Burning with the fire of love, she longed for him whom she thought had been taken away

When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away, and so informed the disciples.  After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says, The disciples went back home, and it adds, But Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.

We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great lover 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 whom she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman that stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perserverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perserveres to the end will be saved.

At first she sought but did not find, but when she perservered then 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 say, My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and behold the face of the Lord?  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 recognized when he calls her woman, so he calls her by her name, as if he were saying, “Recognize me as I recognize you; for I do not know you as I know others, for I know you as yourself.”  And so Mary addressed by name, recognizes who is speaking.  She immediately calls him Rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one whom inwardly taught her to keep on searching.

Gregory the Great, Homily on the Gosepls

Feast of St. Mary Magdalen

~ by Alypius on July 22, 2008.

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