"Mary was witness to whole paschal mystery"


Please see: ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2bvm51.htm

I post this here because I posited a question to the Protestants in the Non-Catholic Folder and I got reemed, I feel, by my fellow Catholics, which made me wonder, if this WAS/IS a tradition or more of a theory.

Has anybody here ever heard this prior to PJPII? Would this also not be one of the things Our BVM told St. Luke when he interviewed Her?

I was under the assumption that this was a tradition, but, I’ll stop propositioning it as such if it’s merely the theory of the Pope who got to be who he was because of his dedication to the Queen of Heaven.

Thank you for all who answer.


Hi adstrinity.
There are a few other sites posting that same “Mary First Witness of the Resurrection”, by Pope John Paul II, such as this one :

You really made me lol with your choice of word “reemed.” I know exactly what you’re talking about; I thought another good label for it might be “catholic swarming.” :slight_smile:

One would think that other saints must have thought this way as well. Maybe another member(s) knows of some. I can only share my personal view (hope I don’t get reemed) with you. Certain things can be gleaned by reading between the lines:

The gospels say the tomb was already empty when the stone was rolled away. So where was Jesus…?..not among the dead proclaiming salvation, because the Creed says that chronologically “He was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again…” ; so that part had already been accomplished.

He wasn’t in Heaven, because He said to Mary Magdalen, “Do not keep clinging to me for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”

The only logical answer was that He’d gone to be with his Mother. None of the other followers had faith in the resurrection at that point (or if they did it was imperfect). Even St. John - the beloved disciple believed **after **he had looked in the tomb.

St. John stopped when he arrived at the tomb to wait for St. Peter to catch up with him and enter first, thus acknowledging the primacy of Peter. Certainly then Jesus who is God would recognize the primacy of his Mother… of the Immaculate Heart that yearned to see its Son and Risen Lord like no other heart could yearn.

Just as Our Blessed Mother was the only human with an ineffable love for both her Son and her God, so She was the only one with an unshakeable faith in Him and what He promised. Everyone else thought he was dead.

St. Augustine says, " Faith is belief in those things we do not see, but the reward of our faith is that we shall see everything we believed."

Mary was to be a silent witness to the resurrection - the first witness, but a silent one. To those who get all up in arms (reemers) about the plausibility of our Resurrected Lord appearing first to His gentle Mother, one could well ask the question:

Well, if not first, then when; if at all ?


I loved your post, NeedImprovement. Absolutely loved it!! You’ve added to my Rosary reflections. Thank you.

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You beat me to it. A great post indeed.


I’d never heard of this before, but I suppose it makes sense.

Does Scripture not call Mary Magdalene the first to witness the Risen Christ? Or does it only call her the first to preach the Gospel?

…or is it neither…LoL.


@ maurin & @ I Believe: Thanks … I must’ve had some help on that one.

I think it’s unfortunate what adstrinity had to go through beforehand; I haven’t read the posts, but I know several people who’ve left CAF after they had been the object of similar incidents.

It’s the feast of St. Padre Pio today…managed to attend a Mass this morning celebrating his memorial. What an awesome saint !


I think this is merely a theory, or even just a thought or reflection. There is nothing wrong with believing Jesus appeared to Mary, but there is nothing in the Gospels to support it and there does not seem to be a strong tradition of the belief in the early Church. I can’t say I agree that the only logical conclusion of what Jesus was doing before speaking to Mary Magdalene was speaking to His mother. Apart from divine revelation (and I don’t think JPII or anyone is claiming that), I don’t know how we can know one way or the other.

The Gospels say very little about the actions of the Blessed Virgin either during Christ’s earthly ministry or after His resurrection. I assume she was active in the early Church, but like many others her deeds are not specifically recorded. But we don’t know that, and we don’t know whether she saw the Risen Christ before her assumption.


I’m starting “St. Pio” bread in his honor tonight.:slight_smile:


We do know that Christ had 30 years in her home before His ministry began. I think she knew exactly how things were going to be for her Son. I think he told her everything about the paschal mystery during those hidden years. Regardless of whether or not He appeared first to her, she understood everything that was going to happen during the passion and resurrection very well.

Edited to add: It’s because of her modesty that we have so little account of what all Mary actually did during her life in the Gospels.


Working strictly from the Gospels, I agree TMC. St. Mary Magdalene was the first public witness of the Resurrection. Again, you’re right:Perhaps logical wasn’t the best word. I might change that to “there’s no other reasonable explanation”…because no one has ever offered one. They simply attempt to refute this one without having anything plausible to offer in its place…That is called arguing without a sense of conviction. {I’m saying in general…no intended reference to you, bro’ TMC}

To simply leave whether Jesus appeared to his Mother after the Resurrection unadressed seems incomplete. And to call into question whether He appeared to Her every time someone thinks He did, is to inadvertently imply that it is not permitted for Catholics (or whomever) to believe or think that Jesus appeared to His Mother after the Resurrection…I don’t understand what would be the purpose of that. As Pope John Paul II has said, it is okay to think this way. This is not contrary to the faith. He believes that’s how it happened.

People with a devotion to the Blessed Mother usually don’t have a problem with that particular aspect. If one stays penned up solely within the sphere of factual calculations one might also end up thinking the Blessed Mother never told St. Joseph she was with child simply because the Gospel doesn’t say she told him.

To believe (or wish to believe) that Jesus appeared to his Mother after the Resurrection is to meditate on the sorrows of Mary; to be open to the passage of Luke chapter 2 where at the Presentation in the temple, Simeon tells our Blessed Mother:
"…And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed."

Here are some excerpts about that sword of sorrows from St. Alphonse Liguori’s THE GLORIES OF MARY:
*][pg 130] The Blessed Virgin revealed to St. Bridget that, as the time of Our Lord’s Passion approached, her eyes continually filled with tears whenever she thought of losing her Jesus. She described how a cold sweat covered her whole body as a result of the fear that seized her whenever she thought of her approaching sufferings

*][pg 131] Mary did not faint when she met her Son on the way to Calvary. It was not becoming, as Father Suarez remarks, for Christ’s Mother to lose use of her reason. Nor did she die, for God was reserving for her still greater grief. She did not die, but she was nevertheless obliged to suffer sorrow sufficient to cause a thousand deaths.

*][pg 136] Our Blessed Lady told St. Bridget: " I heard some say that my Son was a thief; others, that He was an impostor; others, that no one deserved death more than He did; and every word was a new sword of grief to my heart."

*][pgs 136,137] But what caused her the greatest pain was to see that by her presence and her sorrow she was increasing the suffering of her Son. " The grief which filled Mary’s heart," says St. Bernard,“flowed like a torrent into the heart of Jesus and aggravated His martyrdom to such an extent that on the cross Jesus suffered more from compassion for His Mother than from His own torments.”…And then speaking of Mary beside her dying Son, he says: " She stood there dying, without being able to die."

*][pg 145] According to St. Fulgentius, the Blessed Virgin ardently desired “to bury her soul with the body of Christ.” And Mary revealed in a vision to St. Bridget: " I can truly say that when my Son was buried, there were two hearts laid in one tomb."

That one book alone is full of many more similar examples.But the intent here, is to illustrate that this wound to Our Blessed Mother’s soul, was so deep, so grave, so devastating … that only Jesus could heal it - nobody else. I believe He healed it in person…

St. Mary Magdalen was permitted the joy of seeing her Risen Lord…of touching him again, of speaking with him again, of embracing him again, of having her tears of sorrow turn to tears of joy.

Are there people who really think that Jesus would deny His dear Mother those very same things ? No one was more intimately united to Our Lord Jesus in His birth, and no one was more intimately united to our Lord Jesus in His death. So how can people think that Our Lady of Sorrows ,the Mediatrix of all Graces, Jesus’ own dear Mother, would not be the most intimately united to Him in His Resurrection ?


Why speculate on something that is neither scripture nor tradition based and consequently nobody has the answer to?


Scripture tells us Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the Resurrection, while Tradition tells us Mary the Mother of Jesus was the first to see Jesus risen from the dead. So while Mary the Mother of Jesus was the first to see her Son risen to glory, it is Mary Magdalene who was the first to witness to Jesus risen to glory. The difference is in seeing and witnessing.


the clouds opened up
and the rain came down
the water and the blood
ran across the ground
a mother bears the pain
of her worst fear
but you couldn’t see the rain for her tears
no you couldn’t see the rain for her tears


One of the events recounted in the Gospel which never seems too far from my mind is the story of the widow of Naim,
From Luke 7: 11- 15

Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep."
He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Several homilies I’ve heard, and also read, maintain that Jesus resurrected the son because He could see his Mother in the widow.

It is also interesting to note that Father René Laurentin, one of the world’s foremost mariologists, also contends that our Blessed Mother witnessed the events of the Resurrection of her Son.


The faith of the entire Church was carried in the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary alone from Christ’s death to His Resurrection. She is the living vigil lamp of the First Altar of Repose … the bright, steady, unwavering flame.



Posting this here because I found it now. Apparently, this DOES go back through the centuries.


Let me add to the chorus - this was fantastic.

All the times I’ve read/heard the Gospel accounts and yet this never occurred to me!


The fact that the Gospels do not speak directly of Christ visiting His Mother immediately after the Resurrection should not phase us in the least.

Even as Catholics, I think we may sometimes forget that the Bible is not the cornerstone of the faith - the Church is. (The “pillar and foundation of all Truth” - Tim 3:13.)

The Church came first, and produced the written Scriptures, which, of course, were not completely standardized and accepted as a single canon for centuries.

Tradition stands on equal footing with Scripture as part of the deposit of faith. Everybody here knows that, but I think we may sometimes be subtly influenced to believe otherwise to some extent, that the written Scriptures take perhaps some slight precedence. I think I have been, through conversations and debate with Protestants, who are so completely convinced that what is written and only what is written carries authority, and that anything else is totally without weight or merit.

So, it doesn’t bother me in the least that the Gospels don’t speak of this. They tell us directly that they don’t speak of a great many things that Christ said and did.


Okay, all you kind people…let’s set the record straight…You’re too kind; really !

It’s time to let everyone in on a little secret (and you’re sure to get a smile out of it too). The only reason it ever "occurred to me" is because of an erroneous notion I held about the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection. I thought Jesus burst forth from the tomb and knocked the stone back and the guards with it …honestly:o .

Then , about , I don’t know, between 12 and 14 years ago I mentioned this in passing to an elderly volunteer I was working with at the time. I said, “Well, when Jesus burst forth from the tomb, and blew back the stone…” and she stopped me right there, and said, “What?” So I repeated myself. This dear, patient soul replied, “Oh, … I don’t think that’s how it happened. Where did you read that?” “In the Gospels”, I replied. “Are you sure?”, she asked. “Pretty sure”, I said. She asked me if I would re-read the Gospels when I got home so I could tell her the exact location the next time we met.

So I did…Guess what…?..no bursting forth and taking out the stone and the guards all in one fell swoop…Nowhere - not Matthew; not Mark; not Luke; not John:nope:

I just happened to have a fresh-baked humble pie heating up in the oven ; so I ate the whole thing immediately and then proceeded to get a second one from the freezer and start thawing it out because it looked like I wasn’t finished yet…(biiiiig mistake!!)

What irked me the most was that I read my bible frequently and couldn’t understand how I’d come up , all on my own, with this notion of bursting out of the tomb physically with tank force. I was beginning to think all my screws weren’t torqued down to specifications.

So you can appreciate how this scrutiny of all four Gospel accounts of the Resurrection became entrenched in my mind so I wouldn’t ever make a mistake like that again. That’s where my post came from … making a dumb mistake years earlier.

Here comes the best part:

A few weeks after gorging myself on humble pie, while I was again reading my same New American Bible, I was flipping through some of the beautiful artwork included between the Gospel pages, when I came across ( between, an image lablled THE BURIAL OF JESUS, and another labelled DOUBTING THOMAS) an image entitled THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. I’m no expert in pic posting, but I scanned this image - the very same one, out of my NAB so you could all see where I originally got that notion of physical “tank force” Resurrection - from a picture in my New American Bible - have a look:

I might add that if I ever meet the artist who made that image and/or the person responsible for having it inserted between the gospel pages of my NAB, while not desiring that a whole legion of holy Angels come down to give him/her a spiritual spanking, I’d at least ask their guardian Angel to give 'em a little kick in the butt for lack of precision


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