His mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)
Todays Gospel reading makes it clear that whatever the Immaculate Heart of Mary means, it doesnt mean that Mary was serene and untroubled. It doesnt mean that she was devoid of questions about what God was asking of her and how her sons special vocation was to unfold. The question she asks of Jesus here even sounds like a reproach. Why have you done this to us? We have been very worried about you. Any parent can supply the next line: Next time you decide to do something like this, at least let us know beforehand!
To add to the puzzlement, Jesus responded with a question of his own. Why were you looking all over town for me? Didnt you think that I would be drawn to this place?
Luke tells us that they didnt understand what Jesus meant at that moment. But Mary wanted to understand more fully, so she stored this incident in her heart and pulled it out from time to time to reflect on it. She didnt just stew over the way Jesus treated her and Joseph; she asked what it meant. What was it about Jesus relationship with his heavenly Father that would move hima mere youthto abandon his parents and spend three days in a big city by himself? Only when Jesus left home and began his public ministry could Mary begin to find answers to questions like these.
What does it mean to ponder? It means to sit quietly with our thoughtsand with the Lord. It may also involve a bit of reading to help bolster our understanding, and perhaps even a conversation with a wise friend. This kind of pondering will help us when we want to bring our own reproaches before the Lord. Rather than dwelling on the immediate situation that has disturbed us, prayerful pondering helps us gain a bigger pictureone that has room for Gods love and provision.
So dont be afraid to ask tough questions, just as Mary did. Just make sure you also return to the central truths that Mary clung to: God loves me, and I want to love God more. As long as this center is intact, every other concern and attachment will find its proper place.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, draw me into loving conversation with your son.
1 Kings 19:19-21 Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-10