Monday, July 22, 2013

Mary Magdalen

The Spirit is God always surpassing our dreams or desires. The Spirit expresses for us the God in Christ who cannot be managed, who is “continually spilling over,” the God who is exquisitely present within yet ungraspable, indescribable, the Spirit who is the vital atmosphere that gives us breath and life, surrounding us and granting us greater intimacy with God, who keeps us open to the More that God is, beyond our imaginings or our manipulation. The Spirit brings unity, always respecting difference, enlivening reciprocity.

“The Spirit is at the place of our desire,” the inarticulate groan that begs for Christ to surround and indwell and sustain us in the incompleteness of love. And as monks we know that this is where we live- in this "land of desire," somehow suspended between heaven and earth, getting glimpses of heavenly communion, visits of the Word, noticing his kind and loving presence but more often left hanging, because our desire always outstrips our present capacity. And so we’re left suspended, longing for more, but often losing our way. We live in an in-between place- poised in faith between a promised heavenly homeland and an earthly home; puzzled and sometimes impatient because earthly existence even for all its ambiguities is at least tangible and real. And as we wait we keep on doing what we’re doing-  noticing the ordinary charged with mystery, in this place of already and not yet. 

And so Mary Magdalen comes to us again at the height of summer, falling at Jesus' feet, longing to embrace him whom her heart desires. She is our exemplar, the forgiven sinner, who desires God with all her heart. As Jesus reminds her not to cling to him, he is calling her to trust the depth of his love for her and to trust that he knows well the love she has for him.

Detail of fresco of Mary Magdalen by Giotto.