By Fr. Ron Will, CPPS
Welcome to this sixth episode in a series entitled “Encounters of the Fourth Kind.” I am Fr. Ron Will, a Missionary of the Precious Blood, serving at Precious Blood Renewal Center in Liberty, Missouri.
Many of you probably remember the science fiction movie out some years ago called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
This series invites you to go deeper into your relationship with God, to plunge into that deeper relationship. It is an invitation to enter the divine embrace.
In today’s episode we will join Mary Magdalen on Easter morning outside the tomb of Jesus, who was crucified and buried there three days earlier.
Listen as I read from The Gospel of John 20:1-17.
Now I invite you to close your eyes and get comfortable. Relax your entire body.
Breathe in deeply through your mouth … hold it … breathe out through your nose slowly and completely. Breathe in deeply again … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely. Again, breathe in deeply … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely.
Let all the tension drain from your shoulders … relax your neck … your facial muscles … and even your eyelids…just relax … Breathe in deeply … hold it … breathe out slowly and completely. (pause)
Now see yourself in your mind’s eye standing outside the tomb where Jesus was buried. It is just beginning to get light. The morning air is a bit cool. There is a bit of dew on the plants in the garden. The stone has been rolled away from the entrance. You approach the open tomb and feel a slight warmth come from within it, in contrast to the morning air. It’s as if there had been a fire inside the tomb and the heat is still radiating out.
Mary Magdalene comes up beside you. You both stoop to look inside. You both see in the darkness the form of two individuals who seem to glow with a light from within them, at the foot and head of where Jesus was.
You hear them ask Mary “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary answers through her tears “They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
In the dim light, you see someone walk up behind Mary and yourself. You hear him ask Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”
Mary replies, “If you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him.”
He responds “Mary.”
Mary immediately recognizes the voice as that of Jesus and her face lights up with joy.
Jesus turns to you, calls you by name and asks, “Where in your heart are you weeping? Where in your heart are you experiencing my absence?”
You think about that for a moment, and then share with Jesus where you are weeping in your heart and why.
You hear Jesus respond: Stating your name, “trust me in the midst of your messy world. Detach yourself from the disturbances around you. Instead of striving to maintain order and control in your little world, relax and remember that circumstances cannot touch My Peace. The Peace I give is sufficient for you.”
You respond, “Jesus, I believe that you love your people, and you will not allow the concerns I named to prevent them from experiencing your love through your Risen Life radiating out of your heart. I re-commit myself to be a channel of your love in my world.”
You have just had an encounter of the fourth kind.
Continue to sit in silence for a couple minutes and continue to experience that encounter. Savor it.
Then join me again next month, for another “Close Encounter of the Fourth Kind.” In the meantime, may God bless you.
All of the videos in this series can be found here: Encounters of the Fourth Kind.
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[Fr. Ron Will, a Precious Blood priest and spiritual director, is a graduate of Catholic Theological Union and Creighton University’s School of Christian Spirituality. He has a special interest in helping form intentional disciples of Jesus, encouraging others to go spiritually deep-sea diving to explore a deeper relationship with God, and walking with people as they dive into the ocean of God’s mystery actually experiencing God rather than simply dipping one’s toe into the water.]
Learn more about Mary Magdalene. Learn more about a program that seeks to educate folks about St. Mary Magdalene as “Apostle to the Apostles” using art.
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