The fifth joyous mystery of the Rosary is the finding of Our Lord in the temple. For reference, Luke 2:41-52:
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
When I think about these events, I can’t help but sympathize with Mary as a mother. Her child has run off, and she doesn’t know where he is, for three days! Of course, as any good mother would, Mary is freaking out. She wants to know why Jesus has put her through this. I can’t possibly understand the extent of her and Joseph’s terror though, knowing that they have lost not only their child, but their Messiah. Can you imagine the worst case scenarios going through their heads? They’ve lost their Lord. Has he perished? Will they ever be able to find him again? Have they screwed up God’s master plan and will He strike them dead in anger? They felt like this for three days.
There’s another time when Christ was lost for three days, his followers terror striken and alone. He was buried, leaving the disciples to wonder if God’s plan had been thwarted or if there was any hope left for anyone. Again, I can only imagine the despair they felt. Talk about the dark night of the soul!
Finding Our Lord in the temple after three days seems to me a clear foreshadowing of his resurrection. It is the unknown hope we are desperate for, and that God has planned all along. It is the dawn to end our dark night, which we never understood was possible. I think maybe everyone goes through dark times, feeling abandoned and alone and completely hopeless. Meditating on this mystery teaches me that God has a plan in our sufferings, that He is always in control, and that He will bring us out of the darkness in good time, whether we can see it or not.