Soon the exile was over and we retraced our steps, being led out of Egypt by an angel’s word to us. We settled into our life at Nazareth, joyful to be back among those whom we knew and loved.
God’s graces in my soul were super-abundant. Each year we made our way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. When Jesus was twelve years old, we set out as usual, not knowing at all what lay ahead.
The Return to Jerusalem
When those days were over, we returned in the large group to Nazareth but soon discovered that Jesus was not there. Our only hope was to go back to Jerusalem and search for him. How painful was that journey. The joy of the feast had drained from my heart. I knew by faith that years later I would make another painful journey to Jerusalem, but this I will describe later.
It took us another day to arrive, so we began our search on the third day in the temple area. There was Jesus, speaking with the learned teachers of Israel, asking them questions and even giving replies. They were astounded and we were amazed.
I could only speak from my heart, “Jesus, why have you done this? Your father and I have been looking for you?” His reply was totally different from what I expected. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?” Yes, he belonged to his heavenly Father.
Belonging to the Father
I knew this all along, and like any devout Jewish mother, I continually gave Jesus back to the Father, “He is yours”, I would say, “not mine”, but this event made that sacrifice so real. We had lost Jesus for three days, and our joyful finding of him was now mixed with the realization that he did not belong to us. He called God his Father and it was to his Father that he would dedicate his life. I had always said, “Father, he belongs to you”. Yet, facing that reality was a sorrow of my heart. Now, I had experienced three sorrows – the prophesy of Simeon, the escape into Egypt and this event in the temple. As the Mother of Jesus, I would accumulate many more sorrows. These sorrows were part of my “yes” to God.
O reader, how many sorrows you endure. When they become too heavy for you, come to me, the Mother of Sorrows, and I will console you. I will pour out the endless blessings that I stored up for you. With every sorrow, God gave me endless blessings, so I could give them to all those who suffer. Earth is a valley of tears, but I can make it into a valley of peace. This is why I speak.
Comment: Mary has seven sorrows. The other four are: Meeting Jesus carrying his cross, the death of Jesus, holding Jesus after his death and the burial of Jesus. There is a rosary of the Sorrows of Mary.