For the Journey

We pray this week with the joy of promises kept. Ignatius invites those who have made decisions to follow Christ to experience the grace of Christ’s resurrection. We have considered the consequences of being faithful to being his companions. We have heard him telling the early companions that the world will hate them as it hates him. We have been invited to be in the world but not of it. He has prayed that we not be taken from the world but be a blessing within and about the world.

Mary, who stood at the foot of the cross, is the first to have promises kept to her. Ignatius piously pictures Jesus as appearing to his mother first after being raised from his tomb. As we earlier watched her fretfully consider the visit of the angel of the Annunciation, we now watch a most intimate embrace of mother and Son. As we watched and listened to Mary and Joseph’s finding Jesus in the temple, we now joyfully watch and listen to Jesus finding Mary in her grief. We stood with Mary as they took Jesus down from the cross and laid him in a tomb; we gratefully consider Jesus comforting his faithful mother and companions as she experiences her own resurrection in that of her Son. We may stay with that prayer view a long time and consider how Jesus has been released from his tomb to untomb us; as he has comforted his mother, he desires to comfort us.

There stood with Mary at the cross Mary Magdalene. In John’s account of Jesus’ rising, he first appears to this other woman of faith. It takes place in a garden and she supposes he is the gardener. So we visit the third garden of salvation. The garden of disobedience, where creation refused to listen; the garden of obedience, where the second Adam struggled and was faithful. Now we meet in the garden of resurrection.

The Gardener begins his graceful tending to the vines he has planted. He gently cultivates his branches after having pruned them all. Ignatius would have us be there and hear the Gardener mention our names, as he does here, “Mary.” We are watching intimacy at work, comforting, raising up other bodies and spirits. We want to linger here watching the Gardener embrace his world.

In this scene, as with all the other contemplations during these weeks of the Resurrection, we see Jesus, because he is the Christ, urging whomever he meets back to, or out to, his mission of tending the garden. “Do not cling to me, but go . . .” Always intimacy moves to fruitfulness. The joy of his resurrection is that the love of God is not confined to a tomb but intensified in the lives of his found ones. The Humpty-Dumpty world is beginning to be put back together again by the risen Christ and his risen followers.

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