Daily Reflection
July 22nd, 2000
Jean Elliott Junis
Christian Spirituality Program

Saint Mary Magdalene - Memorial 
Song of Songs 3:1-4, or 
Second Corinthians 5:14-17
Psalms 63:2-6, 8-9
John 20:1-2, 11-18

Several years ago, I experienced a time of upheaval in my home life.  My oldest child had entered adolescence.  This was, of course, a very natural course for my daughter to take.  Nonetheless, it was a time of unknowing for me.  It seems to me that the persons in today’s scripture readings all experienced a process similar to the one I did at this time in my life.  I first became aware of a change or a loss in my life, then searched for answers.  Finally, I found acceptance and gratitude.

I first became aware that my daughter was growing up when she no longer wanted to go on walks with me, a tradition we had both enjoyed since her infancy.  Not only did she seem distant, but so did God.  I relate to the speaker in Song of Songs, “I sought him whom my heart loves, but I did not find him.”  Also, Mary Magdalene’s visit to the tomb on that first Easter morning exemplifies the sorrow she felt toward her loss of Jesus, as she had known Him, “Mary stood weeping beside the tomb.” 

As my journey continued, I recall searching for answers anywhere I could get them.  I read parenting books, asked others for their perspective, and prayed unceasingly.  In Song of Songs, we read, “I will rise then and go about the city to seek him whom my heart loves... Have you seen him?”  Mary Magdalene, too, searched frantically for Jesus, who was missing from the tomb.

Eventually, my search brought me to accept my daughter as the young woman that she is.  I was able to let go of my expectations of who I thought she should be, and became more willing to accept her as the unique and gifted person she desired to be.  I also experienced gratitude to God for my daughter, and for God’s continued help in maneuvering through the murky waters of parenthood.

Soon, feelings of joy resurfaced, hope was rekindled.  It was as if I had reestablished a deeper relationship, not only with my daughter, but also with God.  I understand the speaker in Song of Songs, “I found him whom my heart loves!  I took hold of him and would not let go.”  Also, we read, “My soul clings fast to you!” in Psalms.  Finally, in John’s gospel, Mary is overjoyed to the point of speechlessness.  As she recognizes the Risen Christ, all she could say was, “Rabbouni!”  She later shares this joy with the disciples. 

God will not abandon us.  Rather, God’s silence can be experienced less as rejection, and more as a challenge for us to develop our spirituality. 

St. Mary Magdalene, to whom the Risen Christ first appeared, pray for us.  May we grow in awareness of God’s will.  May we seek the Risen Christ in others as earnestly as you did.  And may we accept life as it is with gratitude.  Amen.

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