In the Presence of the Divine: Learning to Let Go with Mary Magdalene

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“Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.” ~ Jn 20:17a

Today, I reflect on Mary Magdalene’s experience at the tomb of Jesus, as retold in the Gospel of John 20:11-18.

The Moment of Release

In this passage, I picture Mary tightly embracing Jesus out refusal to losing him again. Then, Jesus utters says to Mary, “Stop holding onto me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”

To me, this emotionally intense moment captures the essence of human longing and the divine invitation to faith. Mary’s instinctive grasp, fueled by her shock and joy at seeing Jesus, mirrors our own tendencies to cling to what we know, even in the face of God’s grace.

Clinging to the Material

This narrative prompts me to examination of how often I get entangled in the minutiae of daily life like worries, goals, or disappointments. Like Mary, I can be consumed by immediate concerns and mental narrative that I fail to recognize the divine right in front of me.

Our grasp on things of earthly nature can cloud our spiritual origin, leaving us yearning for something we already have but cannot see.

The Call to Presence

Jesus’ gentle admonition is a call to awareness and presence. It’s a reminder to loosen our grip on the tangible and the transient to open our hearts to the eternal and the transcendent.

This scene challenges us to ask:

  1. How often do I allow the stresses and strains of life to overshadow my faith and connection with God?
  2. How frequently do I forget that, despite my efforts to control life, there is a higher power guiding me?

The Power of Faith

To me , this passage is not just a moment of personal revelation for Mary Magdalene; it’s a universal invitation to recognize and relinquish our illusions of control.

It’s a reminder that faith is not about holding onto certainty but about embracing the mystery of God’s grace, love and guidance.

As this day goes on, I’m prompted to explore a few things:

  • Where might I be holding on too tightly to our how my world should be?
  • How can releasing these expectations allow greater trust in God’s guidance?
  • How can I practice being more present and open to the nudges of the Holy Spirit embedded in activities of daily living?

In peace,


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