Contemplating the Hidden Life of the Child Jesus

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola proposes a contemplation on the Hidden Life of Jesus who honored his father and obeyed his mother. The object Ignatius proposes is “the obedience of the Child Jesus to his parents.” Jesus freely accepted his most ordinary, most average family life as normal. He played with the other boys, sat at the feet of the rabbi to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah, hung around Joseph in the workshop, loved family meals, learned to pray from his parents, attended synagogue every Sabbath.

Like me, many retreatants have found imaginative contemplation on our Lord and Savior as the child Jesus very nourishing. They see him with his Mother watching over him, or Joseph teaching him. St. Ignatius was right; all these aspects of his Hidden Life are certainly worth contemplating so that we may attain a more profound loving understanding of Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.

—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, is a retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA.


O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate Jesus, Mary and Joseph in practicing the virtues of family life in the bonds of love, so that the joy of our home may be a foretaste of life in our Heavenly Home.

—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, based on the collect prayer for the Feast of the Holy Family