Fleshing Out Adolescent Jesus

The second week — or “section,” as each section occupies several literal weeks — of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola is focused on the events of the life and ministry of Jesus.  As Trevor Hudson puts it, “we desire to know Jesus more intimately so we can love him more deeply and follow him more closely.” (Seeking God, p. 82)

Prayers this last week had me engaging texts of his birth and early life.  In one fell swoop, we collect his adolescent years:  “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) 

It was and is a text not without it’s question… 
and provocations of the imagination:

I know
what it says
about Jesus
in stature
and wisdom
and grace.

And, I know
how we affirm that,
as Son of God,
He was sinless man.

But, still
(or, maybe,
for this very reason),
I wonder…

Did they have to tell Him
to eat his vegetables
and drink His milk?

Was He a goody two shoes?
And, did his peers resent Him?
(“Who died and made you God?”)

Or, did He play and know how to have fun?

And, when they played games,
was He picked first…
or last…
or did they just let him play umpire?

Did he ever play hooky?
Or tell a joke?
Did He ever daydream?
Ever engage in a belching contest?
Did He ever roll his eyes
and say, “whatever”?
Did he ever have a crush?

Come to think of it,
did he ever trip on something
and say, “Oops, I didn’t see that.”

I wonder.

What is it for God to be
human, yes – but
a teenager,
an adolescent
at that?

Was He a square…
or obtuse…
or acute…
or equilateral?
I am sure he was in good shape.

Yes, times are
different now from then.
Culture and stuff.
But, kids will be kids, won’t they?
What about Him?

I suspect there are some out there for whom these questions border on the blasphemous.  (Their Jesus is so “Heavenly minded that He is no earthly good.”)

Others may be inclined to ask, “So what…  What’s the point?” 

Hard to find anything out there which really fleshes out "adolescent Jesus." Yes, there are lofty and pious speculations on the one side.... and slightly irreverent treatments at the other end.

For my part, though, these lines of inquiry
— these questions — seem important.
For apart from raising them
(and, like Mary, “pondering them in our hearts”),
I wonder (along with Ignatius, I believe)
how seriously we are taking Incarnation.

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