A Quiet Miracle

seeds on water - evoking quiet moment - photo by Evgenia Basyrova from Pexels

“May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.” —John O’Donohue

I recently began the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. One of my first assignments was to spend some time contemplating Mary meeting Jesus after the Resurrection. The fruits that came from that unique prayer experience took my breath away.

This meeting was not recorded in the Gospels. One of the graces of Ignatian contemplation, however, is that it gives us the tools to consider the “what ifs.” For example, what if this meeting of Mary and Jesus that wasn’t recorded still happened? What if it wasn’t documented on purpose? What if we don’t get to read about it because it was one of the quiet miracles, the kind that seeks no attention? What if it were the type of miracle where the evidence of it lies only in the deep recesses of our hearts?

If I let my imagination go there, it seems obvious that Jesus would visit his mom at some point after his Resurrection. It might even have been the first thing he did. It seems obvious to me that he would do it quietly, out of sight of anyone who would want to document it later. I imagine Jesus would desire this to be a precious moment shared only with his mom. When I picture this scene, my heart recognizes that this was a quiet miracle reserved just for her.

To me, Jesus meeting Mary was like any time God whispers to us instead of shouting. It’s like the appearance of God, not in the wind, the fire, and the great earthquakes (those naturally big spectacles that everyone can see for miles around) but in a tiny whisper entering one set 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’d be at the tomb. I’d be looking to see if God made something miraculous out of this terrible event. Where was she? Upon further reflection, however, I think I would be home instead. I’d be missing my son, but I’d also be throwing myself into work and trying to keep that bit of faith the angel asked me to have from the first moment I said “Yes.”

As I worked around the house, I would also be struggling to convince myself that it was all real, that my Son was God, and I was chosen for this pain. I’d be wondering if God would send me a sign to make the grief lessen or go away. I’d be looking out my window for the fire. I’d be checking my house frame for the reverberations of the earthquake. I’d be so focused on looking for the big miracle that I’d probably miss my son walking in the door casually as if he were coming over for Sunday dinner. I’d almost miss his gentle touch on my shoulder, a bouquet of flowers picked from the yard in his hand.

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

Maybe I imagine it this way because I want to believe wholeheartedly in the quiet 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 too, in the most ordinary of moments.

I can leave my ears open for the tiny whisper on a quiet night that says, “I am here.”

Photo by Evgenia Basyrova from Pexels.

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Gretchen Crowder
Gretchen Crowder has served as a campus minister and Ignatian educator for the Jesuit Dallas community for the last 15 years. She is also a freelance writer and speaker and is the host of Loved As You Are: An Ignatian Podcast. She has a B.S. in mathematics and a M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame as well as an M.T.S. from the University of Dallas. She resides in Dallas, TX, with her husband, three boys, and an ever-growing number of pets.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Having my son unexpectedly die at age 45 two years ago and one year after my husband’s passing just brought back the memories of the love we shared and continued to share beyond the grave in the land of ongoing grief. Thank you Gretchen for a beautiful piece with such meaning- of course it happened!

  2. Thank you Gretchen, that was so beautiful and very believable. On thinking about it i imagine Mary would be the FIRST person He would visit. I as did some others , cry as I read it. May God Bless you and keep you safe & well. A.M.D.G.

  3. Thank you for sharing a very emotional encounter. I had tears as I read your words. This is one of the most profound meditations I have done in my years with Ignatian Spirituality. Yes, Jesus would bring flowers to his mother, a gentle token of the loving bond between them. Mary was there as he died. I’m sure she was expecting his return as he said. This is a keeper. I am printing to reread often to place myself in the moment.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful piece,Gretchen. I thought back to the quiet moments when I waited for my 19 year old son to come from work late in the evening. We would sit and spend a few minutes together sharing a a bit about our day. Thank you for bringing this time back to me.

  5. Gretchen: I never thought of the mother-son relationship following His resurrection. “The flowers He picked in the garden…” got to me. I remember the bouquets of “nature’s flowers” my adult sons picked for me many years ago. Thank you for a beautiful reminder of the strength of quiet.

  6. Oh my gosh Gretchen you have wrote a piece that is what?Your opus? This is a keeper. I’m going to print it out and save it. It is so special. The first lines made my soul leap. Very , very, very good piece. Now where is my tissues to wipe the tears.

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