There are few hearts so open, so revealed to us in Holy Scripture, like the heart of Mary Magdalene. In the brief passages that bring her into focus, we see her as a person who begins at a distance from Christ, only to slowly, imperceptibly even, be in a position to cling to Jesus.
And it is in this way that we all can identify with the woman who would at first look on the cross of Jesus from afar (Mark 15: 40). We spend too much time on the periphery, observing the Church, admiring those who are involved as if they somehow have more time than us, praying but in a way that doesn’t really come from deep within ourselves.
And then, almost without explanation, sometimes just momentarily, we find ourselves like Mary Magdalene once more, but this time standing near the cross of Jesus (John 19:25). A movement has occurred, without our even sensing it, and we are suddenly made aware of our closeness to the Lord.
The tears of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus are then the result of the most natural progression in this world. A heart which has been far from Jesus, struggling with her demons (Luke 8:2), has located the source of her freedom and joy only to lose Him again. We can imagine how it must have felt. We have all had that moment when we feel like we are truly alone. Mary’s tears and our own, reveal hearts that are at the end of their strength.
But God, we know, is always faithful. And knowing the great spiritual distance that we have traveled in our lives to be with Him, our Lord calls our names in such a way that brings us back from our terrible places of loneliness. It is in these moments of recovery that we, like Mary Magdalene, try to grab hold of the One we love, as if doing so might rid us of the possibility of losing Jesus again. But that will not work; we have to get closer to Jesus than mere touch will allow. We have to let Him build a tabernacle in our souls. We have to let Christ live in us; there is no other way.
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