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3 Decades, 3 Years, 3 Days: What principles has the Life of Jesus taught me?

Updated: May 17, 2021

My Personal Thoughts

After completing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises on the Life of Christ a few years back, I find myself often drawn back to my imaginings about His life, dipping once again into the pool of graces that are always awaiting me. When I follow that call and return there during a prayer time, or after sharing the Exercises with another, one or two moments come to mind, it is as if God is sharing a special gift of grace just for me to savor and enjoy again the joys of it all.

This morning, as I sat down to begin a contemplation time, instead of taking in that deep breath to settle my mind, I decided to entertain the variety of thoughts that were popping up. My usual struggle with trying to understand the mystery of the Trinity and Incarnation has been a recent ‘mental project’ of mine, came up. “Why did God decide to come to earth as a human?”

Well, that was just too much for a Monday morning. The adult child in me is always at work desiring the answer to questions of such mysteries.

To hone down my mental wildness, I decided to simplify and asked myself, “What has Jesus’ life lived taught me? That question was just as enormous. It seemed the most logical thing to do to keep my insatiable desires in check was to begin with a limit of journaling for 20 minutes and leave it at that.

Naturally, I started at the beginning of His life with images of Jesus as a child for I was just with my grandson this weekend. I wrote: In allowing himself to be cared for as an infant reminded me of my own vulnerability and the importance of a loving family life, roles of parenting and grandparenting, that home is where the heart is, honoring through loving obedience, learning for wisdom not just facts, and...etc.

More images were flying up and down and back and forth in my frontal brain. Though my heart knows no bounds, yet my time availability in creating words around the breadth and depth of the meaning and learnings from just one aspect of Jesus’ life has its limits. Quickly I had to face the reality of this endless loving adventure could not be fit into a time frame, I had to do something different, at least just for today.

Again I took another step to simplify. *‘Let’s categorize instead,’ I said to myself through my left-sided neocortex. That sat comfortably within me. Asking another question: “What are the foundational principles to hold onto when I find myself drifting along into an abyss of not being my best self?” Definitely, a place where I do not like myself or want to be, and for sure others do not like me when I am there. Just a few words, images, or ideas to attach myself to for this day or this week? I thought.

What foundational is word or phrase will be those touchstones that will bring me back to a place where my mind can be cleansed, my heart can sing, and my soul renewed? With that as my starting point, I wrote what came up to me as true: Jesus’ 3 Decades, 3 Years, and 3 Days.

Yet, (being tested with a 99 percentile aptitude for ideaphoria), my word list kept growing under these three 3 categories. I had to make an executive decision, I decided it could only be 3 virtues, principles, or ideas to keep it simple for today’s contemplative prayer time for the 3 phases of Jesus’s life as a image for my north star for the week. Somehow it satisfied the ‘3s’ in my ongoing Trinity mental project. Yet as you can see on my list here, I cheated a bit and combined two similar takeaways and learnings to reflect on.

3 Reflections on Jesus’s Life of the 3 Decades, 3 Years, and 3 Days

The 3 Decades – Jesus’ Family Life

  1. Loving Obedience & Vulnerability

  2. Family & Community

  3. Learning & Wisdom

The 3 Years – Jesus’ Ministry Years

  1. Compassion & Empathy

  2. Listening & Teaching

  3. Sharing & Caring

The 3 Days – Jesus’ Passion & Resurrection

  1. Forgiveness & Mercy

  2. Sacrifice in Love

  3. Suffering with Purpose & Hope

My hope in sharing my list with you is that you would consider your own list or enjoy reflecting on these.

Have a most blessed day!


*‘Let’s start’ for me is ‘Let us, God, start’, for we ( God and I ) do things together (only the good). Jesus helps by guiding, and when I am not following the good in truth and beauty, yet He is often chasing me around the corner, shouting, “stop, come back.” That which I am so grateful for!

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