When I’ve thought of the fifth joyful mystery of the rosary, I’ve always thought of how I would feel if I looked for three days for my son, who also happened to be the Son of God, and found Him back at the temple. My first reaction, in this imaginary scenario, is to do a mental forehead-smacking and think, “Great! I’ve lost the Son of God! What kind of responsible person am I?!” The next reaction, upon finding Him in the temple, is to have a knee-jerk “DUH!” response. It does make perfect sense, when you think about it. Most boys would be off exploring the big city of Jerusalem, because there’s a lot for a country boy to see. Most boys would probably be in big trouble, but we’re not talking about most boys. We’re talking about the Son of God. He was in his Father’s House, after all. So instead of shaking him and giving him a cuffing across the head when they found him, maybe Mary and Joseph had a moment of joy (it is, after all, one of the joyful mysteries) to find Jesus safe and sound, and in the Temple demonstrating his wisdom and curiosity.

Recently, I heard the fifth joyful mystery announced by a different voice, and something struck me: Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the teachers, asking questions and dialoguing. In reflecting on this, it struck me how someone recently told me about their frustrations with Catholics who don’t question things, with Catholics who just accept the Will of the Church (when they said it, it was capitalized like that, I’m certain), with Catholics who don’t challenge the status quo. I was a little puzzled, but then, I am a convert so I started my journey by questioning and searching for answers. In my studies of Church doctrine and teachings, I have found that the more I learn, the more liberated I am. In learning about Natural Family Planning and God’s design for marriage, for example, I have only discovered the joy of my womanhood and the identity of myself as a person within my marriage, as opposed to my duties as an object of my desires.

Jesus was there in the Temple, asking questions. We are called to be like Jesus, and in that case, doesn’t that mean we should find ourselves in the Church, asking questions? Doesn’t that mean that we are following our Lord and Savior when we ask the hard questions and seek the difficult answers to the issues of the day? Doesn’t that mean we are doing exactly what we’re supposed to be doing when we chew over the bad-tasting topics and reflect on many angles of any given idea?

It also means, though, that we have to accept the authority of the Church. It’s in no way to detract from those who trust with faith alone and who don’t question. No, the real ah-ha for me in all of this was in finding that perhaps I am being like Jesus when I ask and question and seek answers.