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Our Lady and the Resurrection
by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
Our Lady, the First Witness
It is not only a pious opinion that the Risen Savior first appeared to His Mother Mary on Easter Sunday. No less than six Doctors of the Church, including SS. Ambrose, Anselm and Albert the Great held that Our Lady was the first witness of the Resurrection. Pope Benedict XIV declared that this fact is "based on the tradition proclaimed by ancient architectural and liturgical monuments, starting from Jerusalem itself."
Therefore it is not surprising that St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises simply assumes that Jesus "appeared in body and soul to His Blessed Mother" immediately after rising from the dead. In fact, Ignatius makes this Marian mystery the first of fourteen meditations on the risen life of Christ. It is also the key meditation which introduces the capstone of the Spiritual Exercises, the "Contemplation for Obtaining Divine Love." We are to learn from Mary that "love ought to be found in deeds rather than words," and that "love consists in mutual interchange on either side."
The Resurrection Fulfills the Annunciation
Over the centuries, the Church's masters of the spiritual life have explained why Christ opened His forty days on earth after the Resurrection by appearing to His Mother. It is because the Resurrection was the fulfillment of the Annunciation.
Thus in Jerusalem Mary's role in the Resurrection of Christ was the completion of her mission at the Annunciation in Nazareth. The Mother of Sorrows became the Cause of Our Joy twice over:
But all of this depends on our faith. We will be blessed, provided like Mary we too have believed that the things promised us by the Lord will be fulfilled.
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