Friday, July 22, 2005

But Mary wept

and remained standing outside the tomb.

'Saint Mary Magdalene approaching the Sepulchre' by Gian Girolamo Savoldo We should reflect on Mary (Magdalene)’s attitude
and the great love she felt for Christ;
for though the disciples had left the tomb,
she remained.

She was still seeking the one she had not found,
and while she sought she wept;
burning with the fire of love,
she longed for him
who she thought had been taken away.

And so it happened
that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ
was the only one to see him.
For perseverance is essential to any good deed,
as the voice of truth tells us:
Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.

At first she sought but did not find,
but when she persevered
it happened that she found what she was looking for.

When our desires are not satisfied,
they grow stronger,
and becoming stronger
they take hold of their object.

Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation,
and if they do not grow
they are not really desires.

Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth
has burned with such a great love.

As David says:
My soul has thirsted for the living God;
when shall I come
and appear before the face of God?

And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says:
I was wounded by love;
and again:
My soul is melted with love.

* * * * * * *

Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom do you seek?

She is asked why she is sorrowing
so that her desire might be strengthened;
for when she mentions whom she is seeking,
her love is kindled all the more ardently.

Jesus says to her: Mary.

Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”;
so he calls her by name,
as though he were saying:
Recognise me as I recognise you;
for I do not know you as I know others;
I know you as yourself.

And so Mary, once addressed by name,
recognises who is speaking.
She immediately calls him rabboni,
that is to say, teacher,
because the one whom she sought outwardly
was the one who inwardly taught her
to keep on searching.

From a homily on the Gospels by Pope St. Gregory the Great
(Today's Office of the Readings)