Lesson: Pope Saint John Paul II, among many others in Church history, believed that Jesus would have appeared to His own Mother first after His Resurrection.
Indeed, it is legitimate to think that the Mother was probably the first person to whom the risen Jesus appeared. Could not Mary’s absence from the group of women who went to the tomb at dawn (cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1) indicate that she had already met Jesus? (Pope John Paul II, Address at the General Audience, 3 April 1996; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 10 April 1996, #3)
Saint Ignatius also states that this fact is implied by Scripture in that Jesus is recorded to have appeared to many others. Recall that the life of our Blessed Mother was one filled with hidden virtue and love. Very little was recorded about Mary and her relationship of perfect love with her divine Son. Thus, it is a reasonable consequence of this perfect love that she would have been the first to whom Jesus appeared, purely out of love for her.
Traditionally, Saturdays in the Church liturgical calendar are dedicated to our Blessed Mother. In part this is because it was on that Holy Saturday that our Blessed Mother waited in perfect anticipation of the Resurrection of her Son. She knew, by her unwavering faith, that He would rise; and she kept vigil for Him, as she had been the most central person throughout His life.
Reflection: Here are some reflection points for your meditation.
- Begin by quietly pondering the perfect love between Jesus and His dear mother. Consider her love for Jesus at the moment of His incarnation, birth, childhood, and throughout His earthly life. Consider also her fidelity throughout His public ministry, her continual “pondering” of His life, and her fidelity to Him as she stood at the foot of the Cross. Not only did Mary have a mother’s love, she had a perfect mother’s love. Ponder that love.
- Reflect also upon her perfect faith in His Resurrection as she held His dead body when taken down from the Cross. In that moment, her faith never wavered. Her sorrow was mixed with perfect hope as she looked forward to Jesus’ glorious triumph over death.
- Imagine the mind and heart of our Blessed Mother throughout Holy Saturday. She would have grown, moment by moment, in hopeful anticipation of the glorious Resurrection of her Son.
- Lastly, try to see the moment when Jesus appeared to her on Easter Sunday morning. It was a hidden meeting of love. Imagine the overflowing love they shared in silence. This first appearance was not for the purpose of His mother going forth and telling others; rather, it was purely an appearance of love flowing from their perfect mutual love.
- Resurrection of Jesus and First Apparition
- Second Apparition
- Third Apparition
- Fourth Apparition
- Fifth Apparition
- Sixth Apparition
- Seventh Apparition
- Eighth Apparition
- Ninth Apparition
- Additional Apparitions
- Ascension of Jesus
- Contemplation to Attain Divine Love