For her day today, I was praying with Mary Magdalene, especially through the gospel for her feast, John 20:11-18
"Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping." The beginning of prayer. We are left alone, and we lament before the empty tomb. What is our lament? Our compunction over our sins and distraction, and the obscuring of the presence of God we have brought upon ourselves. Contrition is the beginning of prayer.
As Mary addresses her concern and pain to the one she thinks is the gardener, so we cry out into the obscure and unknown wilderness that opens inside us through prayer.
But then this Unknown is recognized as God--not because of our efforts, or because our perception is clever, but because we are called by name. Mary, who knew Jesus well in his earthly life, does not recognize him right away in his Risen Life. But once she is called by name there is no doubt, and this Encounter cuts through and renders obsolete all of her previous concern and sorrow. Something new has appeared, broken in. It is the Resurrection.
But that experience in prayer, of being called by name and knowing, recognizing the Teacher in that moment--that's all you get. You can't hold on to it, and afterward you can hardly understand or recall it. Noli me tangere, "stop holding on to me." God refuses to be a possession. This is the coincidence of prayer and holy poverty.