Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). — John 20:16
“No! Let me be! I don’t want to wake up!” I was not ready for another day, not after such a long night and, too, because I knew the pain that still permeated throughout the household.
But Mary was insistent. “Look! Mary Magdalene is going out. I don’t know where. Let’s follow her!”
Before I was upright, Martha was standing over us and put a stop to our surveillance right then and there. We were needed in the kitchen.
Sometime later, there was a commotion outside. Mary Magdalene was speaking excitedly to Peter and John. Then Peter and John took off running as fast as they could, John quickly outpacing Peter. Mary Magdalene stood watching them for several minutes, then turned to drop onto a bench. As her torso dropped, her arms flew into the air and then landed on her knees with a thud. She muttered, “Well. Now what should I do?”
Mary and I took one quick glance on each other and shot out of the kitchen to sit on the ground next to Mary. We each grabbed one of Mary’s hands as our eyes searched hers.
“Jesus is alive,” she said softly. “Angels told me so. And I saw him. I saw our Rabbi!”
Still, Mary and I could not speak.
“He told us this would happen. He told us death could not prevail. He is the Messiah and he has given us the gift of salvation,” Mary continued. A soft smile played across her face. “Can you imagine? I didn’t recognize him at first! Then he called my name, ‘Mary.’ How my heart filled with joy!”
Mary looked away as if she was seeing Jesus once again alive in the garden. Or, perhaps, she was thinking back to the first time she saw Jesus. He was surrounded by men, women and children. Talking. Laughing. Teaching. Reaching out to each one.
Mary told us, “I was mending fishing nets when I first heard Jesus teaching. I turned toward his voice and our eyes locked. He smiled and I walked nearer to better hear what he said. I was much older than the other girls working on the nets. I had turned down my father’s matchmaking many times — I had no interest in marriage. My father thought I was insane. I began to follow Jesus, ignoring the nets and other household chores. I thought my father would be happy that I had found something that made me happy — learning from Jesus — and I told my father I wanted to model my life after Jesus. My father had a quick temper, so instead he dragged to me where Jesus and his friends were staying. He threw me down at Jesus’ feet, threw a bag of money at me, and told Jesus, ’She’s your responsibility now.’”
“Our friendship was nothing like I had experienced with a man. He treated me — all women! — with respect. Never talking down to me. Always encouraging me to speak up, even before the men. And he asked my opinion. He genuinely wanted to know my thoughts,” Mary remembered.
She added, “And so I followed Jesus. My father’s purse had been generous. It helped finance our missionary work throughout Galilee and even as Jesus led us into Judea toward Jerusalem.”
Called back to the present, Mary Magdalene looked intently at Mary and me. “You must follow him, too,” she said. “You must believe!”
Imagio Divina — Divine Imagining — encourages us to enter into stories of the Bible using our imaginations for God to talk with us. Begin by reading a piece of scripture, closing your eyes, and allowing yourself to enter the story. Who is there? Choose a character that you identify with and become him or her. What do you see? What do your smell? What do you hear? What do you touch? Allow yourself to weave the scripture story into your imagination, braiding the biblical details with those you see in your mind’s eye. Many journal their journeys into antiquity following their Imagio Divina practice. For everyone, prayer is the natural conclusion.