29- Apparition of Jesus to His Mother St Sépulcre
The Risen Lord Appearing to His Mother (Holy Sepulcre)

Jesus’ Resurrection is the Core of our Faith

Without the Resurrection there is no Christianity. We can say that it is the main Seed that the Sower (Jesus) came to sow in our hearts. In fact, it is Announced in the Gospel six times at least: three times in the second period of Jesus’ Ministry (from Mt. 16 onward) and three times on the eve of the Passion itself at the Last Supper.

Believing in Jesus’ Resurrection is the Core of our belief. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” And “If only in this life we are having hope in Christ, we are more to be pitied than all men.” (1 Cor 15:17.19) Failing to believe in Jesus’ Resurrection is grave. Jesus’ Resurrection is the shortest form of the earliest Creeds: we find it in St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy Chapter 2 verse 8: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel”.

The striking Revelation is that according to the Scriptures nobody believed in Jesus’ Resurrection, nobody waited for Him, nobody was there to greet Him! We can re-read the accounts of the apparitions of the Risen Lord in the four Gospels, yet we will see that none of the apostles or the women had waited to meet the Risen Lord. They even struggled to believe that He had risen. A graphic example of this is ironically forecast in the Parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins. They all, according to their own testimony, behaved like the Foolish Virgins: they didn’t wait for the Groom to come back from the dead.

Let us remember that there is a difference between witnessing the Apparitions of the Risen Lord (which is the case with the Apostles) and witnessing the Resurrection itself. Apparently according to the accounts nobody was there to witness when the Lord rose! However, paradoxically, our faith requires us all to be witnesses of the Resurrection. Is there a possibility of witnessing the Resurrection itself? Did anybody witness the Resurrection itself? How can one be a witness of something one has never witnessed?

What is it to be a witness of the Resurrection?

The answer is quite clear:

    • To believe in it before it happens.
    • To wait for Him and pray that He rises.
    • To be a wise Virgin, having enough oil for our lamp, to hold our lamp lit and wait for Him!
    • The one and only wise virgin is Mary.

Rising is a hidden Mystery

There is no account of the Resurrection: only accounts of the Apparitions of the Risen Lord. Like the Incarnation itself, it is a hidden Mystery. There is only one witness of both events: Mary, the New Eve, the New Jerusalem.

Rising is a “Teamwork”

Instead of saying “teamwork” when alluding to Christ and Our Lady, I would have preferred to say “nuptial mystery”, but let us leave it for now as “team work” to show that it is not to be taken for granted and not to be considered as the work of God only.

It is important to stop considering the Resurrection as a work singlehandedly wrought by God.

Jesus says to Peter: “But I begged for you, that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32) To paraphrase the words of Jesus, “I prayed for you” means that Jesus is telling Peter that, for a moment you will go astray, and you will need to come back to your Mother. When you come back to Her and will  have discovered Her role in the Resurrection, Her role in your own faith, that She is the source of your own faith, that She stayed put, and fought and waited for me, called me to rise, then, you will be enabled to be the head of the Church, you will be able to strengthen the faith of your brothers – because you will have the new and only faith: Mary’s Faith.

In the resurrection post-cards and the many art representations of the resurrection, the depiction is of the stone rolled aside and Jesus shining a foot high up in the air, appearing, risen, alone, victorious. Is this the correct depiction of the resurrection? Is He really alone?

We often consider that “He had to rise anyway” without any human intervention. We consider that the Resurrection is God’s work alone.

However, in fact, Mary is The Bride par excellence, the New Jerusalem. She is waiting for the Groom to Rise. To await is an act, a fight, a real act of faith and hope in his promise (“I will rise”). The Resurrection is really a Nuptial Mystery where the only Bride, mother of all future brides, is waiting for the only Groom, Jesus, to come back from the dead.

Also, we need to consider that we have less than three days between his death and resurrection. We might even consider that the Resurrection was hastened because of Mary’s prayers and acts of hope and faith.

Comparison Between the Annunciation and the Resurrection

 Comparison

 Annunciation

Resurrection

It is: God coming to us, entering in our reality. It is: us entering in His reality
The Angel voices the Annunciation Jesus announces his Resurrection 3 + 3 times
Zacharia didn’t believe Jesus’ Followers (the apostles and the women) didn’t believe in Him
Mary hoped for the prophesied Messiah Mary hoped (aspired) for the Resurrection
Mary only believed May only believed in Jesus’ Words
All of us waited for her “yes” to the Angel, to God. (see St. Bernard’s Sermon Super Missus) In hindsight, all of us waited for her “Yes”
Our Salvation depended on her “yes” and on her personal collaboration with the work of the Redeemer. Our Salvation depended on her “yes” made by her and for her and for us, and on her collaboration in the work of the Resurrection.
The forces of evil were all gathered against her to stop her from believing that He will rise.
She conceives the Son of God. And also conceives our faith by saying “yes” for us also. Her Spiritual Maternity. She makes Him rise by believing in his Promise (I will rise) and says “yes” for all and each one of us. Her Spiritual Maternity.

Mary is the only one who waits for Him

Nobody else waited, hoped or believed as is borne out by the Scriptures. There is even a Medieval tradition about Mary being the only one who remained steadfast in her faith in the Resurrection. Indeed, we can find in the old Roman Latin Rite a significant fact: on Good Friday, there is a Candelabra with thirteen lights during the celebration. By the end of the celebration, only one light is left illuminated by the priest: Mary’s Faith. The other twelve ones, representing the Apostles, are off. Her Faith in the Resurrection holds firm after the fateful hour of 3 o’clock in the afternoon. This is also why, from the Middle Ages, Saturdays are dedicated to Our Lady: we honour her steadfast faith.

Our Role in the Resurrection?

What is our role in the Resurrection? Like Peter we need to return to Mary’s Faith. We need to understand that She is the New Jerusalem: our dwelling place, accessible from now. That when we come back to Her, fighting and waiting for the Risen Lord, we find our place in Her, because She is our mother, the mother of our faith in the Resurrection. With Her then we wait for the Lord. We become a wise virgin in the only Wise Virgin, Her. We acknowledge that there is not a possibility for us to believe in the Resurrection outside of Her, outside of her Faith. It is in Her and with Her that we then are enabled to meet the Risen Lord who appears to Her first, or better said: who rises because of Her, for Her and for all of us in Her and through Her. We become then, in Her and with Her, witnesses of Jesus’ Resurrection and not just hearers of the accounts of his apparitions. The difference is huge.

Her faith in the Resurrection is what is then totally transmitted to us, as evidenced in the Latin meaning of the word “tradition” i.e. transmission.

- Icône du Ressuscité avec Marie
Icon of the Risen Lord Appearing to His Mother in Prayer

She “aspirates” Him

What does Mary do during these tragic and immensely painful hours between 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon, when the Lord dies in front of Her and is buried in haste, and the early hours of Sunday? She mourns Him as illustrated in the Book of Lamentations. But also, and with urgency She fights against all the forces of evil in order to hope and believe in His Promise that He will rise. We can see something about this in the Book of Revelation in Chapter 12.

She waits for Him, believes, fights back against the direct attacks of the devil, and of the noise of the women preparing the spices, wanting to bury Him again on Sunday! They clearly, don’t expect Him to rise! They want to bury Him again properly.

We can say that Mary “aspirates” Jesus from the dead! This is a great mystery. The mystery of the role of Mary in the Resurrection: the Holy Spirit in Her, the Charity of God in Her also, as a mother gathering all her children into her Heart and praying for them, so that they become enabled to believe. Their attitude revealed that they did not believe: the apostles being shattered, the women preparing the spices for a dead body, but She countered their disbelief, by saying in her heart and with all her heart that She believed. What a triumphant mystery!

The Resurrection is the Mystery of the Rising of the Whole Mystical Body

Jesus’ Mystical Body (humanity) needs also to Rise today. The mystery of the Resurrection is a mystery that is ongoing throughout history. There is constantly a mystical body (all humanity potentially) of Jesus to rise. There is a constant and needed necessity to continue and extend Mary’s work in us. She is asking us to come in our heart and renew the mystery of her role in the Resurrection, now for our brothers and sisters, in the world – the potential Body of Jesus in the World who awaits its own resurrection; for all the Church also who is in constant need of coming back to Mary’s Faith in the Resurrection, like Peter on Sunday, to acknowledge her fundamental Role and draw from Her.

How can we live each year the hours between Friday 3pm and 4am on Sunday?

Put simply by coming back to Mary, to her Faith, to her Hope – learning from her the hidden Mystery of the Resurrection.

Jean Khoury

Holy Saturday, April 2020

http://www.schoolofmary.org

 

25- Christ Appearing to The Virgin
The Risen Lord Appearing to His Mother