The Person of Mary: The Finding in the Temple & the Hidden Life©

The charts below are direct quotes from Post-Vatican II Magisterial Documents concerning the theme, Mary's Life, the Finding and the Hidden Life. These teachings of the Catholic Church may prove useful to include in talks, in homilies or for research. For the full title and document data, click on the abbreviation code (for example, BYM leads you to the document, Behold Your Mother). This will also lead you to the complete document on this website or assist you in locating it elsewhere.

For an index of the documents used in the study see: List of Magisterial Documents
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Documents VI. The Life of Mary / 2h. Sacred Scripture:
New Testament Elements Infancy: The Finding in the Temple
Lumen Gentium, 1964
  • His parents found him in the temple, engaged in the things that were his Father's. 57
Behold Your Mother (USA), 1973
  • [references especially on "pondering"] 69, 77
Catechesi Tradendae, 1979
  • found her adolescent Son in the temple; she received from Him lessons that she kept in her heart (cf. Lk 2:51) 73
Redemptoris Mater, 1987 Hidden life
  • When the Holy Family returns to Nazareth after Herod's death, there begins the long period of the hidden life. She "who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Lk 1:45) lives the reality of these words day by day. And daily at her side is the Son to whom "she gave the name Jesus"; therefore in contact with him she certainly uses this name, a fact which would have surprised no one, since the name had long been in use in Israel. Nevertheless, Mary knows that he who bears the name Jesus has been called by the angel "the Son of the Most High." (cf. Lk.1:32) 17
  • Mary's life too is "hid with Christ in God" (cf. Col 3:3) through faith. For faith is contact with the mystery of God. Every day Mary is in constant contact with the ineffable mystery of God made man, a mystery that surpasses everything revealed in the Old Covenant. From the moment of the Annunciation, the mind of the Virgin Mother has been initiated into the radical "newness" of God's self-revelation and has been made aware of the mystery. She is the first of those "little ones" of whom Jesus will say one day: "Father, ... you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes." (Mt 11:25)  For "no one knows the Son except the Father." (Mt 11:27) [yet she does not know him as the Father does] 17 [See also 26]

The Finding in the Temple

  • He was obedient both to Mary and also to Joseph, since Joseph took the place of his father in people's eyes; for this reason, the Son of Mary was regarded by the people as "the carpenter's son." (Mt 13:55) 17[See more on obedience of faith in this paragraph]
Redemptoris Custos, St. Joseph, 1989 The Finding in the Temple
  • Together with Mary and Joseph, Jesus took part in the feast as a young pilgrim. "And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it." (Lk 2:43) 15
  • Mary asked: "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." (Lk 2:48) The answer Jesus gave was such that "they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them" He had said, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Lk 2:49-50) 15

The Hidden Life

  • All of the so-called "private" or "hidden" life of Jesus is entrusted to Joseph's guardianship. 8
  • Only one episode from this "hidden time" is described in the Gospel of Luke: the Passover in Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old. 15
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994
Fidei Depositum, 1992
Hidden Life

531 During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labor. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God, (cf. Gal 4:4) a life in the community. From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was "obedient" to his parents and that he "increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man." (Lk 2:51-52)

532 Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfills the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. The everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: "Not my will...." (Lk 22:42) The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed. (cf. Rom 5:19)

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life:

... May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character...A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the "Carpenter's Son" .... (Paul VI at Nazareth, Jan 5, 1964)

The Finding in the Temple

534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus. (cf. Lk 2:41-52) Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?" (Lk 2:49 alt) Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary "kept all these things in her heart" during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.

564 By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work. 583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth. (Lk 2:22-39) At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father's business. (cf. Lk 2:46-49) He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover. (cf. Lk 2:41) His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts. (cf. Jn 2:13-14 et al)

Novo Millennio Ineunte, 2001
  • They recorded his religious fervor, which prompted him to make annual pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem with his family (cf. Lk 2:41), and made him a regular visitor to the synagogue of his own town. (cf. Lk 4:16) 18
  • This divine-human identity emerges forcefully from the Gospels... Is this not what Luke wishes to tell us when he recounts Jesus' first recorded words, spoken in the Temple in Jerusalem when he was barely twelve years old? Already at that time he shows that he is aware of a unique relationship with God, a relationship which properly belongs to a "son." When his mother tells him how anxiously she and Joseph had been searching for him, Jesus replies without hesitation: "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's affairs?" (Lk 2:49) 24
  • Together, we must all imitate the contemplation of Mary, who returned home to Nazareth from her pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem, treasuring in her heart the mystery of her Son. (cf. Lk 2:51) 59
Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002 The Finding in the Temple
  • Thereafter Mary's gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: "Son, why have you treated us so?" (Lk 2:48) 10
  • Joy mixed with drama marks the fifth mystery, the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple. Here he appears in his divine wisdom as he listens and raises questions, already in effect one who "teaches." The revelation of his mystery as the Son wholly dedicated to his Father's affairs proclaims the radical nature of the Gospel, in which even the closest of human relationships are challenged by the absolute demands of the Kingdom. Mary and Joseph, fearful and anxious, "did not understand" his words. (Lk 2:50) 20

The Hidden Life

  • Moving on from the infancy and the hidden life in Nazareth to the public life of Jesus, our contemplation brings us to those mysteries which may be called in a special way "mysteries of light." 21
  • The family that recites the Rosary together reproduces something of the atmosphere of the household of Nazareth: its members place Jesus at the center, they share his joys and sorrows, they place their needs and their plans in his hands, they draw from him the hope and the strength to go on. 41
Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003
  • Mary, throughout her life at Christ's side and not only on Calvary, made her own the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. When she brought the child Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem "to present him to the Lord," (Lk 2:22) she heard the aged Simeon announce that the child would be a "sign of contradiction" and that a sword would also pierce her own heart. (cf. Lk 2:34-35) 56


© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.

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