SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND


…and when they (Mary and Joseph) did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’ And he said to them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.” (Lk 2: 45-51)

Today, as we prepare for the Saturday of the Akathist (of Praise of the Mother of God), I’m reminded of Her “keeping all these things in Her heart.” What “things”? The ones She did not understand. As in this instance, when the Most-Holy Virgin and Joseph spend not one, not two, but three days looking for the twelve-year-old Jesus “anxiously,” only to find Him unapolagetically sitting in His Father’s house. The Mother of God “did not understand” what Her twelve-year-old has to say for Himself on this occasion, but the conversation ends here. I tend to imagine the silence on the way home as awkward. But really it is a picture of magnificent, human-divine restraint, humility, and loving obedience, amidst misunderstanding.

I need this reminder today, that it’s sometimes best to say nothing. I got some disturbing church-news yesterday, and proceeded to comment, in a flurry of emails. Today let me let go, and keep things in my heart, by the intercessions of the Theotokos. May She cover and protect us all, in restraint, humility, and loving obedience, amidst misunderstanding.

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