"If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children." - St. Louis de Montfort
(Gospel text: LK 2:41-51)
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.
Today the Church celebrates Mary’s immaculate heart, in doing so, we celebrate her single-heartedness. Sin divides our heart between self and God, making us no longer single-hearted, no longer immaculate of heart. Mary was different, therefore the Church honors her.
Mary faced a number of situations she did not understand. We are told explicitly this much at the Nativity and in the episode narrated in today’s gospel reading. Implicitly we are told the same when she hears Simeon’s prediction, when her Son appears to be telling her at the Cana wedding this is none of our business, when she hears Jesus say who is my mother?, and most of all at the foot of the cross. But Mary kept moving on without understanding, pondering in her heart.
Her steadfastness, her single-heartedness was not based on external evidence, but on trust. Her pondering in her heart without understanding had led her to not needing to understand. How could a mother understand that her innocent Son is being cruelly executed?
Being sure and being assured are not the same thing. Being sure speaks of understanding, which rests on evidence. Being assured speaks of an inner stance, which rests on trust. Mary was assured, even when she could not be sure.
Occasionally, we lose our sense of Jesus’ presence. When we pray, we may feel as if we were talking to thin air. Or in the midst of some difficulty we may wonder, “Where has God gone?” Perhaps we’ve lost our sense of the Lord because of our busyness, our indifference, or a pattern of sin. Or maybe God is “absenting” himself to increase our hunger for him.
In today’s gospel text, Mary sought her missing son with longing and perseverance. She didn’t give up the search until she found him. Let’s follow her example. Let’s eagerly seek Jesus every day of our lives.
Mary was steeped in a trust born of her pondering heart, her immaculate undivided heart.