“Mary of Magdala came to the tomb...while it was still dark and saw the stone removed from the tomb…” John 20:1. Hmmm...after so much chaos, which brought fear and hiding to even the bravest of souls, the one who came first to the tomb, the “apostola apostolorum”--apostle to the Apostles-- Mary of Magdala, saw our risen Lord, then shared the good news with all. Just as Eve "brought" something bad to Adam with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so Mary Magdalene “brought” the best reality ever to the apostles. The fall is undone and made into something new, re-created. Wonderfully, this truth is shown even in the little details of the New Testament.
Let’s face it, most of us would not have chosen to make our grand resurrection appearance to Mary of Magdala-- but there it is in the Gospels. Why do you suppose that she was brave enough to go creeping around in the dark? May I suggest that she was used to the dark? If the stories are correct, she was familiar with things that most others did not know well. In the dark, she was “in her element” so to speak.
How beautiful that God used even her “dark past” for His purposes and great glory. She was completely redeemed in the one heroic moment of Christ’s resurrection. What others were ill equipped to handle, God used for Gospel purposes.
What is your story? When handed to our Lord, He can take even your “darkest moments” and use them for His good purposes. He is “divine mercy,” all grace, the good news of the Gospel.
This Sunday we will celebrate “Divine Mercy Sunday.” There is so much written about it and if you do not know the story, I hope that you will investigate more here. In each person’s life there is a story of mercy. I was honored to be asked to share a story of divine mercy in my own life for listeners on “Mercy Unwrapped” radio. You can listen to it here. In it I tell of how God got my attention and mercifully showed me Himself in the Eucharist and how that experience was instrumental in my conversion to Catholicism. Even now He is using my past, my love for the Bible, and my desire to tell anyone and everyone about Him, to spread His Word to a whole new group of friends: my beloved Catholic sisters and brothers. God never skips a beat. He will take all that we are and use it for His greater purposes, if we will let Him.
I pray this Eastertide that you will not let the enemy rob you of one blessed thing the Lord has prepared for you. If you have believed the lie that God can’t love you because of your past, I pray that you will see that old self nailed to the cross with Christ and then resurrected with Him for His purpose--in order to set you free and make all things new. And if you need to go to Confession to get free, please do! The graces that come from this beautiful sacrament are not only beneficial for dealing with things that are behind us, but also spur us forward to greater things for our future as well.
Who knows...you could be the only one who God will use in certain situations or to reach certain people because of your past. His mercy is never ending. Give Him your whole self--it will not surprise Him, but He might just surprise you.
“The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent-- They are renewed each morning—great is your faithfulness! The LORD is my portion, I tell myself, therefore I will hope in him. The LORD is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him.” Lamentations 3:22-25
Here I am. I give You my whole self-- my past, my present, and my future. I pray that You will use me to glorify You in any way that I can to spread Your Kingdom on this earth. Please give me the grace to let the past go, and if I need to, give me the gumption to go to Confession and get free once and for all. You say that what is in the past and confessed is gone forever from Your sight (Psalm 103:11-12). Let me shake free from the chains that bind me in the Name of Jesus. Set me free Lord to be used by You. Smash, crush and destroy anything that is not of You in my life. Let this Easter truly be one of a spring time in my soul. I love You Lord. Set me free to love You more and more each and every day. You came for this--let me live in it.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.