Finding Our Lord in the Temple
All I wanted was my own theater troupe.
All I wanted was to work with actors, write plays, direct, do good work. I was 27 and I was miserable. I was at that age when it was getting hard to put my failures and frustrations behind me, to chalk them up to innocence or lack of experience. I was beginning to expect this would be a life-long pattern.
And then, on one of the worst days of that long hot summer, in the midst of my despair and frustration, I realized something.
"Hey, I do have my own theater troupe!"
I had just begun teaching children's acting classes at a local community theater. I realized I could write for these kids, work with them and challenge them to do the best stage performances they could. I only had a handful of students, but I could change that.
And so that fall I began promoting the program by visiting schools and taking flyers door to door. My classes went from 8 students to 72 in a 12-month period. And the work was both creatively rewarding and financially rewarding. The kids would give me suggestions from stories and characters, and I would turn their ideas into scripts. They loved it and so did I. It's how I learned to write plays, to see what worked and what didn't, acted out right there in front of me.
What does all of this have to do with Mary and Joseph finding Our Lord in the Temple?
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2:49)
There is a lot to be said about this mystery - the three days Jesus was lost foreshadowing His three days in the tomb; the worry of Joseph and Mary suddenly turned to joy; the wisdom of the child, teaching the teachers.
But what I'm focusing on is the simple fact that we often don't see what's right under our nose. When I was most upset that I didn't have my own troupe, in fact I simply failed to notice that I did. It was not the troupe I had envisioned - it was just a bunch of kids at a community theater - but it was there.
So ... what do you have in your life that you are still mistakenly longing for? Are you waiting for the perfect girl to marry when she's been right by your side all along? Are you looking for the perfect job, when if you gave your best to the one you have it might become so much better? Are you looking for the perfect parish, when yours is filled with good and loving people, despite all the flaws?
So when we feel we've lost Jesus, remember not only that we will find Him again, for "he who seeks finds" (Mat. 7:8), but remember as well that He's still right where we left Him, going about His father's business.
He's in the poor and the lonely around us; He's in the crosses we bear and the life situations we think are most frustrating and hopeless; He's in His Divine Word; He is incarnational and He's probably right under our noses. All we need to do is look.
Let us pray a decade of the Rosary meditation upon Finding Jesus in the Temple, and let us pray ...
To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.