This year, I had wanted to take a post-Easter retreat out west to focus on the Resurrection. Obviously, that didn’t work out. Nonetheless, I think there’s an opportunity for us retreat within and explore the Resurrection more.
God’s put on my heart one of the Gospels as a focus: Mary Magdalene running to the tomb, fearful and yet overjoyed, falling at Jesus’ feet, embracing Him, and adoring Him even in the midst of so much confusion, fear, and uncertainty. She put all that aside in the moment Jesus encountered her and just loved her Savior.
Mary Magdalene increasingly fascinates me. For one thing, Mary was my Confirmation name, and back when I chose it, I knew it wasn’t Mary the Mother of God, but a different saint that would be revealed later. I remember feeling so confused that I didn’t understand who my saint was and that I only knew her first name. Only recently did I realize that God intended for Mary Magdalene to be my Confirmation saint -- it was a deep confirmation that God spoke to my heart.
But even more so, she attracts me because she faced disturbances and was eventually healed and redeemed by Jesus. She had a deep companionship and love with Christ. She remained at the cross and was first to the tomb. She was “clingy” and had to break free from the “physical” Christ to embrace the “spiritual” Christ. She went on to be a devoted disciple.
The TV series “The Chosen” shows many aspects of her so well -- they were so touching and moving. I couldn’t help but cry when I saw her change from emotionally disturbed and filled with darkness, to a healed, redeemed, and vibrant disciple of the Lord, and specifically when she said the words, “He has redeemed me.”
She just feels so much like me.
So in this Easter season, I shift my attention to Mary Magdalene. What can I learn from this female disciple whose discipleship was formed from the healing she received from Jesus, her experience of redemption from His touch, and a deep love of Jesus? What can I learn from this woman who remained at the cross and was first to the tomb? Who felt real human emotions just like me in uncertainty, suffering, and confusing situations, and chose the path of embracing Jesus?
There’s something more this Easter season wants to give me, and I think it lies in the wisdom of this holy woman.