“When Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and the were alarmed. But he said to hem, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.” (See Mark 16:1-18 NRSV).
Each of us knows the experience of going in search of someone who said they would be in a specific place where we would meet them; and lo and behold, they are not there. There is a sudden moment of sadness, anger perhaps, anxiety. We might take out our cell phones and call the person and find out where they are.
Imagine the reaction of Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to Jesus’ tomb where He had been laid. They were already filled with sadness. I am sure their eyes opened wide and their jaws dropped at the sight of the stone being rolled aside. To make matters more suspicious, they discover a man who tells them that Jesus rose and is not there. In John’s account of the Resurrection, Jesus and Mary Magdalene spoke with each other. Mary was drawn to a contemplative vision of Jesus who called her by name.
A contemplative is always searching for the Risen Christ who is hidden from our sight. It is through the eyes of faith that we search for and find union with the Risen Jesus. We do not experience mysticism by looking for Jesus with our knowledge and expectations of how the Risen Christ will look. We spend time in silence and solitude, letting go of what we think and know about God. The Risen Christ reveals Himself in the silence of our interior self. When we see what is in our cell for what it is, the Crucified Christ leads us on to experience the Resurrection of new life with Him. When we meet Jesus in contemplative prayer we are never the same. We are always being remade into a new person though the love of the life-giving Jesus who meets us, calls us by name and finds us in the here and now. Let us always be ready to sing with the Psalmist who wrote, “On this day the Lord as acted; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 The Book of Common Prayer, p.762).
“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he lead us all together to everlasting life” (RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 72, p.95).
Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Peace be with all who enter here.
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB-CoS
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