More and more over the years, I turn to Mary Magdalene's encounter with the Risen Lord as both a means to understand prayer and a model for praying. I've written the same stuff before, but instead of linking some old post I thought to make a new one in the 'theses' style.
Theses on Prayer from Mary Magdalene (John 20: 11-18)
- Getting up early helps
- Stay still, stay where you are inside. Don't get up and do something else either physically or interiorly at the first thought of doing so, even when others have run away.
- Even when all you have inside seems like emptiness, look into it.
- Whatever question or concern or hurt happens to be on your heart, address it simply to whatever presence seems to be there, whether you recognize the presence or not, whether it seems like anything or not.
- Know that when you recognize the presence of God, this is how we, in our limited perception, experience God recognizing and calling to us. So like many aspects of prayer--and indeed, prayer itself--things feel like our action and our perception when in fact they are the action of the Holy Spirit praying within us. This is a sort of optical illusion of the interior vision that happens because of our being limited to time and space.
- Accept without discouragement that the experience of God in prayer feels fleeting. It feels this way because God is not a 'thing' that can be possessed like our other created experiences and still less like a physical, temporal good. In this sense prayer is the first and primary school of evangelical poverty, because the object of our desire cannot be grasped and possessed. Prayer trains us in letting go, because we have no choice with God but to let go.
- Further, even if it seems as if God flees from us in prayer, he is not fleeing in order to be rid of us, but as a way of drawing us, seducing us even, deeper into the mystery, that we may begin again with an even more profound gaze into the empty tomb.
- The fruit of prayer is witness to and announcement of the Resurrection, that the world may know that the new creation has begun to arrive.