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  • Sarah Raad

Gardener

Mary of Magdala saw the Risen God and mistook Him for a Gardener…

Christ appears to Mary Magdalen as a gardener (Noli me tangere)

I have been praying for people who experience spiritual dryness.


Spiritual dryness is the feeling that God is far away from us and that we are alone. In many ways, spiritual dryness is the experience of the evil temptation to believe that God is not omnipotent and does not love us.


Prior to my conversion – which occurred through Grace and no merit of my own – I experienced long periods of spiritual dryness. I used to see these times as evidence of God’s complete disregard for me and I convinced myself that this dryness was evidence that God did not love or care for me.


And, as I have been reflecting on my own experience of spiritual dryness, I have been thinking about how spiritual dryness manifested itself among the early disciples of Christ.


In other words, how did it look when people who had LIVED WITH Christ and WITNESSED His power could not feel the presence of God?


And as I have been thinking about those early disciples, I have been considering the experience of Mary Magdalene in particular. You see, Mary Magdalene experienced times of trial in her life. We are told in the Gospel that Christ had cast out SEVEN demons from Mary Magdalene when He first met her…

After this, Jesus travelled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.” (Luke 8:1-2).

Of all the disciples of Christ, it is only some very few disciples, including Mary Magdalene, who are mentioned by name as standing with our Blessed Mother at the Foot of the Cross during the Crucifixion… “Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’” (John 19:25-26)…

And yet – on the Sunday of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalene – in her distress and spiritual dryness – failed to recognise God Himself! Saint Padre Pio explained, “Do not worry about the dryness, the exhaustion, and the troubling shadows that are present in your spirit, because God has willed them for your greater good. One day Mary Magdalene was speaking to the Master, but thinking that she was separated from Him, she was weeping and looking for Him. She was so eager to see Him that, although she was indeed seeing Him, she did not see Him because she thought He was a gardener. The same is true for you too. Come now, be courageous, and do not worry for nothing. You have the Master as your companion and are not separated from Him.”


For Mary of Magdala saw the Risen God and mistook Him for a Gardener…


And I have to wonder, how many times have I done the same thing in myself?


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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