A mother and father bring their small child to a shopping mall on an extremely busy day. They take turns keeping their eyes on the little boy and holding his hand as they move from store to store and then to the food court with a few bathroom breaks in between. Mommy suddenly glances around and her stomach begins to churn. She doesn’t see her child. But that’s okay, she thinks, he must be with Daddy. But the father does the same thing. In a sudden moment of panic, he doesn’t see his child. But he calms himself and assumes he’s with Mommy. Then the parents find each other, and neither one has the boy. They frantically start looking everywhere for their son.
[The mother] is crying. In vain [the parents] run from [store to store]. No one has seen him. [The father], after useless attempts to keep from crying, cries too. [They] cry [their] eyes out and wail to heaven and earth.
Sounds like an understandable reaction of parents who lose a child. I have two small children and don’t even want to think about how terrifying it would be if one of them disappeared. But do I wail and cry every time I lose Jesus? Do you?
The quote above, adapted from the words of Saint Josemaria Escriva, is part of a reflection on the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary – The Finding of Jesus in the Temple, as Mary and Joseph searched for young Jesus for three days.
Where is Jesus? —The Child, my Lady!… where is He? Mary is crying. —In vain you and I have run from group to group, from caravan to caravan: no one has seen Him. —Joseph, after useless attempts to keep from crying, cries too… And You… And I. Being a common little servant, I cry my eyes out and wail to heaven and earth… to make up for those times when I lost Him through my own fault and did not cry. Jesus: may I never lose Thee again… Then you and I are united in misfortune and grief, as we were united in sin.
I reflected on this mystery repeatedly throughout the Lenten season and during the Triduum. How often do we lose Jesus? We lose him every time we sin. Every month, every day, every hour. Tragically, sometimes every minute.
Whether mortal or venial, every sin is a moment when Jesus is missing from our lives. Each moment warrants a reaction like Mary and Joseph, figuratively or literally wailing and crying to heaven until we find Him again. Losing Jesus reminds me of the empty Tabernacle and the unlit candle on Good Friday.
It is easier to find Him than it is a lost child in a crowded place. That’s a true blessing. Our Lord and Savior is only as far away as a quick prayer or a visit to the confessional for the sacrament of reconciliation.
If you lost your own children at the mall, I know you’d do everything you could to find them. As we continue celebrating the Lord’s resurrection from the dead throughout the 50 days of Easter, let us do everything we can not to lose Him.
Jesus: may I never lose Thee again.