16th Monday of Ordinary Time
Feast of St. Mary Magdalen
Song of Songs 3: 1 – 4b; Ps 63; John 20: 1 – 2, 11 – 18
In Constitution 3 of our Order entitled “The Spirit of the Order” we read: “Cistercian monks seek God and follow Christ under a rule and an abbot in a stable community in a school of brotherly love.” To seek God and to follow Christ is the bottom line, the heart of our life and without this seeking and following there is no Cistercian monastic life, to be blunt, it has no meaning.
Today we celebrate the feast day of a renowned seeker, Mary Magdalen, whom Jesus delivered from bondage to evil. Her seeking is found throughout today’s Gospel although the verb “to seek” is not found. Nevertheless, her seeking is certainly the intent, the absorption of her heart – at this time, for her nothing else matters – even in death, she must seek the Crucified One.
Notice how intent she is: she comes in the dark of the early morning – she runs to Simon Peter – she sees two angels but never asks “who are you, what are you doing here?” – her only question is “where have you put Him?” – she is so intent that she does not recognize the very one she seeks. But then a voice, a word, her name “Mary” – it is He, the one she seeks – we can only imagine what is caught up in her response “Rabbouni” – “my teacher”! Rabbouni – much more than a title – it spoke of a very personal relationship of grace.
All of us, by our Baptism and us monks by our vows are seekers of God and followers of Christ. Like Mary, the Lord calls us first, seeks us first – His voice can come and does come in many ways – sometimes so clear, sometimes a tiny voice, a whisper – however it comes, always an experience of Divine desire, divine seeking of your love, my love – your response, my response.
Through the intercession of Mary Magdalen the seeker, may the Lord grant us the grace to seek Him faithfully, to listen intently for His voice and the courage to respond with grateful, heartfelt obedience.