The Effort of the Search

From “Homily 25,” 1 (ca. 600)

We must consider the great force of love which inflamed Mary’s state of mind. When even the disciples departed from the tomb, she did not depart. She sought the one she had not found, weeping as she searched. Being inflamed with the fire of her love, she burned with desire for the one she believed had been taken away. And so it happened that the one who stayed behind to seek him was the only one who saw him…

But as she wept, she stooped to look into the tomb. It is true that she has already seen that the tomb was empty, and had already reported that the Lord had been taken away. Why did she stoop down to look again? Why did she again long to look? It is not enough for a lover to have looked once, because the force of love intensifies the effort of the search. She sought a first time and found nothing; she persevered in seeking, and so it happened that she found him.

It came about that her unfilled desires increased, and as they increased they took possession of what they had found. Holy desires, as I have told you before, increase by delay in their fulfillment; if delay causes them to fail, they were not desires. Anyone who has been able to reach out for the truth has been on fire with this love.

St. Gregory the Great (ca. 540-604) served as Bishop of Rome from 586-604, during a series of invasions and political turmoils. He was a skilled administrator and diplomat, as well as a gifted preacher and writer on the spiritual life. This translation is from David Hurst, Forty Gospel Homilies (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian, 1990).  His feast is celebrated on March 12.


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