St-Gregory-the-DialogistBut Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre (John 20:11-18).

Mary Magdalene, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, through love of the truth washed away by her tears the befoulment of her sin, and the word of the Truth was fulfilled which He had spoken:

“Her sins, which are many, are forgiven: for she hath loved much” Luke 7:47).

She that had remained cold while she sinned, became burning when she loved.

For after that she had been to the Sepulchre, and had not found there the Body of the Lord, and had believed that It had been taken away, and had told His disciples, they came and saw, and thought it was even as the woman had said.

And it is written “Then the disciples went away again unto their own home but Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping”.

In connection with this matter, we ought to ponder what great store of love there was in that woman’s heart, who, when even His disciples were gone away, could not tear herself from the grave of the Lord.

She sought Him Whom she had not found there, and as she sought, she wept, and the fire of love in her heart yearned after Him, Who she believed had been taken away.

And so it came to pass that she, who had lingered to seek Him, was the only one who then saw Him, since the backbone of a good work is endurance, and the voice of the Truth Himself hath said: “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matth. 10:22; 24:13).

As Mary wept there, she stooped down and looked into the Sepulchre.

It was but a little while and she had seen how the Sepulchre was empty, and had told that the Lord was taken away.

Why then should she stoop down and look in again?

But she loved Him so well, that one look was not enough; the energy of her affection constrained her to search again and again.

She began by searching and not finding. But she endured in her search, and, behold, it came to pass that she found.

And this was done that our own longings for Christ’s presence might be taught to expand, and know that as they expand they will meet with Him to Whom they aspire.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homilies on the Gospels, 25 (from Mattins of Easter Thursday in the Old Breviary.

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