Easter Meditation:
Mary's Resurrection Experience


Pope John Paul II


The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as a rule, on March 25. If the date falls in Holy Week, it is moved to the next best opportunity. For this meditation, we will contemplate Mary, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection.

There is an ancient tradition that believed that great prophets were conceived and died on the same day. Hence in the early Middle Ages, there is evidence of liturgical celebrations of the Incarnation and the Crucifixion on the same day, that is, on March 25. One of the most ancient of the huge Celtic crosses has an inscription carved in stone which shows the celebration of this mutual link.

Annunciation by Kevin Hannah
Annunciation
Kevin Hanna, 1996
There is another less known saying that human beings were created on that same day. Of course, such traditions and sayings are not facts to be proven; they are symbols attempting to link the most significant events in human history. The creation was good! It was fresh and new and beautiful!
[Mary in Springtime]
Mary
The New Springtime
Sr. Jean Dorcy, O.P.
Human beings were the crown of that creation, given to them to care for it, to govern it properly and wisely, and to rejoice in its use. Human beings broke this sacred trust by disobedience to God's wish. Through the ages, all creation groaned with the burden of this broken trust.

At God's choice and time, a simple village girl was chosen and readied, as a new creation, to become the bearer of the sacred trust. God gave her the freedom – just as God had given the first persons – to chose or to decline this sacred trust. The ultimate New Creation, Jesus Christ, God-Made-Man was entrusted to Mary of Nazareth. In her response to God, "Let it happen!" (cf. Luke 1:38), Mary – herself created like a new springtime for God – brought together the ancient creation and the new: Jesus Christ came to dwell among us.

Mary was also there when Jesus Christ died. Death could not destroy this new creation. The Son Mary bore would rise again. There is no reference in Scripture to tell us that Mary witnessed the Resurrection. There are, however, many pious plays and stories about the possible meeting of Mary and Jesus after the Resurrection. There are also reflections on the unique silence of the Scriptures in this area. Since Mary had been such a part of Christ's journey, why not here, too? Pope John Paul II echoes what the majority of theologians have answered to this question, "Could any narrative record the moment of the resurrection of the son in the heart of his mother?" In essence, there are some moments, especially the most powerful moments of loving encounter, when words can never suffice.

To conclude, the tradition of the Church teaches that Mary was present in the early Church after Christ's death and resurrection. The accounts of Pentecost, Acts 1:14, clearly tell us so. Did she experience the Easter joy? Assuredly she did, along with the new creation of the Church.

To conclude this reflection, we quote an excerpt from a prayer of Pope John Paul II:

Rejoice, Mary, rejoice, Mother!

You bore his body in your virginal womb, you bore within you the God-man. And then you brought him forth on the night of Bethlehem, you bore him in your arms as a child. You bore him into the temple on the on the day of his presentation. Your eyes – more than the eyes of anyone else – saw the Incarnate Word. Your ears heard him, from his very first words.

Your hands touched the Word of life (cf. John 1:1). Regina caeli laetare! "He whom you bore has risen." (See Mary Page Resources Antiphons.) You bore him, even more than in your arms, in your heart. Particularly during those last hours, when you had to stand beneath the cross, at the feet of the divine condemned One. Your heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow, in accordance with the words of the aged Simeon.

[Annunciation]
First Joyful Mystery,
"The Good News"
Sr. Mary Grace, O.P.
Saint Dominic's Monastery
Washington, DC
[Madonna and Child]
Madonna and Child
Akkegretti Nuzi, 1315-1373
Located in Avignon, France
And you shared the sorrow as you associated yourself, with your maternal soul, in the sacrifice of your son. O Mother! You consented to the immolation of the victim whom you had borne (cf. Lumen Gentium, 58). You lovingly consented, with that love which he planted in your heart, with that love which is stronger than death and stronger than sin, in the whole history of man on earth.

And then, when he had breathed his last and they had taken him down from the cross, he rested once more in your arms as he rested so many times before as a child ... And then, they laid him in the tomb.

They took him from your maternal arms and gave him back to the earth; they closed the tomb with a stone ... And behold, now the stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty... "Christ, whom you bore, is risen, alleluia!" "Regina caeli laetare." This is the day of the Church's Easter joy. We all share in your glory, O Mother... Everyone, the whole church of your son, the whole church of the Incarnate Word.
Christ, whom you bore is risen! Pray for us!You who were present in the deepest possible way in the mystery of Christ, behold. The whole church today looks to you, O Mary. Even through we do not see you among the people about whom the Easter accounts tell, we all look to you. We look to your heart.

Could any narrative record the moment of the resurrection of the son in the heart of his Mother? Yet we fix our gaze on you. The whole church shares in your Easter joy; the whole church knows that on this day the Lord has made you "go before" in a singular way the pilgrimage of faith in the paschal mystery. Pray for us! ... Be present along all the paths of the people of God, paths upon which shines the light of Christ. Let this light never leave anyone, this light of the new life which is He himself, the Risen One!

Regina coeli laetare, Alleluia,
Quia quem meruisti portare. Alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia.

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

[Ascension] Ascension
Miniature
Breviary of Martin of Aragon,
ca. 1400

Source: Pope John Paul II, "Urbi et Orbi" Address of April 3, 1988. This text published in Origins 17:44 (April 14, 1988).