“For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.” (Romans 6:5) In this reading from the Easter Vigil Mass, Saint Paul tells us that we who unite our sufferings with Christ will also share in His resurrection.  

So, what is it for you? What are the ways you have shared in Christ’s death? Illness, loss of a loved one, the end of a friendship, heartbreak, worry, strife in the family, confusion, failure?  

It can be easy to dismiss our own hurts and disappointments in comparison with the suffering of Jesus. But what if He doesn’t dismiss them? What if He takes them deadly seriously? What if He has used each one to unite you to Himself? 

Don’t be afraid to see that your own struggles, whatever they are, are an intimate sharing in His thorns, His cross.  

You have grown into union with Him through a death like His. The question is: will you let Him unite you to His resurrection? 

She came when it was still dark… 

When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on Easter morning, it was still dark (John 20:1). 

Is something in your life still dark? Still pressing on you? Still hurts or confuses you? It’s Easter, but perhaps something in you, in your life, is still shrouded in shame, sin, or sadness. 

Come to the tomb anyway.  

Something inside Mary kept her walking through the darkness, kept her searching, in spite of her sorrow, fear, and confusion. And what she found there, the One she found there, changed everything.  

“Mary.” Hearing her name spoken by the Risen One, Mary’s shame was lifted forever. Turning to see Him, every experience of pain and disintegration was obliterated in one shock of enlightenment. She knew who she was in Him and in His Father, and that They had chosen her to announce His truth to the world. 

Will you come to the tomb, even if it’s still dark? Even in your confusion or hurt? Even if you’re still struggling with that sin? Even if you completely failed at your Lenten resolution? Will you still come and let the Risen One show you the truth of who you are in Him?  

In great need of consolation… 

The scriptures record Mary Magdalene as the first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. But many saints believe that, before this meeting, Jesus went first to His mother.  

St. Teresa of Avila recounts what Jesus revealed to her about that first meeting after His resurrection. She says Jesus found Mary so consumed by sorrow that she could not immediately respond to Him with joy. He spent a long time with her, for she was in great need of consolation.  

It seems Mary had been so affected by the loss of her son that she was in a tomb of sorrow. She could not resurrect herself but needed Jesus to come and gently lift her out of the deep place of sadness to which she had gone. He resurrected her, who had shared so profoundly in His passion and death. And the depth of her sorrow was surpassed by the height of her joy and glory as Jesus gradually lifted her to His own side in heaven. 

Is there a sorrow in your life that you just can’t get over? A wound that won’t heal? Like Mary, just allow Jesus to approach. Let His healing light steal over you gently. It will take time, but the depth of the sorrow will be surpassed by the height of joy and glory to which He will lift you.  

Simply turn towards the light 

Conversion doesn’t always look like what we expect. Sometimes it is simply turning towards the light. Mary Magdalene allowed Jesus to lift her out of her shame, to blast away any remnant of it by the light of His risen glory. Jesus’ mother Mary allowed her son to lift her from her grave of sorrow so that she could share in His glory in a preeminent way.  

What is your prison? What is your tomb? Will you let Him set you free? Will you let Him raise you from the underworld?  

Sr. Mary Ignatius, O.P. is a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. She is currently working on content development for materials in production at Openlight Media.

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