Tears of Magdalene

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But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. (Jn 20:11)

Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. The disciples had left, but a stronger and more burning affection fixed her to the spot. Mary’s devotion is admired because it was issued in tears:

She weeps bitterly in the night.” (Lam 1:2)

There are two kinds of tears: tears of compunction, to wash away sins —

Every night I flood my bed with tears.” (Ps 6:7)

and tears of devotion, from a desire for heavenly things —

He goes forth, hastening towards heavenly things, weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” (Ps 126:6)

This weeping of Mary came from the desire of love. For it is the nature of love to want its beloved present; and if the beloved cannot be really present, it at least wants to think of the beloved.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mt 6:21)

Mary shed these bitter tears because she thought that Jesus had been taken from the tomb. The life of such a Great Teacher had been destroyed, but his memory remained. Since Mary could not have him present, she wanted at least to look at the place where he had been buried, so she ‘stooped to look into the tomb.’

What we can learn from this is that we should look at the death of Christ with a humble heart:

You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.” (Mt 11:25)

She stooped to look, giving us the example to look continually on the death of Christ with the eyes of our mind, for one look is not enough for one who loves, for the force of love increases the desire to explore:

Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Heb 12:2)


Originally posted on Instagram.
Image: Fra Angelico, Entombment (1440) / PD-US

Noel Ethan Tan

Noel Ethan Tan

Noel is a Singaporean working as a rehabilitation counsellor at ACC(S) Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre. He is currently doing a part-time Masters Program in Counselling and Guidance at NTU, Singapore. In his church ministry, Noel is currently serving in a young adults' Catholic community called Anawim that does Bible Exegesis. Noel is also pursuing a Certificate in Theology at the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore. His favorite Bible verse is 1 Peter 3:15 — “In your hearts, reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it with gentleness and reverence.”

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