Ave Maria Meditations
“From the fact of there being no mention made in the Gospel of the visit wherewith Christ consoled His Mother after His Resurrection, we are not to conclude that this most merciful Jesus, the source of all grace and consolation, Who was so anxious to gladden His disciples by His presence, forgot His Mother, Who He knew had drunk so deeply of the bitterness of His Passion. But it has pleased Divine Providence that the Gospel should be silent on this subject; and this for three reasons.
“In the first place, because of the firmness of Mary’s faith. The confidence which the Virgin-Mother had of Her Son’s rising again had never faltered, not even by the slightest doubt. This we can readily believe, if we reflect on the special grace wherewith She was filled, She the Mother of the Man-God, the Queen of the Angels, and the Mistress of the world. To a truly enlightened mind, the silence of Scripture on this subject says more than any affirmation could have done.
We have learned to know something of Mary by the visit She received from the Angel, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed Her. We met Her again at the foot of the Cross, where She, the Mother of Sorrows, stood nigh Her dying Son. If then the Apostle could say: As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation (2 Cor. 1: 7), what share must not the Virgin-Mother have had in the joys of the Resurrection? We should hold it as a certain truth that Her most sweet Jesus, after His Resurrection, consoled Her first of all.
The Holy Roman Church would seem to express this, by celebrating at St. Mary Major’s the Station of Easter Sunday. Moreover, if from the silence of the Evangelists you would conclude that our Risen Lord did not appear to Her first, you must go farther, and say that He did not appear to Her at all, inasmuch as these same Evangelists, when relating the several apparitions, do not mention a single one as made to Her. Now, such a conclusion as this would savor of impiety.
“In the second place, the silence of the Gospel is explained by the incredulity of men. The object of the Holy Ghost, when dictating the Gospels, was to describe such apparitions as would remove all doubt from carnal-minded men with regard to the Resurrection of Christ. The fact of Mary’s being His Mother would have weakened Her testimony, at least in their own eyes. For this reason She was not brought forward as a witness, though most assuredly there never was or ever will be any creature (the Humanity of Her Son alone excepted) whose assertion better deserved the confidence of every truly pious soul. But the text of the Gospel was not to adduce any testimonies, save such as might be offered to the whole world. As to Jesus’ apparition to His Mother, the Holy Ghost has left it to be believed by those that are enlightened by His light.
“In the third place, this silence is explained by the sublime nature of the apparition itself. The Gospel says nothing regarding the Mother of Christ after the Resurrection; and the reason is, that Her interviews with Her Son were so sublime and ineffable that no words could have described them. There are two sorts of visions: one is merely corporal, and feeble in proportion; the other is mainly in the soul, and is granted only to such as have been transformed. Say, if you will, that St. Mary Magdalen was the first to have the merely corporal vision, provided that you admit that the Blessed Virgin saw, previously to Magdalen, and in a far sublimer way, Her Risen Jesus, that She recognised Him, and enjoyed His sweet embraces in Her soul, more even than in Her body.”
St. Bernardine of Siena (Feast Day is May 20th)