Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains." - Saint John Marie Vianney
Gospel text (Jn 20,11-18):
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.
And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them, "They have taken my Lord,
and I don't know where they laid him."
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
"Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni,"
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, "Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
'I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.'"
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord,"
and then reported what he had told her.
I find it very easy to identify with Mary because she is so human. She is very emotional and she vigorously reacts to events that stir her emotions. This Gospel passage from John is one that clearly demonstrates how prayers can be answered. Mary Magdalene was looking for Jesus, the man she had seen crucified. We can assume that she had been praying that he would return to be with the disciples and continue his teaching. However, when she arrived at the tomb his body was gone. She initially thought that somebody had stolen his body. When the risen Jesus initially revealed himself to her, she did not recognize him. This is because she, like most of us, was unable to see the world through the eyes of God. She was only looking at Christ from her worldly eyes, and therefore was unable to recognize the beauty of God that stood before her. Not until Christ unveiled her eyes did she recognize that her prayers had indeed been answered. This is a common experience with us when we receive the answers to our prayers.
Often when I pray and it does not come to pass exactly as I had asked, I believe that my prayers were not heard. Looking back at some of the prayers that I thought God had ignored, I am thankful they were answered as they were. At the time I thought I knew the best answer, but if I were able to look at my life as Christ does, I would be able to see that he truly does have a plan for my life. Just as when Mary looked directly at Jesus, but did not recognize him, sometimes we are looking at the answer to our prayers, but we do not recognize it because it comes in a different vehicle than we were expecting. If we are able to change our perspective and view the world from God’s eyes, we would see that God answers our prayers in the best manner possible. I have found that my plan can interfere with God’s plan, and when I recognize that Christ knows best, I have found that my prayers are answered more often than I originally anticipated.