Remember that the easiest way to pray the rosary is to recognize that Jesus and Mary and Joseph are with you right here, right now, as they are in heaven, not as they were a couple thousand years ago. Sure, take a look at what they did for you and all back in the day, but, in our Lord’s grace, with a spirit of humble thanksgiving for them, right here, right now.
Remember, it’s not about your imagination that you are in their presence – which Pelagian effort of imagination is a lot of hooey – rather, your act of the will, in our Lord’s grace, to humbly thank Him and our Blessed Mother is what the prayer of the rosary is all about.
Clever meditations, whether in “rant” style or, later, please God, in a style presented in a more genteel manner (when I get all the Scripture tomes out of the boxes and on some now non-existent shelves), don’t get anyone anywhere. The only way what is presented on this blog is going to help anyone is if that someone, by the grace of our Lord, uses these words as an occasion to humbly thank the Holy Family right now for what went on back in the day.
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For this preliminary “rant meditation” on the fifth joyful mystery of the most holy rosary, let’s take Luke 2,41-52, for which a summary interlinear comment will be provided, based on my own in-your-face translation from the Greek, with an eye to the Vulgate. I’m not into the esoteric practice of translating one word for one word, as if, magically, all languages had absolutely perfect one word for one word equivalents. Such pretension cannot ever provide a great translation, unless you’re in a position to create the language, as was the case with the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which made up a goodly number of words, but paraphrased the rest. Instead, trying to avoid coining any words, I’ll provide a translation with more in-your-face accuracy than any one word for one word translation could ever present. The perfect verbs in Greek, with all of their perfectly continuing perfection, are not easy to translate!
Luke 2,41 And every year His parents were proceeding into Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. 42 And when it came about that He was twelve years, they are going up according to the custom of the feast. 43 And with the days having come to an end – in their returning — the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know. 44 But thinking Him to be in the traveling group, they went a day on the road, and they were searching for Him among their kinsmen and acquaintances. 45 And not having found Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. 46 And it happened that after three days they found Him in the Temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and interrogating them. 47 And all those listening to Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48 And they, beholding Him, were overwhelmed, and His mother said to Him, “Son! What is this you have done to us? Behold! Your father and I are suffering an agony, having sought you. 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek me? Hadn’t you known that it is necessary that I be among those of my Father? 50 But they did not understand the word He spoke to them. 51 He climbed down with them and went to Nazareth, and He was subject to them, and His mother treasured all the words in her heart.
O.K. Let’s do some interlinear comments:
Luke 2,41 And every year His parents were proceeding into Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. ["Every year", that is, since they came back from their exile into Egypt, but, say, by 4 A.D.] 42 And when it came about that He was twelve years [and time for Him to become a Son of the Law, a Bar Mitzvah, for, having completed 12 years, He was into His 13th year...], they are going up [note the immediacy of the all of a sudden present tense] according to the custom of the feast. [everybody went to the feast, the entire country, North and South.] 43 And with the days having come to an end — in their returning — the Child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents did not know. [And He knew they didn't know...] 44 But thinking Him to be in the traveling group, they went a day on the road, and they were searching for Him among their kinsmen and acquaintances. [you can just feel their hearts sinking and their stomachs knotting] 45 And not having found Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. ["They", meaning Joseph and Mary. I wouldn't blame the kinsmen and acquaintances for not going with them. Joseph and Mary, at this point, would be happy to be rid of them, for they would only hold them back. The return would be straight up the cliffs from Jericho to Jerusalem, not along the nice highway there is today, but most likely by the most direct route, up the gorge, dangerous should it rain, and with everywhere to twist an ankle on countless loose rocks and boulders, or to fall... And to do this... at night... alone... with bandits everywhere because of the feast... Imagine their broken hearts... They would have been asking everyone, especially the bandits, of the whereabouts of their Son. Love knows no fear...] 46 And it happened that after three days [of helpless, hopeless anguish... The city was no place for a boy, alone, in such crowds...] they found Him in the Temple sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and interrogating them. [!] 47 And all those listening to Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. [This would be the famous rabbinic dialogue: I'll answer your question with a question, which not only answers your questions but raises the whole discussion to an impossibly higher level, with this going back and forth for hours... Extremely intense, extremely interesting, enthralling, truly awe-striking! Imagine doing that with the One about whom the Scriptures were written! Yikes!] 48 And they, beholding Him, were overwhelmed ["Beholding Him"... which would have the sense, then, not only of having caught sight of Him, thus ending their search, but seeing what He was doing, and comparing whatever the result of this could be with their own extreme anguish, with their anguish winning out...], and His mother said to Him, “Son! What is this you have done to us? Behold! Your father and I are suffering an agony, having sought you. [So, what would this look like, this agony which does not end just because they finally saw Him? -- Three days and nights without sleep, having taken little nourishment, utterly, totally disheveled, in tears, and the look of wanting an explanation like it's the end of the world... their hearts waiting to mend, waiting on His word...] 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek me? Hadn’t you known that it is necessary that I be among those of my Father?” ["Hadn't you known"... a pluperfect. In other words, there should have been forewarned about this from an events or events already in the distant past, such as, precisely His annunciation/conception and the words of Simeon and Anna when He was presented in the very Temple where he was now. He also answers their question with a question, answering their question and raising the whole discussion to another level.] 50 But they did not understand the word He spoke to them. [But she would, in time to come, during another three days of darkness, of seeking for Him, from the time of His being taken down from the Cross until the Day of His Resurrection. Mary would treasure these words of His and think back to those pluperfect times, when Simeon had spoken of the sword of sorrow that would pierce her heart. So much would she understand that she would NOT be with Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus early Sunday morning. She already knew He had to be among those of His Father, and would soon be seen again.] 51 He climbed down with them [This rather strongly indicates the gorge down to Jericho. A most difficult journey.] and went to Nazareth, and He was subject to them, and His mother treasured all the words in her heart.
A word on joy: This is one of the joyous mysteries of the rosary. It’s full of anguish and still, at the end, misunderstanding. However — and this is the insight that the Church has into the faith — even if it seems that the overriding question is about our own anguish, the joy of the reality of Jesus with us is much deeper than any questions we might have. Our questions will be answered. The proof that this was also true back in the day is the statement that Mary, His mother, treasured all the words in her heart. She knew. She knew. And their is an abiding joy in all this.
A word on the Holy Family: Probably the Holy Family got back from Egypt a couple of years before Archelaus was tossed out of power by Rome, so that this was the second year they were determined to make the journey (of course they would!) to Jerusalem. I say this because it doesn’t appear that they were in Nazareth long enough for prejudices against them (outside of their kinsmen and acquaintances) to be dropped. They would have known, for instance, fluent Arabic from hated rival Egypt. And why were they gone all these years? They couldn’t say why. They had to lie low, far from Archelaus. Why do I say all that?
At this point, the Holy Family still seems to be Jesus, Mary and Joseph. But this would soon change, in my not so humble opinion. Not that Mary had any more children. But it seems to be that the later “brothers and sisters of Jesus” thing refers not to any cousins of Jesus as Catholics against Protestants have contended (there being no word for “cousin” in Hebrew outside of “brother”). These “brothers and sisters” seem to be a bit too obnoxious in the Gospels to be even His cousins, much less his blood brothers and sisters. They are trying to prove something to Mary by dragging her down with them to prove that Jesus is possessed. Remember that? Kids don’t need to do that with birth-mothers. Adoptees might strongly feel the need to undo the position of the only begotten Son. The only ones it seems to be me, who would be hell bent on destroying the one and only Son, would be adopted street urchins, the orphans, the throw-aways, the run-aways.
Think of the jealosy, the envy. People think that the Holy Family was so nice and calm. Instead, I bet all three had their hands full, taking care of all the kids that gravitated to them. Mayhem. Kids bouncing off the walls and outside with no discipline that would keep them in line. Probably. That’s just the Gospel according to me. But knowing problem kids and knowing the generosity of some of those who take care of them, I just can’t see it any other way.
So, lots of goodness and kindness!