A Quiet Miracle – Ignatian Spirituality

Seeds on water - evoke a quiet moment - Photo by Evgenia Basyrova of Pexels

“May you take the time to celebrate the silent miracles that don’t seek attention.” —John O’Donohue

I recently attended the fourth week of St. Ignatius started. One of my first tasks was to spend some time reflecting on how Mary met Jesus after the resurrection. The fruits of this unique prayer experience took my breath away.

This meeting was not recorded in the Gospels. However, one of the graces of Ignatian contemplation is that it gives us the tools to ponder the “what if”. For example, what if this meeting of Mary and Jesus, which was not recorded, takes place anyway? What if it wasn’t intentionally documented? What if we don’t read about it because it was one of those silent miracles that don’t seek attention? What if it was the kind of miracle the evidence of which resides only in the depths of our hearts?

When I let my imagination run wild, it seems obvious that Jesus would visit his mother sometime after his resurrection. Maybe it was even the first thing he did. It seems obvious to me that he would do it in silence, out of sight of anyone who might want to document it later. I can imagine that Jesus would wish that this was a precious moment that he only shares with his mother. When I picture this scene, my heart realizes that this was a silent miracle reserved only for her.

For me, Jesus’ encounter with Mary was like every time God whispered to us instead of screaming. It’s like the appearance of God, not in the wind, in the fire, and in the great earthquakes (those great spectacles, of course, that anyone can see for miles), but in a tiny whisper that penetrates a pair of ears on a quiet night. (1 Kings 19: 11-12)

When I first tried to imagine Jesus meeting Mary after the resurrection, I thought: If I were Mary, I would be at the grave. I would see if God made something wonderful out of this terrible event. Where was she? However, after further thought, I think I would be home instead. I would miss my son, but I would also throw myself into work and try to keep the faith the angel asked of me from the first moment I said “yes”.

While working around the house, I also struggled to convince myself that everything was real, that my son was God, and that I was chosen for this pain. I would wonder if God would send me a sign to make the grief wear off or go away. I would look for the fire out my window. I would check my house frame for the reverberations of the earthquake. I would be so focused on looking for the great miracle that I would probably miss my son casually walking in the door as if he was coming to Sunday dinner. I would almost miss his gentle touch on my shoulder, a bouquet of flowers picked from the garden in his hand.

I would almost miss the silent miracle in the loud wake of my grief.

Perhaps this is how I imagine it to be because I want to believe with all my heart in the silent miracles, the holes in the gospel stories that remind me that not everything God does is for public consumption. If I can believe that Jesus met Mary in a quiet moment after his resurrection, then I can believe that Jesus wants to meet me in the most ordinary moments too.

I can keep my ears open to the low whisper on a quiet night that says, “I’m here.”

Photo by Evgenia Basyrova from Pexels.

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