The seed of Love has fallen, God,
into the silent womb of our earth,
and it too is silent, gestating,
yet in this way awakening and purifying hope.
The heart aches from the trauma of his pain,
hollowed out by compassion and sorrow.
A mother’s heart, empty and full of anguish,
and yet, more than any other who ever knew him,
clinging to the Love that clings to her.
The fibers of the heart, stretched thin by pain,
allow the light of Love to filter through…
yes, unfelt and unseen in this moment,
but pouring out nonetheless in a deeper way.
The beloved disciple too, clinging to her,
consoling her in whom is his consolation,
awaits together with her for something more…
He feels it in her, a flame in the midst of chill,
a lamp in the darkness, burning,
seemingly extinguished in her departed Son
and yet alive still in her.
What is this? Is he still alive in her,
an inextinguishable flame in the heart?
The tomb, my God, is not only in the earth,
cold and lifeless rock, bare stone.
The tomb is also every heart,
lifeless in death…but more,
awakened by Love’s gift,
keeping vigil for the rising.
The seed of Love has fallen into the earth,
dying for the sake of the beloved;
yet did he not promise that,
if a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it bears fruit in abundance?
The tomb is thus, in this way, a womb,
in which we allow Christ to die in us,
and in us also to rise.
Through all the mystery of these ages, until the end,
this reality is ever being played out:
the movement from Holy Thursday,
through the anguish of Good Friday and Saturday’s silence,
into the radiant light of Easter morning.
Paschal Love, eternal Father, is the deepest truth,
alive in the heart of every person, hidden,
the heartbeat of mystery giving meaning to all
and enfolding all within itself.
Let us abide here in this place, unceasing,
close to the Virgin Mother, embracing,
sheltering in the womb of our life this wondrous gift:
Eucharistic presence, Crucified Love, buried Seed,
blossoming Flower and radiant Light, dawning.
Mary Magdalene comes,
distraught and weeping,
to anoint your body in the tomb.
She walks through the garden
to the place where you are laid.
She is like the Bride in the Song of Songs
yearning for her lost Beloved.
But she does not yet know
that Love is stronger than death,
and jealousy more powerful than the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a vehement flame,
yes, the very fire of God himself.
She seeks to anoint the body of a dead man,
to set her love there as a seal,
as she did in Bethany before your Passion,
upon your flesh and your heart.
But she does not yet know
that she has already been impressed there
—as each one of us has, my God—
by the hand of your own tender love.
Nor does she yet recognize
that you are impressed as a seal
deep upon her own heart and soul,
not only by the longing within her,
but as the Risen One, alive and radiant, pure.
But she begins to sense something,
though unaware at first, as she comes to the tomb.
It is empty and the stone is rolled away.
The gardener comes, and seeing him
she asks him if she has seen her Love.
The tree upon which her Savior died, in a garden,
has almost robbed her of her hope.
Now, among the trees, she asks the gardener
if perhaps she can have the hope
of seeing his corpse one last time.
But a single word from him
reveals to her that the tree
at the foot of which she stood,
with his Virgin Mother and the beloved John,
was not the tree of death, but the Tree of Life.
Mary, is the single word he says,
and her eyes are opened to truly see.
A single word: her name,
and he penetrates her heart.
The Shepherd knows his sheep
and he calls each of them by name.
He calls out to her as the true God,
awakening his beloved child and his spouse
in her shame and fear, within the garden.
Yet now, unlike our first parents,
she is not fleeing in shameful nakedness,
but seeking in ardent haste for the Beloved.
What has caused this beautiful reversal,
my beloved God, which has at last opened our eyes?
Beauty has been unveiled, fully, at last.
The realm of your pure and gratuitous gift
has poured forth to penetrate our darkness
and to enfold us again in its embrace.
Mary Magdalene does not know at first
what has transpired, and what is occurring now,
but she has witnessed Love giving himself,
to the end, to save us from our death.
And now she only needs to witness
the radiant victory of Love, stronger than death,
the bonds of intimacy, woven in compassion,
blossoming in the joy of perfect communion.
Rabbi! She cries out, grabbing your feet,
like the Bride so much in love.
I held him fast, and would not let him go.
And you reach down, Jesus,
to touch her hair,
which wiped your feet so long ago.
Looking up, she begins to understand,
though the mystery, surpassing, enfolds her more.
There under the Tree I awakened you,
there where your mother was first corrupted.
Now, leaning on me, you have come up
from the wilderness…into the Garden of Paradise,
the place of intimate love which was once lost.
It has now, my beloved, been restored.