“Do not cling to me,” (c.f. Jn 20:17
The post-Resurrection encounter between Jesus and Mary of Magdala is one of my very favourite Scriptural accounts. Yet it poses a gentle challenge that I found very helpful upon returning to the world, if a little hard to hear, at first.
I’d invite you to step into Mary’s shoes for a moment. That moment of recognition at being called by name would obviously bring an unspeakable joy, an excitement, an awe. But I think there might also perhaps have been a sense that “now that He’s back, things will be just like they used to be…” Perhaps Mary was clinging to a set notion of the pre-Resurrection Jesus? She had to let go, to allow Him to return to His Father.
The words “do not cling to me” speak to me, also, as I ponder this account. I had certain ideas about my relationship with the Lord when I was in the convent. When I returned to the world, it was tempting to cling to these ideas. They were comforting, familiar. But they were my own ideas about Jesus – they weren’t actually Jesus.
How is Jesus revealing Himself to me in the present moment? Who am I before Jesus, now? How do we relate? Is my relationship with Him stagnating, because I am clinging to those old ideas? Perhaps it’s time for me to invite Him back in, to allow Him to love me, to grow in love for Him… a different kind of love…
Q: What is “From My Inner Cell” all about?
A:Â From My Inner Cell: Conversations with God for convent-leavers
Here’s the final post in Lucia’s beautiful Theology of the Body series!
After knowing of God’s immense love, a woman can go forward with finding out what God calls her to. This response is not immediately one of vocation to married or religious life, but rather a call to respond to God’s love.
When one knows that they are loved by another, they desire to give themselves completely to that person in love. It is in such an act that we truly find out who we are. As St. John Paul II points out, “Man cannot fully find himself except by making a sincere gift of himself”. By receiving God’s love and then giving ourselves in love and trust to Him, we truly become who we were created to be.
I started out my second blog post with the theme of hope. Hope: What do I mean by this? How does this relate to the Theology of the Body and how it expresses the Gospel message?
“The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man: it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.” (Catechism, 1818)
Amidst your experience, whether it is one of joy and freedom or pain, suffering, and low self-esteem, how is God leading you to hope? How is He calling you to happiness and the desires of your heart? You have great desires for to love and be loved, and He has put those desires in your heart for a reason. Allow Him to guide you ever closer to Himself through these desires!
God wants to marry us. St. John Paul II expressed this beautifully, “With an act of redemptive love, Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. By the same act he is united with the Church in a spousal manner, as the husband and wife are reciprocally united in marriage instituted by the Creator.” (TOB, Audience 93). Even if you are not giving your life in the radical vocation of religious life, this still is very true. God created each of us for a deep and intimate union with Him, and our vocation is only the means by which we enter into a deeper relationship with Him.
Now, ask yourself, “Do I truly believe this and live this out? Do I believe that even if I am not a religious that God is still calling me to a deep personal relationship, and not only that, but that He has a particular and irrepeatable mission for me? Do I believe that I am called to an intimate relationship with Christ, based not on what I do, but rather the fact that He loves me unconditionally?” Sit with the Lord and go through asking these questions with Him. Allow Him to stir the deep desires of your heart that are so beautifully put there by Him, and He will lead you to find out who you truly are.
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The other two posts in this series are available here:
The image of the Schoenstatt Unity Crucifix in this post is used under a Creative Commons Licence, and the owner is Enrique Lepez-Tamayo Biosca.