They have taken my Lord away… (John 20: 13)
During the last few years several women have come to me disoriented and grieving after the violent death of a son or husband. Sometimes they express their desire to dream about their loved one. Sometimes they maintain the loved one’s room exactly as it was before their untimely death. Most of the time they keep a photo on a table with a candle burning. There are many ways to avoid the pain of violent loss, ways that keep us from falling into the pit of despair.
We pray at tombs, we bring flowers, we pull weeds, we chat with our deceased loved one. When that tomb appears empty, or the photo disappears, or another relative gives away the loved one’s clothes, one is forced to face again the loss. That is what happened with Mary Magdalen. Her grieving was interrupted. The fact that there was nothing in the tomb threw her back into her own loss again and she cried.
Sometimes there is a moment of surprise in our grief, in which we do finally recognize Jesus in the garden, when we do finally have that dream or receive that message from our beloved or somehow find a new reason to continue with life. This is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalen. He came. She recognized his voice, the loving way he pronounced her name. Her eyes fooled her, but her ears knew him.
Jesus can change our grief in an instant of recognition, in the same miracle in which he rose from the dead.
Sr. Theresa Walter, CPPS