What Once Was Lost

The parish where I grew up, where I made all my sacraments and where I first became a youth minister is called Holy Family Church. So, for the longest time, this Sunday’s celebration was my parish’s patronal feast day. They wouldn’t do anything crazy to mark the feast day – maybe a special blessing for families, if anything – but, for some reason, this celebration of the Sunday after Christmas, the Feast of the Holy Family, always felt extra special to me. I like to think it’s because the readings and the homily were more relatable to me as they tended to center around family life. 

Today’s Gospel from Luke is no different – the story of Jesus being lost and found in the temple. Here, the struggles of family life are very real and very apparent, even for the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I mean, what parent wouldn’t panic if their child was lost in a grocery store for five minutes, let alone lost in a different city for three days? Upon realizing that Jesus was not in the caravan, I can only imagine the anguish and worry Mary and Joseph must have felt. 

For the longest time, I’ve been reflecting on this story as the joyful mystery that we pray in the rosary, as the finding of the boy Jesus in the temple. And, yes, it is easy to picture the joy and relief that Mary and Joseph must have felt upon finding Jesus in the temple. Lately, however, I’ve been reflecting on the other side of the story – not on the finding but the losing. 

I recently went on a retreat where God didn’t feel present in those days and in that space. In fact, He felt very, very absent. I felt like I had lost Him, especially since the Lord had been so present and so abundant in His workings in the weeks leading up to my retreat. Toward the end of that retreat, I found myself begging Him to move, to show up, to do something so that this time spent with Him wouldn’t be a waste. What I didn’t realize at that time is that He was actually calling me to move instead

When we lose something, we go looking for it – our keys, our wallet, our phone, etc. So I can’t help but wonder if the Lord was allowing me to feel His loss so that I may ever more desire to seek Him. Something – or someone – must have been lost in order to be found again. 

Seeking became the pervading theme for the rest of my retreat and the focus of my prayer coming off of it. So it is now the theme that I share with you today – do you seek the Lord in your daily life? How do you seek Him? Are you asking Him to move without putting forth any of your own effort? I encourage you to ponder these questions in your heart as Mary did after finding Jesus in the temple. 

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Erin Madden is a Cleveland native and graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is passionate about the Lord Jesus, all things college sports and telling stories and she is blessed enough to get paid for all three of her passions. You can catch her on old episodes of the Clarence & Peter Podcast on YouTube as well as follow her on Twitter@erinmadden2016.

Feature Image Credit: Aron Visuals, https://unsplash.com/photos/3jBU9TbKW7o