“Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” For some reason or other, Mary Magdalene woke up very early and went to the tomb of Jesus. The scriptures do not record for us the reason why she got up so early. Was it her custom to do so, or was it because of her grief at the loss of her “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher?
Contemplative monks and nuns rise very early, while it is still dark, to sing God’s praises. Were they not, perhaps, inspired to some degree by Mary Magdalene’s example? Whatever her reasons were, Mary Magdalene was given a great and special reward for seeking Jesus so early in the morning: she learned the good news of the resurrection before any of the apostles, she saw Jesus Christ in his resurrected state, and she was filled with the joy of Easter Sunday. In my opinion, St. Ignatius Loyola was also influenced by Mary Magdalene’s example, which is why he put various guidelines for sleeping in his Spiritual Exercises. One’s manner of sleeping and waking are important to the life of prayer.