Monday, April 9, 2012

Ignatian Prayer Adventure 14 ~ Resurrection Appearance

One of the final prayers in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises suggests that we contemplate a first post-resurrection appearance by Jesus to his mother.  Becky Eldridge provides a short response here.

No, there's no such meeting recorded in the Bible, but the invitation to "imagine" radiates from the Exercises, and Ignatius himself had a deep devotion to Mary, so it's not a surprise that he himself would imagine such an encounter.

Last Friday, listening to the reading of the crucifixion from the Gospel of John, I zeroed in on Jesus's words to "the disciple whom he loved,"  "Behold, your mother!" and on the disciple's consequently taking Mary into his household.  The latter is covered in one short sentence, but those of us who have dealt with the physical dislocations required by a child's death know that that short sentence offers only  the merest hint of the crushing weight of responsibility for living arrangements and possessions that must be dealt with.

On Friday, hearing those words, I imagined Mary sadly packing up her things, and what few things Jesus might have left behind and, bent over in horror and sorrow, piling them up on a donkey for the move down the street.  I imagined her that Friday evening, in a room that was not hers, in a house that was not hers, peering out the window into a future that was not hers.  

But, today, I return to a prayer I have made often:  Mary sitting on a bench outside the house on Sunday morning, her face turned toward the sun, her mind and heart trying to grasp the experiences of the preceding two days, when a shadow blocks the sunlight and causes her to open her eyes: her own son, returned to her.  

Really, I have not the slightest difficulty imagining either the scene or the fullness of her heart.


  1. And of course, readers of your blog can imagine where your imaginings took you. Would that it could happen now. Yet imagine what it will be some day....... I'm imagining with you, in the love of God.

  2. Robin, that is just beautiful!! I wish, I so very much wish, that these kinds of meditations and reflections were the foundation of Marian theology and purpose in the Catholic Church. Instead we seem so fixated on her eternal virginity, and elevation in status to Queen of the Universe ... which is all fine.

    But I think we miss so much of what is really, truly, blessed about her when we miss these moments that you bring into such articulate and loving focus.

    Happy Easter!

  3. Your imaginings's open my own heart. Thank you. Blessed Easter to you.

  4. Robin, after our chat on dotMagis, I ventured over to your blog to read your piece. "Wow" is my reaction to your blog and life story. I am moved by your depth, your faith, and your courage to write about your son's death.

    Your reflection on Mary seeing Jesus is quite powerful, and I echo the thought that "I have not the slightest difficulty imagining it". Hearing of Josh's suicide and reading your contemplation brought authenticity to Mary feeling the sorrow of her loss. I know you felt that, and probably still do on many days.

    I am struck, though, by not only this contemplation, but your commitment to continue on your faith journey and ministry, despite your own loss. Reading your blog reminded me that people can experience the Resurrection just as Mary and the disciples did. Moments of complete hope coupled still with questions and sadness at the loss and change.

    I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers as you journey forward. I am most grateful to stumble across your blog.

    1. Becky, I don't know whether you will see this response -- I was away when you commented -- but I do want to thank you for your kind words.