Missioners Corner –Easter Sunday- 2017.
St John of the Cross, a 16th Century Mystic, wrote a poem called: “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A “dark night of the soul” is “a period of spiritual desolation suffered by a mystic in which all sense of consolation is removed” (encarta). The poem focuses on the spiritual journey of the soul from the darkness of self-absorption to the light of an ever deepening relationship with God.
Many of us can identify a difficult period of our lives that we would describe as “dark” and how we were encouraged in the midst of that not to give up. So many places in Scripture – particularly in the Gospels focus on the theme of dark and light. In the Gospels Jesus says: ” I am the light of the world!” John chapter 1:5, proclaims the great hope for all people: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
On the day of the Resurrection, three days after Jesus had died, and the first day that the people could go to the tomb. John writes: “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” Mary was going to the tomb not because she was excited about seeing the risen Christ, but she was just hoping to be with Jesus’ body.
St. John’s inclusion of the phrase- “while it was still dark,” does not simply indicate the time of day, but also the state of the hearts of Mary, the disciples and the world. While it was still dark the disciples were scattered. While it was still dark, the lives of the disciples were in tatters. While it was still dark, they could neither remember Jesus’ words about Resurrection nor comprehend how they could be true! They had even seen their friend Lazarus rise again, (after three days), they still were unable to grasp that Jesus would rise as, in their minds, people who die, just do not come back.
But, we should not be so hard on those disciples as they had no Gospels or Pauline letters to read. Jesus had been their life and light. His death was so crushing for them. Without His light, they lived in darkness. But, when Jesus called Mary’s name outside of the tomb, the darkness of despair and confusion melted away.
Have you ever experienced “a dark night of the soul?” Though we live on the right side of the Resurrection, many still wonder if it’s true. The weathering of life clouds our ability to see what is real and good. When Mary heard her name called, her doubt and despair were destroyed. Have you heard Jesus call your name? I encourage you this Easter time, to create space in your life such that you can hear Jesus calling you! If you are in a dark space in your life, Jesus can and will meet you there.
On the day of the Resurrection, they found no body, no bones, no ashes -not because of a cruel robbery, but because Jesus is alive! May the living Christ enter your dark time and bring you into His light.
Jesus is Risen, He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!