Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The purest suffering bears and carries in its train the purest understanding

On the Way of the Cross, you see, my children, only the first step is painful. Our greatest cross is the fear of crosses. . . We have not the courage to carry our cross, and we are very much mistaken; for, whatever we do, the cross holds us tight -- we cannot escape from it. What, then, have we to lose? Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven? - St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney

Gospel Text: (JN 20:1-2, 11-18)
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”

Mary 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 Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

We are all very familiar with the story of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Jesus on Easter Sunday. But as often as we hear it, the tale never gets old. Why is that?

First, this story tells us that Mary’s devotion was so deep because of all Jesus had done for her.

Second, this story tells us that Jesus reaches out to everyone who loves him.

Third, love always sends us out.

All too often, we think of Saint Mary Magdalene, whose memorial we celebrate today, as the “sinful woman,” from the Gospel. We rarely focus on how Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus and how she became a faithful disciple to the Lord. In the same way, we ourselves can fall into the pattern of recalling only our sins and our sinfulness while forgetting how we too have been healed by God and how like Mary Magdalene we strive in the midst of our human frailties to be faithful disciples.

Is there restlessness in your heart when you are at Mass or in prayer? Are your heart and your head in a battle, with your heart longing for Jesus but your mind preoccupied with many other things?

Catholics in their daily prayer life, who center on and foster a relationship with Christ in the Eucharist by devoting a few instants daily to contemplative praying and cultivating the assiduous reading of Jesus' Gospels, will also have the privilege of hearing a personal call from the Lord.

In the conversion of Magdalene, there was much love. In that dawn, Mary Magdalena takes risks for her Love, she listens to her Love (to hear Him saying "Mary" is enough for her to recognize Him) and as a result she meets the Father. The same can be said for us, if we open our heart.

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