Mary Magdalene was the first to recognize that Jesus was risen and she rushed to tell the disciples who were fearfully isolated in the upper room. “I have seen the Lord!” she proclaimed. Initially incredulous, they too began to experience that Jesus was alive.
As a result of the French Revolution the people of the countryside of France were locked in their ignorance of their faith. Eugene de Mazenod had recognized the presence of the Risen Jesus in his life, and he dedicated his life to proclaiming “I have seen the Lord!” to those who were the most needy of coming to know the Risen Lord.
Inviting others to enter into his life of proclamation, he founded the Missionary Oblates, and insisted that their time be divided between “seeing the Lord” in prayer, reading and reflection and the proclamation, “I have seen the Lord!” whom they had encountered in this way:
The Missionaries will divide their group in such a way that while some strive in community to acquire the virtues and knowledge proper to a good missionary, others are travelling in the rural areas proclaiming the Word of God.
When their apostolic journeys are over, they will return to the community to rest from their labours by exercising a ministry that is less demanding, and to prepare themselves through meditation and study for a more fruitful ministry when next called upon to undertake new work.
Request to the Capitular Vicars of Aix, 25 January 1816, EO XIII n.2
In these days when so many of us are in isolation, let us use this time in a similar way so that each day we too can proclaim “I have seen the Lord! He is risen and alive for me!”