I Have Seen The Lord
Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D.
Recently, in going over a series of quotable quotes, I came across a saying I had never met before. I was struck by it. It read: “Do the great thing while it is still small.” (Tao Te Ching) I wondered how many great opportunities I may have passed up simply because they were small to begin with. Caroline Myss, in her book, Invisible Acts of Power-Personal Choices that Create Miracles, quotes this unusual saying in relating two of her personal stories.
One summer evening, while sitting on a balcony, Caroline noticed a young man waiting for the bus, across from her home. Caroline had her own thoughts about this young fellow, especially about the way he was dressed, thinking all the while that young people these days should have better taste. In the midst of her thoughts, she saw an older woman with heavy boxes trying to cross the street. The young man also noticed her, and with that, walked over to help her. The woman released the boxes into his arms and showed him the way to her car. He placed the boxes in the trunk and then turned to go. But in a most touching way, the woman wrapped her arms around the young man and gave him a warm hug as a thank-you. Although the young man probably would not think of this again, there is a good chance that the woman, with her boxes, would remember this meeting for a long time.
Two days before this event, Caroline, herself, had experienced a similar encounter. In traveling by plane, she mentions that just the anticipation of needing to hoist heavy carry-on luggage into the compartment above fills her with anxiety. On this particular day, Caroline was not able to check her belongings due to tight flight connections. She braced herself for the moment. All her past experiences came back to haunt her. When the time actually came, a gentleman, waiting behind her, picked up her luggage and, without a word, placed her luggage securely where it belonged. Caroline’s eyes filled with tears. The gentleman’s face flushed with embarrassment.*
Why Are You Weeping
For some strange reason, the story of Mary of Magdala in the Gospel of John came to mind when I read these two stories. Maybe, it was Mary’s tears that evoked this. I thought of Mary weeping because she felt that someone had taken her Lord from her. Where had they laid him? It was still dark. It was also dark in Mary’s heart. Mary looked and saw two angels. Had they come to help her? “Why are you weeping?” they said. “They have taken my Lord,” she answered, “and I do not know where they have laid him.” With that, Mary turned and saw another person, Jesus, who had been there all along. We know that Mary thought he was the gardener. He repeated the question, “Why are you weeping?” Mary did not recognize him until Jesus said, “Mary”. He knew her name, and she knew his, “Teacher”. One can only imagine what it must have felt like to have Jesus call her by name. They were bonded in deep friendship.
We could take this event further and ask ourselves what would have happened had the Lord come to us, and called us by name. And, how would we have answered? Would it have been something like “My Lord and My God” or “My God and My All”?
As I was writing this reflection, I had the good fortune of discussing these stories with a friend. As our discussion unfolded, I came to realize, again, that one comes to “see” the Risen Lord differently from the way we ordinarily see things. It would appear that there is usually something like a screen, or a cloud, between us and the Risen Lord, the screen being the very human event that is before us. Mysteriously, though, there can be a feeling of a Presence. If we are really honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that many times we miss the Risen Lord, thinking that we are just talking to a gardener. There is another part to these experiences. Although it is awesome and humbling to admit, viewing life this way would mean that others could experience the Risen Jesus when dealing with us, without our knowing. However, there will always be that screen of the human event.
The Presence Of The Risen Lord
The Presence of the Risen Lord surrounds us. It seems like it would be a worthwhile custom to ask ourselves, each evening, how many times we may have met the Risen Lord that particular day. Mary of Magdala could not keep it to herself. She ran to tell the disciples. “I have seen the Lord,” she said. Sometimes, we meet the Risen Jesus in tears, disappointment and suffering, and sometimes in frustration and inner anguish. At others times, the meeting is one of intimacy, joy and deep peace.
Caroline Myss, “Invisible Acts of Power –Personal Choices That Create Miracles, (New York, NY: Free Press, 2004), pp. 11-13.
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