With the recent feasts of Jesus’ Circumcision celebrated eight days after Christmas, the Epiphany celebrated this week, and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple in the weeks ahead, I found it appropriate to discuss with you the Mysteries of Jesus’ Infancy and Hidden Life as taught to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Hidden Life of Jesus is often poorly misinterpreted which leads to incorrect assumptions of how our Lord was raised by Mary and Joseph. Although not revealed to us fully in the Sacred Scriptures, the Hidden Life of Christ remains an important part of our understanding of Jesus, particularly in the Gospel of St. Luke since Jesus “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man” (Lk 2:51-52) as well as in the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, which is the event that breaks the silence of Jesus’ hidden life.
Quickly, the Catechism, teaches…
“The whole of Christ’s life was a continual teaching: his silences, his miracles, his gestures, his prayer, his love for people, his special affection for the little and the poor, his acceptance of the total sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of the world, and his Resurrection are the actualization of his word and the fulfillment of Revelation” John Paul II, CT 9). [#561]
Christ’s disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them (cf. Gal 4:19). “For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him” (LG 7 § 4). [#562]
No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child. [#563]
By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work. [#564]
For a complete understanding of these subjects, I would encourage you to read CCC 527-534. I would also suggest Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives by Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger).