Have you noticed that the four gospels, in their accounts of the resurrection of Our Lord, say not a word about Our Lady going to the tomb on that first Easter morning? Does that strike you as odd? If Saint Mary Magdalen and the other devout women were so concerned about honoring Our Lord’s body properly, and then so upset when they thought it had been taken away, where was Our Lady in all of that activity?
A number of the theologians and writers and mystics down the centuries of church history have expressed a conviction that Our Lord appeared to his holy mother first, before revealing his resurrection to anyone else. I don’t doubt that for a moment. How could the woman, “full of grace,” who carried him in her womb for nine months, NOT be the first be given the joy of his risen presence, his triumph, his victory?
Why did she not go to the tomb with Magdalen and the other women, and with Saints Peter and John? I believe that it’s because she knew that his body wouldn’t be there. She had grasped more clearly than they Our Lord’s words about his resurrection. And she had believed them without the shadow of a doubt. Why bring spices? That was not done for the living in those days; only for the dead. Why look for the Lord of life in a tomb—a place for the dead? No; he would rise, as he promised. And when he did, he would come to her, as he did when she was a teenaged girl and he entered her womb and human history.
Can you imagine what they said to one another at that first meeting on Easter morning? Can you imagine the gladness, the relief, the feeling of liberation? Ever since Our Lord was forty days old and the old man Simeon in the temple had promised that a sword would pierce the heart of his blessed mother, the shadow of the cross never left her. Now, it was gone, never to return! Can you imagine the reverence and love with which she held those hands, still bearing the wounds of the nails? The happiness with which she looked into his face, more handsome than ever despite his sufferings so recently?
One of the favorite prayers of the Church has always been the “Regina Coeli”—Queen of Heaven. “O Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia. For he whom thou wast worthy to bear, alleluia; has risen as he said, alleluia! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.