Wasn’t as hot the first Easter morning as today. But that doesn’t mean that Mary Magdalen’s huffing and puffing to the tomb of Christ involved only easy-going comfort for her. We can imagine that she underwent some strife and strain in order to arrive. She probably endured no less strife and strain than the ancient Israelites did, when they made their way across the desert, following Moses to the Promised Land. But Mary never grumbled hopelessly like they did.
Mary Magdalen suffered discomfort. She suffered anguish, too, when she found Christ’s body missing. But Mary had something which the ancient complainers didn’t have. She was personally in love with God. She was in love with Jesus Christ–not in some unworthy, prurient way; not with a marrying kind of love. Her loved burned all the more because the Lord’s celibacy shone before her like a wall of brass.
Mary knew the wall of brass would never come down. But she had found in Christ the very love that had eluded her through her earlier life. Namely, a love that saw her fully, beautiful as she was, but asked for nothing. Nothing, that is, other than seeing her truly be herself, seeing her come into her own. Lord Jesus loved Mary that way. And, in return, Mary was grateful–probably more grateful than any woman ever has been, for Christ’s pure love.
So Mary didn’t complain when she encountered her difficulties. She didn’t panic, either. She just kept looking. Where is He? Where have you laid Him, o gardener?
Mary’s perseverance, of course, found its reward. But the reward she received teaches us exactly what her type of devotion can expect, in this pilgrim life. Hopefully, we aspire to have her kind of loving devotion. So let’s reckon with the reward we can expect.
“Stop holding on to me.” No comfort in this world.
“Go to my brothers.” You have work to do.
If we love the Lord like St. Mary Magdalen–which means loving the one Who truly loves us for who we are, loves us with no self-interest of His own, but just because He appreciates how beautiful we can become–if we let Him love us like that, then we won’t really want any comfort in this earthly life anyway. We will long only for the reward of seeing God in the next life. For the time being, we will strain and strive to do His will. His divine gaze upon us, seeing us become all He made us to be: that will be comfort enough for us.