From America magazine
The Gospels unanimously report that the Lord first appeared to Mary Magdalene following his resurrection. Three of the four Gospels, moreover, maintain that Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance was to Mary alone, and all the accounts include some description of Mary’s bewildered, frightened and joyful reactions as well as the condescending dismissal she initially received when she shared the good news with the others. The Scriptures do not describe, however, what happened in the time between Mary’s encounter with the risen Lord and the moment when she arrived and joined the other disciples in the upper room.
We can, of course, begin to imagine what those minutes or hours might have been like. We can imagine Mary running, breathless, propelled by hopeful expectation; we hear her heart pounding, almost bursting with joy; we see the tears flowing down her cheeks, past the upturned corners of her ecstatic smile. In those heart-pounding moments, Mary Magdalene would have been the only one who had seen the risen Lord; she would have been the only one in all of history to have heard the good news; she alone was the herald of the Resurrection. Put simply, in those few minutes, she was the church.
Read the rest of the article here.
Ourselves experiencing Mary’s astonishment is part of the thrill in hearing the Sequence (Victimae pachali laudes) at Easter morning Mass, Brother Burrito. (But possibly for Fr Cantalamessa it is a residue of past ceremonials.)
“Tell us, Mary:
say what thou didst see upon the way.”
“The tomb the Living did enclose;
I saw Christ’s glory as He rose!
The angels there attesting;
shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen:
He goes before you into Galilee.”
The “residue of past ceremonials” sounds like the ashes of fiery words once said.
If you shake off the ashes, you will find the Holy Spirit fluttering in your hands.
Brother Burrito, in his Urbi et Orbi in 2012 Pope Benedict talked about Mary Magdalen meeting Our Lord risen. He even based his address on the Easter sequence, linked above.
Interesting too comparing Benedict’s Easter address last year with that of Francis this Easter (which Gertrude has just given us).
Popes and rituals change, but Christ is always the same.