A short post for today, Holy Saturday from the book, Alone with God by Fr Heyrman S.J.:
Saturday, Easter Week
JESUS APPEARS TO HIS HOLY MOTHER
1. The Gospel mentions no apparition of Jesus to His Holy Mother. Mary could hardly act as an official witness; for she belongs to another sphere since her role is a uniquely intimate one. Yet for many centuries if not from the earliest days of the Church, Christian piety has taken it for granted that in the early dawn of Easter Jesus appeared first of all to His Mother.
(This is my small addition: I read this somewhere: the Gospels when written assumed that we had some common sense, that’s why there was no mention of this in the Gospels. The book, The Mystical City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda is a very good book of the Divine History and Life of the Virgin Mother of God. Link can be found on one of the side links on this page).
2. Petition: The grace to share the exultation of Mary to whom was given the fullness of the Easter joy. “Mary, cause of our joy, pray for us.”
I. Mary Waits for the Apparition
The Gospel says nowhere that our Lady went to the sepulchre in the company of the pious women who had stood by the cross. To her, at any rate, the grave could not have been the last word. The angel had said to her, “of his kingdom there shall be no end”, which words Mary had always kept in her heart. Nor was she heedless of the prophecy of Jesus, well known to her, that on the third day He would rise again. Mary believed.
Just as at Nazareth she had waited nine months, till He would appear in the “weakness of our flesh”, from her virginal womb, so now she waits and longs for the dawn of that third day, when she will see Him anew in His glorified Body.
We may surmise that, at this moment, whilst with every fibre of her whole being, she adheres to her Fiat, the wonderful events of these last years are passing before her mind: Nazareth, Bethlehem, Egypt, the hallowed years in the carpenter’s cottage, the troubled period of her Son’s ministry, the tragedy of the Passion and Calvary. She has not understood it all, but the hour approaches when she will understand fully.
II. The Apparition
On Easter morning, then, while Mary Magdalene and the other Mary hastened to the sepulchre, to complete the provisional embalming of Friday night, Mary stayed at home. Suddenly Jesus is standing before her, in all His glory! At the departure of her children from this world Holy Church prays, “May the gentle and radiant countenance of Christ Jesus appear to thee”; this wish was fulfilled for Mary in an inexpressible way, when she beheld her risen Son …
“The more smarting the wound, the more delightful the cure,” cries the ancient mystic Hadewych. Old Simeon had prophesied, “Thy own soul a sword shall pierce”; now that she gazes upon the resplendent marks of the wounds in the glorified Body of her Son, the wound in her own heart is changed into a fount of heavenly bliss … Thus did Jesus and Mary, in the words of a devout medieval writer, celebrate that first Easter in delight and jubilation, “Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia; O Queen of Heaven, thrill with joy!”
“And e’en as from His manger bed
He gave Her His first smile;
while seraphs wait,
He talks with Her a while.” (Keble)
III. Jesus Entrusts a Task to His Mother
It is highly probable that our Lord now enlightened His blessed Mother about the office He had entrusted to her when with His dying breath He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son.” Among the apostles and in the infant Church, which her Son’s mystical body, she had a capital task to fulfill, a mother’s task, delicate and unobtrusive yet universal and permanent in its influence, though subordinate but indispensable co-operation with Himself.
Jesus filled her soul with light and strength for the fulfillment of that task. When He shall have ascended into heaven, His Mother will be the most precious keepsake left by Him to the apostles. When they assemble she is in their midst; around her they persevere in prayer; and she is with them when, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost comes to infuse life into the new-born Mystical Body of Christ, His Church.
For many years Mary still remained on earth: those were years of great solitude and blessed expectation when, even more ardently than St. Paul, she “desired to be dissolved to be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23). May we not piously presume that, on this hallowed Easter morning, Jesus revealed to Mary how, without being “dissolved” she would soon and for ever be with Him. And surely, the sight of His glorified Body gave her a glimpse of the bliss that was to come. She would be the first, and that immediately at the close of her earthly life, to reap the full fruit of the redemption: she was to be assumed into heaven, to be enthroned by the side of her Son; till the end of time she will distribute to us the graves that flow from Christ, the source of all grace.
Prayer: O God, who by the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, didst deign to give joy to the world: grant, we beseech Thee, that through His Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. (Prayer after the Regina Coeli.)
Jesus, Mary, I love Thee, Save Souls!