Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

26 April 2011

Notes in the Octave II: Ecstasy in the Garden

What's up with gardens in Scripture?  They are second only to mountains as places of deep spiritual significance.  It all started in a garden, this story of fruitfulness and trial.  Jesus, by His act of fidelity in Gethsemane, undid the first treachery of sinful Adam.  Now the Risen Savior encounters the Magdalene in a garden, though the latter does not recognize Him whom her heart loves (Song 3:1-5). 

Speaking of the Song of Songs, this passage has been viewed through the Christ-Lens to refer to Mary of Magdala's eager clinging to the Bridegroom.  "I took hold of him and would not let him go" (v. 4); yet the Bride in the Song wisely recommends her bridesmaids not to "stir up love before its own time" (v. 5).  One may moralize on the value of "true love waiting," but in the Gospel story it refers to Jesus' interest in Mary's apostolic activity among the apostles ("my brothers"; Jn 20:17-18).

Genuine evangelization begins with this encounter with the Risen Lord and indeed requires our eager "clinging to" Jesus, though not the kind born of self-interest.  Mary must be purified of this for the sake of her mission, and Jesus purifies her of this so that He has the freedom to depart to the Father and to send the reconciling Spirit upon the derelict disciples who thus are reborn as God's children and Jesus' brothers.

Another interesting point: this verb "to touch" also has the meaning "to light or kindle," as in "no one who lights a lamp places it under a bushel basket" (Lk 8:16).  To be touched by Jesus, then, is to be ignited; and if ignited, then for God's sake--and for the world's--not to be extinguished!

No comments:

Post a Comment