On Easter morning, when Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside the empty tomb, she was shocked. She wanted to touch him and make sure he was real. Her trembling fingers stroked his wounded feet.
Jesus drew back. “Mary, don’t cling.”
Mary was baffled. Why would Jesus tell her—one of his most faithful disciples—not to touch him? Was he rejecting her? Or did his response mean something more—both to her and to us?
When I cling to someone or something, it typically means I want to control it, put it into my conceptual box. I want to cling so I don’t lose it. I want to be as close as I can so I can understand it. I don’t want to be abandoned. I want to feel safe and good about myself.
But trying to capture God is like trying to capture the wind. God can’t be put into my box. I can’t control or fully conceptualize the Creator.
I use words of endearment like Teacher, Maker, and Divine One to draw closer to God and deepen my relationship with him. But no word or image can fully describe God.
There’s always more he wants to provide in our relationship. Deeper Mystery. Divine Wisdom. Infinite Unconditional Love beyond human understanding.
Ironically, it’s not us, but God who performs the action. God puts the moves on us because he loves us and wants to be closer to us. He desires intimacy (in-to-me-see) with you and me.
Why wouldn’t the Spirit of Love—who scripture calls the Bridegroom—want to sweep us off our feet and carry us across the threshold of life closer into Divine Union so we can experience heaven on earth? Here. Now.
There’s nothing we can do to make that Union happen or deepen. It’s God’s work in us that brings about this miraculous, unfolding relationship.
Our job is to get out of God’s way. Let the Maker have his way with us. Not cling to some magic word or image that makes us feel better about ourselves, but open our hearts so that in the emptiness, God can fill us with Divine Wholeness.
My mind doesn’t grasp that truth. Like Mary Magdalene, my first reaction is to cling.
I want to be in control and be the driving force in my relationship with God. That way, I can set the boundaries. I can determine how far and in what ways I’ll let God have his way with me.
Fortunately, God’s a patient lover. He waits for us, gently nudges us, and when we’re ready to open the door of our hearts a little wider, he comes in and reveals the depths of Unconditional Love more fully.
We can only pray for the grace—the gift—of an Open Heart.
And somehow our prayer is God’s love praying deeply within us.
—brian j plachta