Jesus saith to her [Mary Magdalen]: “Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17).  

She is impelled, therefore, to seek the surer knowledge of faith, which discerns truths unknown to the senses, beyond the range of experience.

When he said: “Do not touch me,” he meant: depend no longer on this fallible sense; put your trust in the word, get used to faith.

Faith cannot be deceived. With the power to understand invisible truths, faith does not know the poverty of the senses; it transcends even the limits of human reason, the capacity of nature, the bounds of experience.

Why do you ask the eye to do what it is not equipped to do? And why does the hand endeavor to examine things beyond its reach?

What you may learn from these senses is of limited value. But faith will tell you of me without detracting from my greatness.

Learn to receive with greater confidence, to follow with greater security, whatever faith commends to you.

“Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.” As if after he had ascended he wished to be or could be touched by her!

And yet he could be touched, but by the heart, not by the hand; by desire, not by the eye; by faith, not by the senses.

Why do you want to touch me now, he says; would you measure the glory of the resurrection by a physical touch?

Do you not remember that, while I was still mortal, the eyes of the disciples could not endure for a short space the glory of my transfigured body that was destined to die?

I still accommodate myself to your senses by bearing this form of a servant which you are accustomed to seeing.

But this glory of mine is too wonderful for you, so high that you cannot reach it.

Defer your judgment therefore, refrain from expressing an opinion, do not entrust the defining of so great a matter to the senses; it is for faith to pronounce on it.

With its fuller comprehension, faith will define it more worthily and more surely. In its deep and mystical breast it can grasp what is the length and breath and height and depth.

‘What eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived,’ is borne within itself by faith, as if wrapped in a covering and kept under seal.

She therefore will touch me worthily who will accept me as seated with the Father, no longer in lowly guise, but in my own flesh transformed with heaven’s beauty.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): Sermons on the Song of Songs, 28, 9-10.