But there is still one more lesson for her to learn.
As she throws herself forward, speechless with love and desire, to grasp His Feet
– to assure herself even by touch that it is these same feet indeed which she kissed in the Pharisee’s house, and on the Cross of Calvary
– that it is Himself, and no phantom
– He moves back from her.
“Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.”
“Do not touch me.” . . .
That Friendship is not what it used to be: it is infinitely higher.
It is not what it seemed to be, since the limitations of that Sacred Humanity are gone
– those limitations by which It was here and not there; by which It could suffer and grow weary and hunger and weep
– limitations that endeared It to Its lovers, since they could indeed minister to It, comfort It, and hold It up.
And Its expansion in Glory is not yet consummated – “I am not yet ascended to my Father” –
that expansion of the Ascension and the Nine Days’ Journey through the Heavenly Hierarchy, from the position “a little lower than the angels” to the Session and Coronation at the right Hand of the Majesty on high
– that expansion of which the Descent of the Holy Ghost is the expression, and the Sacramental Presence of that same Humanity on a hundred altars the result.
And then, Mary, the Friendship shall be given back in “good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over.”
Then that which thou hast known on earth confined by time and space shall be given back to touch and handling once more.
Again thy Friend shall be thine own.
The Creator of Nature shall be present in that Nature, unlimited by its limitations.
He who took Humanity shall be present in Humanity.
He who spoke on earth “as one having authority” shall speak again in the same accent.
He who healed the sick shall heal them in the Gate called Beautiful; He who raised the dead shall raise Dorcas in Joppa; He who called Peter in Galilee, shall call Paul in Damascus.
A Friend again He shall be, as never before: a Creature exercising the power of the Creator: a Creator clothed with the sympathy of the Creature; God suffering on earth, and Man reigning in Heaven.
But a Friend, first and last, in Alpha and Omega; a Friend who has died in the humiliation of Friendship; who has risen and reigns in its Eternal Power.
Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914): The Friendship of Christ, chapter13.