“The journey of Jesus to the Passover in Jerusalem at the age of twelve forms a natural division between his boyhood and manhood. His simple questions to his worried parents in the temple revealed his consciousness of his identity, and his willingness to respond to the demands of his Father in heaven. He recognized that the first phase of his obedience led him back to his mother’s home and Joseph’s bench; thither he returned with a new sense of vocation.
Those eighteen silent years were not lost. They were the source of much of the wisdom and strength that were concentrated in the arduous years to follow. The roots of knowledge, of devotion and of sacrifice grew strong and deep in the rich soil of Nazareth. There he extended and quickened his understanding of God’s law, he learned with steady concentration the mission and the destiny of the Messiah, and the price that would be demanded of him: he grew in his appraisal of men, until he could penetrate their hearts and read their motives. As year succeeded year, so his life grew richer, his communion with his Father deeper, and his preparation more complete. (Book 1, chapter 5)