity. Often these souls are troubled, not feeling their primitive fervor; they believe that prayers recited without fervor are not pleasing to God; they think it is bad to do good without enthusiasm, more so they feel repugnance; at the mercy of these temptations, but always with the strength to resist, they fear they no longer please Jesus.
In this they are mistaken! Jesus allows dryness even to the most chosen souls, so that one can be detached from consolation and so that they will learn from suffering. Indeed, dryness for souls that love is a hard trial, often a painful agony, nevertheless a very pale image of that which was experienced by Our Lady in losing Jesus.
For those who are troubled by spiritual aridity, it is recommended to have patience, while waiting for the hour of light; constancy and not forgetting any prayer or good work, also overcoming boredom or depression; saying this prayer often: “Jesus, I offer you my anguish, in union with what you felt in the garden of Gethsemane and that of Our Lady’s sorrow at your loss!”
Father Engelgrave narrates that a poor soul was distressed by many afflictions of spirit; however much good she did, she believed she did not please God, rather displeased him.
She was a devotee of Our Lady of Sorrows; In her prayer to Mary she often thought of the Virgin’s pains and contemplating in Mary’s sorrows she received comfort.
Becoming gravely sick, the devil took advantage to torment her more with her usual fears. The compassionate Mother came to the aid of Her devotee and appeared to assure her that her spiritual state did not displease God. Then She told her: “Why do you fear God’s judgments and become sadden? You have consoled me so many times, sympathizing with my sorrows! Know that it is precisely Jesus who sends me to you to give you relief. Be consoled and come with me to Heaven!
Full of confidence, that devout soul of Our Lady of Sorrows, died peacefully.
A Little Spiritual Flower Offering to our Lady:
– Do not think badly of others, do not murmur and pity those who make mistakes.
Prayer to Mary:
– O Mary, by the holy tears you poured on Calvary, console the troubled souls!
Adapted and Translated from:
MARIA REGINA E MADRE DI MISERICORDIA (Mese di Maggio) – by DON GIUSEPPE TOMASELLI