Thought for the Day – 22 July – Feast of St Mary of Magdala
Noli me tangere (‘Touch me not’)
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Our Lord says to St Mary Magdalene – “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father” (John 20:17) here the question arises …. Why might not our Lord be touched before His ascension and how could He be touched after it?
But Christ speaks, it would seem, thus …
‘Hitherto, you have only known Me after the flesh . I have lived among you as a man. You have been permitted to approach Me sensibly, to kiss and embrace My feet, to pour ointment upon My head. But all this is at an end, now that I have died and risen again in the power of the Spirit. A glorified state of existence is begun in Me and will soon be perfected … When I am ascended, then the change will be completed. To pass hence to the Father in My bodily presence, is to descend from the Father to you in spirit. When I am thus changed, when I am thus present to you, more really present than now though invisibly, then you may touch Me – may touch Me, more really though invisibly, by faith, in reverence, through such outward approaches as I shall assign. Now you but see Me from time to time, when you see most of Me, I am at best but ‘going in and out among you.’ Thou hast seen Me, Mary but could not hold Me; though hast approached Me but only to embrace My feet, or to be touched by My hand and you say, ‘O that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat! O that I might hold Him and not let Him go!’
Henceforth, this shall be – when I am ascended, thou shall see nothing, thou shall have everything. Thou shall ‘sit down under My shadow with great delight and My fruit shall be sweet to thy taste.’ Thou shall have Me whole and entire. I shall be near thee, I shall be in thee, I will come into thy heart a whole Saviour, a whole Christ, – in all My fullness as God and man – in the awful virtue of that Body and Blood, which has been taken into the Divine person of the Word and is indivisible from it and has atoned for the sins of the world – not by external contact, not by partial possession, not in momentary approaches, not by barren manifestation but inward in presence and intimate in fruition, a principle of life and a seed of immortality, that thou may ‘bring forth fruit into God.“
By Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Let me ever hold communion with You,
my hidden but living God.
You are my innermost heart.
You are the life of my life.
Every breath I breathe,
every thought of my mind,
every good desire of my heart,
is from the presence
within me of the unseen God.
…I see You, not in the material world
but I recognise Your voice
in my intimate consciousness.
I turn around and say
O be ever thus with me
and if I am tempted to leave You,
do not You,
O my God,