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Chapter 56

“Perfect Love
Casts Out Fear”

 

Search me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind in the fire.
For your faithful love is before my eyes,
and I live my life by your truth.
Remember no more the sins of my youth,
nor my rebellious ways,
but remember me in the light of your love unfailing.
Integrity and generosity are marks of the Lord,
therefore he brings sinners back to the path.
He leads the meek to what is right;
he teaches the humble his way.
—Psalms 26:2-3, 25:7-9

 

 

At the end of the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary came to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.  His face was like lightning, and his robe white as snow.  The guards were so shaken with fear of him that they became like dead men.  Then the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid!  I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he is risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead, and he will go before you into Galilee; there you will see him.  Behold, I have told you.’  Then they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples.  And behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘Hail!  Do not be afraid.  Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’” (Matt. 28:1-10)

The “tomb” is that dark place inside of us, at the heart of us, that is the last to be redeemed.  The shame of the original sin, when we first realized that we were naked, is taken away when that last “stone” of pride is “rolled back” by the “angel of the Lord.”  Like the “guards,” we tremble in fear when our sin is revealed by the light of the risen Christ.  We can no longer hide inside that dark tomb of guilt and shame, under the fig leaves of self-deception and self-illusion, covered by the rock of pride to protect us.  Like the crucified Christ who was abused by Satan, so was our soul in the Garden of Eden.  If Mary Magdalen represents that woman who was caught in adultery—a soul living in sin and fear—here she represents a soul that goes “out quickly from the tomb with (holy) fear and great joy” by the power of Christ’s resurrection.  “Where sin abounded, grace has superabounded.” (Rom. 5:20)  As she was delivered from seven demons, our soul is lifted up above the enemy like the angel who “sat upon” the stone, representing the soul that has overcome the seven deadly sins. (Luke 8:2)  In this spiritual resurrection with the risen Christ, we are freed from that fundamental pride, anger and rebellion, along with all the fear, guilt and shame that may still reside inside, “Do not be afraid.  Then, we go to others, “my brothers,” to share with them the risen Christ.  We “go to Galilee,” to see the Lord Jesus on Mount Carmel and Mount Tabor.  That is to say, we climb to high contemplation and transfiguration in the vision of the risen Lord, for “there they will see me.

We also “see” Him and come to know Him “in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:35)  Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus who said to one another, “Was not our heart burning within us?” we are strengthened and fed by the spiritual power of divine love coming from the risen Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. (Luke 24:32)

 

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