Conclusion: How Does a Presence Come to Be?
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210 Conclusion: How Does a Presence Come to Be? For the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene the liturgy offers two texts that clearly reveal how the Church wants to introduce us to looking at this woman, according to all her expectant waiting and all her yearning. The first is a passage from the Song of Songs, which describes what life was like for a person like Mary: “On my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves—I sought him but I did not find him. I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek him whom my heart loves. I sought him but I did not find him. The watchmen came upon me as they made their rounds of the city: Have you seen Him whom my heart loves?”1 How I would like to have something of this passion! Mary testifies to us the heart that we would like to have in our innermost being, because the “I” is this search for a love that holds up against the challenges of living. How Can We Live? In the gospel text that tells the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb, one could trace the answer to two questions that are decisive for life: “How can one live?” and “What are we Christians called to do here in the world?” “On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, when it was still dark”—What was it that pushed that woman to the point that she could no longer stay in bed, and that drove her to set out early in the morning, when it was still dark?—“and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put Him.’”2 Then Mary went back and “stayed outside the tomb weeping.” This is life. So how can we live? Without finding that beloved presence , the love of our soul, every morning would be a reason for weeping . Then, we can distract ourselves during the day, but life remains something to weep about, if we do not find the love of our soul, that love that fills life with meaning, intensity, and warmth. The gospel story goes on: “And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid Him.’ When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’” This is the link: “Whom are you looking for?” “I am looking for the love of my heart. I am looking for that presence that can fill my life.” This is why the Church shows us how to look at Mary Magdalene with this passage of the Song of Songs, which speaks to us of a woman searching for the love of her heart. “She thought he was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him, and I will take Him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, ‘Stop holding on to Me, for How Does a Presence Come to Be? 211 I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ Mary of Magdala went [right away] and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and what He told her.”3 In this passage, we have the answer to both questions: “How can we live?” and “What are we called to do here in the world?” For Mary, only by responding to the first question (put to her by Christ with the words “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”) and finding the presence she was seeking that answered her weeping, did she have...