Mary stands alone on the roof of the house,
looking out over the city of Jerusalem,
as the first streaks of daylight
begin to appear in the sky,
the burning red rays of the sun
illumining the horizon.
Her eyes move across the buildings
which surround her on all sides,
their figures slowly becoming visible
in the gradually increasing light.
And she knows;
she knows that he has risen from the grave.
A moment ago, already,
he appeared to Magdalene and the other women.
He told her that he would.
Yes, she came to the roof of the house early,
long before even a hint of dawn:
to wait, to watch, to pray.
And there he was, standing before her,
illumined like at midday.
She bowed her head before him,
letting herself be bathed in his light,
and then looked him steadily in the eyes.
Quietly, then, she spoke to him,
who until then remained silently, standing:
My Son, my Love, what would you have me do,
now that I stand before this mystery
—the new creation present in your flesh?
What I knew and loved before, hiddenly,
is now unveiled before my eyes.
Love Incarnate shining in our world,
a seed of life renewing all from within…
the beloved Son of the Father
revealing the Father himself
and breathing forth the Spirit…
Mary, you understand because you surrender,
and you see because you trust beyond sight.
Therefore come close to me, embrace me,
and let me hold you, beloved, in my arms.
The embrace of the Risen Body
is deeper, more intimate
than any carnal embrace.
We shall evermore be one, my mother,
my beloved and precious one.
Let me embrace you and hold you
in this visible, radiant gift of self,
that I may henceforth live in you,
and you in turn live in me.
For when I disappear from their eyes,
after the days of my visitation end,
I will come to them then in hiddenness,
and you must help them to welcome me.
I will come hidden in the Bread and Wine,
become my very self, in fullness;
and you are to communicate me to them,
and help them to give themselves to me.
Wherever the Son gives himself
the Mother will be present.
Wherever the Bridegroom offers himself
the Bride will be there to accept.
I want you to be there, awakening in them,
and sustaining, the faith that I seek.
But you too, my beloved, will come,
for I will take you, in your body,
to be with me where I am.
You will share in the newness of this restoration,
this anticipation of what awaits everyone at the end.
Yet in going you will not depart, just as I do not depart.
In Mother Church, both my Bride and my Body,
you will live, irradiating her from within.
In every human heart you will awaken
the same “Yes” to Love that you first pronounced,
and which has never ceased to echo from your heart.
In this way their “Yes” can meet my own,
immersed in my own “Yes” to the loving Father.
In this way I can take you all up together,
as history progressing toward its consummation,
until all rest, as one, within the heart of my embrace,
within the intimacy that I share, eternally,
with the Father and the Spirit of our Love.
The Apostles are gathered together
in the upper room, where the Last Supper was,
but they are alone and filled with fear.
All of them are there,
with the exception of the beloved disciple,
who has gone away for a time,
and of course Judas, the betrayer,
who, after flinging the blood money into the temple,
went out and hung himself.
It is the evening of the first day of the week,
three days since the death of Jesus.
They have locked the doors
and shut themselves away,
afraid of the Jewish authorities
who had helped bring about the death of Christ.
Jesus has already appeared
to Magdalene and some other women,
early in the morning of his Resurrection;
but he has not yet made himself known directly
to his friends, his apostolic band.
What had happened that morning
as the sun was rising over the earth?
At first, Mary Magdalene came to them,
proclaiming that she had gone to the tomb
in order to anoint the body of Christ…
and had found the stone rolled away.
At hearing this, Peter and John
had together immediately left the house
and run to the tomb as fast as they could.
John ran faster than Peter,
but upon arriving at the tomb,
and seeing that the immense stone
had been rolled away,
he stepped back and paused,
allowing Peter to enter the tomb first.
Then John also entered and saw,
not only that the tomb was empty,
but that the burial clothes of Christ lay there,
and the Lord had departed,
leaving only the figure of his body
burned by heat and light onto the shroud.
He saw and at once he believed.
After Peter and John returned to the house
and rejoined the other Apostles,
Mary Magdalene again came to them,
this time proclaiming, with deep conviction,
and a burning fire in her eyes:
“I have seen the Lord himself!
He is risen from the dead,
and I have even touched him!
He said that you too will see him.”
But evening now has fallen
and their hearts, overwhelmed by the mystery,
are confused and filled with doubt.
And confusion becomes fear,
and fear becomes a closure of the heart.
They are all there in the upper room
—not in deep and joyful communion—
but in a paralyzing fear and uncertainty,
each man wrapped up in his own thoughts,
sitting apart and speaking little to the others.
At that moment there is a knock on the door,
and a familiar voice is heard outside:
It is John, the beloved disciple.
Peter rises to let him in,
and quickly closes and latches the door again.
I have been with his mother.
How is she?
She is at peace, and filled with joy.
She burns like a candle in a dark room,
or like the torches illumining the holy city
during the feast of tabernacles.
There is a flame lit in her
that nothing can put out
—a flame that had indeed flickered
at the heart of these days of darkness,
strong and pure and constant,
despite the chill and the wind
that threatened to put it out.
But now, this is something profoundly new,
something in-breaking into her,
and into our world itself,
that no one could have expected or foreseen.
So you believe, then, what was said
by the women who went to the tomb?
Are you afraid, Simon Peter?
Are you afraid of death?
And more…are you perhaps afraid of life?
The heart touched by Love
cannot remain enclosed within itself,
for it discovers life, a life endless and boundless.
Yes, the heart must let itself be apprehended by Love,
letting go and allowing itself to slip from its own grasp,
not in order to be lost, to fall into an abyss,
but in order, through utter surrender, to belong to Another.
This is the newness that expands the heart
into communion with the Mystery of Eternal Life,
this Life that has pierced our world and envelops us…
the Life of Love that lives and burns in him.
Peter silently turns away,
and takes his seat against a wall.
Leaning his head back and closing his eyes, he says:
To be apprehended and dispossessed,
to be taken beyond one’s control.
This is what he tried to prepare us for.
And this is what happened to him
in these awful and fearful days.
And what for? … He was to liberate us!
Was he not the Anointed who came
to establish at last the kingdom of Israel
in the fullness that God intends?
All this talk of dispossession…
all this talk of poverty, need, and suffering:
and he who was Power has become weakness!
And now we are here, helpless,
hiding from those who put him to death.
If you would have been there,
you would have seen,
at the foot of his Cross, as I saw,
that this was not weakness, but strength,
that this was not loss, but Love…
And why, now, can we not simply believe
the word of those who have seen him,
that what they say is true?
My heart is clogged up like a filthy drain,
by the regret, shame, and disgust of my sin,
and the burden of guilt that I bear
because I said those awful words…
there by the charcoal fire,
before the rooster crowed.
I cannot see anything;
this obscures my sight.
At that moment there is a flash of light
and the Risen Son stands in their midst,
clothed in a simple white garment,
his feet bare and uncovered.
Peter scrambles to his feet
and presses his back to the wall,
while John falls down to his knees,
gazing on the Lord.
Peter opens his mouth to speak,
as the Apostles gather around Christ,
but no words come from his mouth.
After a moment, Jesus speaks:
My dear friends, may peace be with you.
Do not be afraid any longer.
You see that I have risen from the dead.
The bonds of suffering and death
could not hold me…and by Love,
by Love they have been forever shattered.
In saying this he raises his hands and blesses them,
and they see that his hands still bear the wounds
of the nails that had pierced them and held them to the Cross.
But these wounds now are glorious, radiant,
an expression of the Risen Son’s pure openness in Love.
In me you see the radiance of Love,
the very beauty of my Father, shining…
Be not afraid to look, to contemplate, to receive.
I will not always be visible to your sight,
but I will always be here with you,
for time and space cannot contain me
as my very humanity, now,
has entered into the boundlessness of God.
And I have entered, as you see and feel,
into the most intimate communion
with you, my friends, my dear ones,
and with all of creation and humanity,
inseparably joined to you in your frailty.
And now, by this presence, I make all things new,
renewing all from the inside and transforming it,
carrying everything unto the consummation
that awaits all creation at the end of time.
So I say again: Be not afraid!
Love takes you into its care,
breaking down the barriers of fear,
dissolving the rigid walls of your sin.
Let yourself be taken, apprehended,
lifted up in the arms of the One who loves you!
And I give you the Spirit of my Love,
the Spirit I share eternally with the Father,
to live in you and be with you, as I said.
At this, Jesus breathes on the Apostles,
a breath that, in its utter gentleness,
also vibrates through the room with power,
touching the bodies and hearts of the men
and relaxing and liberating them in Love.
Receive the Holy Spirit.
I give you authority and commission
to speak in my name,
and I send you out, my friends, my Apostles,
to share what you have heard and seen,
to touch wounded hearts with God’s forgiveness,
taking away their sin in my place,
and manifesting to them the Father’s love.
Be united among yourselves, as I have prayed,
and foster unity among all of those
who will come to believe in me through you.
This unity, this intimacy, this communion
is the deepest desire and aspiration of my Heart,
so that all of you together may be one
as the Father and I are one in the Spirit…
and indeed may be one with us and within Us.