Daily Reflection
April 10th, 2007

Joan Blandin Howard

Christian Spirituality Program
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Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Acts 2:36-41
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22
John 20:11-18

This reading from John’s gospel is lovely and touching in its intimacy and simplicity.

Looking back to the season of Lent I was invited into the Lenten journey with Jesus and his dearest friends and family. I witnessed Jesus gently healing, touching the sick, the outcast and the lonely. Possibly I was touched and healed in a meaningful way. I listened as Jesus challenged the authority on behalf of the week and powerless. Possibly I spoke up on behalf of someone, or someone spoke up on my behalf. I was invited into Jesus’ darkest hours of abandonment. Possibly I experienced abandonment and loneliness. I walked with the women and fell asleep with the disciples.

Lent is the liturgical season of invitation to a deeper, richer more intimate relationship with Jesus. In any meaningful relationship both parties gently and at times not so gently, gracefully and not so gracefully move, step, slide, and pirouette into areas and issues of concern, challenge, intimacy, joy and delight. It is not always easy, it is not always pretty – faithful presence is the glue. The gift of the relationship is a deeper self knowledge and a richer knowledge, awareness and genuine love of the beloved.

Once I was a patient in the hospital recovering from major orthopedic surgery. While I was heavily sedated, I had this wonderful experience of recognition and loving presence. I was asleep but in my sleep I became aware of my husband’s footfall. I was able to trace it from the entrance to the hospital, down several halls, up stairs and then into my room. My husband leaned over me and lovingly, caringly spoke my pet name, “Girlie.” I don’t know how this happened, but it did. I was called by name and I awoke and knew I was safe and loved.

A garden is a place for lovers. In the garden, Jesus and Mary met for the first time after his death. In her grief, she did not recognize him. Then he spoke her name, “Mary.” That’s all – just her name. The Lover greeting his beloved.

Who calls my name in love and caring? Whose name do I speak in love and concern? I invite you to listen in the silence of your heart for Jesus calling your name. The Beloved speaking the name of the loved one.

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