Tears we shed for Christ are never unrewarded, says St. Cyril of Alexandria. Look at Mary Magdalene: she wept because she thought Christ’s body had been stolen, and she learned the most joyous news in all history.
Observe that the tears we let fall for Christ do not lose their reward, nor is it long before love for him bears fruit. No, his grace and rich return will follow closely in the wake of pain.
As Mary was sitting there, her cheeks moistened with mourning for her beloved Lord whom she had lost, the Savior granted to her the knowledge of the mystery about him by the mouth of holy angels. For she saw angels in bright apparel, the garments they were wearing signifying to her the perfect beauty of angelic purity, who interrupted her lamentations, and said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
Of course, it was not that they wanted to learn the reason why her tears were falling, for they would have known it even if the woman had not told it to them, and the very circumstances themselves were enough to explain it. Instead, they bid her cease from weeping, because there was no reason for tears. She had made what was a subject for rejoicing a cause of grief.
Why, indeed, say they, when death has been subdued, and corruption lost its power, and our savior Christ has risen again, and made a new pathway for the dead back to incorruption and to life—why do you, woman, mistake the time, and why are you so distraught by bitter pangs of woe, when the way things have turned out rather calls you to rejoice? For, in truth, you should be glad, and of good cheer. So why do you weep, and detract a little from the honor due a festival?
–St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, 20:11-13
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Even when I have reason for weeping, can Mary Magdalene help me have faith that my weeping will turn to joy?
Lord, as you once accepted the loving worship of St. Mary Magdalene, accept the prayers of my heart.
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