In the Christian scheme of things, the movement from the human condition to divine transformation requires the mediation of a personal relationship with God. The personal love of Jesus facilitates the growth of this relationship. The experience of being loved by him draws the Christian out of all selfishness into deeper levels of self-surrender. How could this movement occur without the conviction of being personally loved by him? The simple utterance of one word, “Mary!” brought to focus all her ( Mary Magdalene’s) longings. ……
The realization of being loved by God characterizes the first stage of contemplative prayer. It enables us to see God in all things. Mary’s acceptance of that grace leads to a further insight; she becomes aware that she loves Jesus in return. Accordingly, she throws herself into his arms and clings to him. …. through that experience she was raised to the next level of contemplative prayer, which is the capacity to see all things in God.
….Jesus is raising Mary step by step through the progressive stages of contemplative prayer to divine union……he says “go tell my brothers that I ascend to my Father and to your Father”.
Those words are the manifesto of the New Creation! ….The Abba has now been given to us! …..the same relationship with the Father that Christ enjoys is rising up in Mary Magdalene- and in each of us as we assimilate the grace of Easter.
….Mary is sent to be the apostle of the apostles. What makes an apostle is divine love, nothing else. “You, my brothers,” Jesus says through her,” have been initiated into the reign of God, into my experience of the Father as Abba, the God of infinite compassion.”
Jesus, in the plan of God, has opened the way to the highest states of consciousness. The Garden of Eden is both a memory of what could be and a preview of what is to come. In the Garden of the Resurrection the full revelation of the mystery of Christ is unveiled. And with that knowledge and experience, Mary reaches the third level of Contemplative payer, the abiding state of divine union, which is to see God giving himself in everything. This is the transformed consciousness of inner resurrection. And this is the Good News she was sent to announce to the apostles. …….
The Garden of Eden stands for a state of consciousness, not a geographical location. She is sent out of the garden, but with the abiding interior state the garden represents: the certitude of being loved by God, of loving him in return, and of God giving himself in every event and at every moment, both within and without. In this state, outside and inside are in harmony; they have become one. In the course of this conversation, the Ultimate Mystery becomes for Mary the Ultimate Presence, and the Ultimate Presence becomes the Ultimate Reality.
The outpouring of grace that we see in this first appearance of Jesus after his resurrection is God’s response to Christ’s sacrifice; it is his glorification in response to his utter humiliation. Like Mary Magdalene, Christ is also calling us by name as we celebrate the feast of his resurrection.
Extracts from “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST” by Thomas Keating.