Pope Pius XI, the Holy Father who first received Lucia's Fatima message, once lamented: "Well, I'm the Vicar of Christ. I somehow thought that if Christ wanted me to know something, He would simply tell me."
As we listen to the Gospel readings for Easter, we realize that this is not necessarily the case. Rather, Christ did not initially manifest His resurrected glory to Peter the first Pope. Christ instead chose the lowly, penitent, and the devoted woman of Divine Mercy, Mary Magdalene, to be His emissary to the first Pope. Christ showed Himself to Mary Magdalene whom He then instructed, to "Go and tell Peter."
We find here at the summit of salvation history, the pattern by which Christ shall rule - through Peter but guided by the voices of little women. The question, then, is, "Will Peter listen?" Will he listen to the humble women and run out to find the glorified Christ?
- Think of St Catherine of Sienna who told the Pope to leave Avignon, France and return to the rightful Rome. The Pope obeyed the little nun.
- Recall the Augustinian nun Juliana of Liège through whom Christ asked the Pope to institute the feast of Corpus Christi.
- Think of St Margaret Mary Alacoque through Whom the Pope approved and spread devotion to to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
- Think of Saint Catherine Labouré who received the vision of the Miraculous Medal in 1830, which then lead to the popularization of the Immaculate Conception and to dogmatization of this teaching by Pius IX.
- We can remember Saint Faustina and her appeals that Divine Mercy be recognized by the universal Church - that even a papally sanctioned feast of Divine Mercy be established on the Sunday after Easter.
- Recall little Lucia of Fatima who for decades unsuccessfully asked the Holy Fathers and the bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart.
Again and again, we find the pattern set down by Christ and Mary Magdalene. A lowly woman comes to Peter and says something nearly unbelievable: "We have seen the Lord...He says..."
I can't help but wonder, and this is pure speculation, that at the end of time, Christ will again chose some lowly woman with one final request to the world's last Pope. It seems fitting that it should end that way. That when all seems lost and the Church suffers so terribly, that then the mysterious drama of Easter morning might be somehow reenacted before Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. A lowly woman might bring glad tidings to Peter one last time.
Happy Easter to all.
St Mary Magdalene and St Peter, pray for us!