All it took for Mary Magdalene to recognize (the somehow transformed) Jesus outside the tomb was the sound of her name coming from his lips. “Mary,” he said, and then she knew. May we each hear – deep in our hearts or in the call of those who need us today – the name by which the Beloved calls us and may we know at that moment how greatly we are loved. Then may our response be a wholehearted “Yes!” (JN 20: 1-2, 11-18)
Today we speak of St. Augustine, the son of St. Monica for whose conversion she spent her life praying. (See yesterday’s post) Sometimes conversion is such a turnaround that one can only call the about-face a “fierce” change. (See www.franciscanmedia.org – saint of the day) Augustine became a rigorous defender of the faith at a time of decadence which gave him a reputation for “fundamental rigorism.” Such was my impression in my younger days. I was surprised somewhat later to find a more gentle, beautifully expressed side of the man as he wrote of his relationship with God. Here is my favorite example of such a deep and meaningful encounter.
Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient yet new; late have I loved you. Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made I rushed headlong, I, misshapen. You were with me but I was not with you. They held me back far from you, those things which would have no being were they not in you. You called, shouted, broke through my deafness; you flared, blazed, banished my blindness; you lavished your fragrance, I gasped, and now I pant for you; I tasted you, now I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and now I burn for your peace. (Confessions, x.27)