Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Thursday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St John 20: 11-18:

11 Maria autem stabat ad monumentum foris, plorans. Dum ergo fleret, inclinavit se, et prospexit in monumentum: 12 et vidit duos angelos in albis sedentes, unum ad caput, et unum ad pedes, ubi positum fuerat corpus Jesu. 13 Dicunt ei illi: Mulier, quid ploras? Dicit eis: Quia tulerunt Dominum meum: et nescio ubi posuerunt eum. 14 Hæc cum dixisset, conversa est retrorsum, et vidit Jesum stantem: et non sciebat quia Jesus est. 15 Dicit ei Jesus: Mulier, quid ploras? quem quæris? Illa existimans quia hortulanus esset, dicit ei: Domine, si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum, et ego eum tollam. 16 Dicit ei Jesus: Maria. Conversa illa, dicit ei: Rabboni (quod dicitur Magister). 17 Dicit ei Jesus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum: vade autem ad fratres meos, et dic eis: Ascendo ad Patrem meum, et Patrem vestrum, Deum meum, et Deum vestrum.18 Venit Maria Magdalene annuntians discipulis: Quia vidi Dominum, et hæc dixit mihi.

11] But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [12] And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. [13] They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. [14] When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. [16] Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). [17] Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. [18] Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.

The Matins readings (from St Gregory)

Reading 1: Mary Magdalene, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, through love of the truth washed away by her tears the befoulment of her sin, and the word of the Truth was fulfilled which He spake : Her sins, which are many, are forgiven : for she loved much. Luke vii. 47. She that had remained cold while she sinned, became burning when she loved. For after that she had been to the Sepulchre, and had not found there the Body of the Lord, and had believed that It had been taken away, and had told His disciples, they came and saw, and thought it was even as the woman had said : and it is written Then the disciples went away again unto their own home but Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping.

Reading 2: In connection with this matter, we ought to ponder what great store of love there was in that woman's heart, who, when even His disciples were gone away, could not tear herself from the grave of the Lord. She sought Him Whom she had not found there, and as she sought, she wept, and the fire of love in her heart yearned after Him, Who she believed had been taken away. And so it came to pass that she, who had lingered to seek Him, was the only one who then saw Him, since the back-bone of a good work is endurance, and the voice of the Truth Himself hath said : He that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matth. x. 22; xxiv. 13.

Reading 3: As Mary wept there, she stooped down and looked into the Sepulchre. It was but a little while and she had seen how the Sepulchre was empty, and had told that the Lord was taken away. Why then should she stoop down and look in again? But she loved Him so well, that one look was not enough; the energy of her affection constrained her to search again and again. She began by searching and not finding; but she endured in her search, and, behold, it came to pass that she found. And this was done that our own longings for Christ's presence might be taught to expand, and know that as they expand they will meet with Him to Whom they aspire.

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