The Appearing Of The Risen Christ To His Mother!
Negro-African Reading of the Ignatian Text
“It is to you that we speak, Muntu woman, who aspires with reason to be mother, only wife, and full citizen in the social, economic and political life, preponderant person of our civilization, minister of the circulation of blood and basic culture – the language we speak does
Isn’t it called mother tongue? »(MzEE MUNZIHIRWA).
The Gospels do not relate an apparition of Jesus Christ to Mary, his Mother. However, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and author of the Spiritual Exercises, offers retreatants an exercise in contemplation of the encounter of the Risen One with his blessed Mother! This reflection focuses on the supposed “apparition to Notre Dame” [E.S., 218-225; 299], it is a question of reading this Ignatian contemplation with the Negro-African cultural background to judge its relevance and its meaning with arguments specific to black Africa. For, according to the wisdom of Ignatian spirituality, the Exercises are presented, received and done “differently” according to the times, the people and the situations, since there is not an experience, even spiritual, which is not conditioned by the context (historical, political, cultural, etc.).
1. The Ignatian text
After having had the whole life of Jesus meditated from his birth until his death, Ignatius of Loyola suggests that the exerciser also contemplate the Risen Christ. Taking away from the testimonies written and reported in the New Testament, the first appearance of the Risen Christ, according to the Spiritual Exercises, was reserved for the Virgin Mary. Here is the text of the ES:
2181 The first contemplation: how Christ Our Lord appeared to Our Lady (299)
2 The usual preparatory prayer.
2191 The first preamble is history. This is how, after Christ had expired on the cross and the body remained separate from the soul, the divinity being always united to it, the blessed soul descended into hell, united likewise to the Godhead; 2 and, after having drawn from there the righteous souls and having come to the sepulcher, risen, he appeared in body and soul to his blessed mother.
220. The second: a composition representing the place; it will be here to see the arrangement of the holy sepulcher and the place or the house of Our Lady, looking at each part, one by one, such as the bedroom, the oratory, etc.
221. The third: ask for what I want. It will be, here, to ask for the grace to experience intensely joy and
joy of the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord.
222. The first, second and third points will be the same as usual, the ones we had for the Last Supper
of Christ our Lord.
223. The fourth: to consider how the divinity, which seemed to hide in the Passion, now appears and shows itself so miraculously in the Most Holy Resurrection, through the true and most holy effects thereof.
224. The fifth: look at the office of consolation which Christ our Lord comes to exercise and compare it to the way in which friends are in the habit of consoling one another.
225. End with a colloquium or colloquiums, depending on the subject proposed, then a Pater noster [E.S., 218-225].
This is a beautiful spiritual intuition that Ignatius offers – following therefore his inspirers – in the form of an affirmation of faith: the Risen Jesus Christ has shown himself to several people, the first of whom was his mother. blessed [ES, 219],
However, it raises some questions: Did the risen Jesus really appear to Mary? In other words, is the idea sustainable, with what arguments? Why should the resurrected Jesus show himself to his Mother in the first place? How to support the veracity or better the possibility of such an appearance from black African anthropological and cultural elements?
2. A Negro-African reading of the Ignatian text To grasp the meaning of this appearance as well as the arguments that could support it, we question the role of women in traditional African societies and the relationship of women with their children in the Negro-African. “Traditional African society, despite the abuses inherent in all civilization, was designed to give women her value, taking into account the sociological environment in which she found herself.” Like any woman, but with her own cultural and emotional focus, she was a wife and mother, and as such, she played an important role in the society in which she enjoyed special consideration. In the Negro-African universe, woman is first and foremost wife and mother. at. Black woman, wife
The first identity (wife) puts her in particular relation, on the one hand, with her husband, her household and, on the other hand, with society. As a wife the black woman fulfills different tasks in the household. Indeed, even today, in several African countries, families live on the effort and resourcefulness of women, wife and mother. Depending on the context, she cultivates, sells, searches, works, etc.
The African woman, yesterday and today, is still the one who sustains society – culturally, economically, religiously, etc. -, it guarantees its survival and future. “We are women, we are much more than part of the population, we are responsible for the population of today but also of the population of tomorrow; the future of our nations rests in our hands, ”it was rightly said to African interns staying in Israel. The Jesuit bishop Christophe Munzihirwa, summed up this first identity and function of women in Negro-African culture very well: “She is both the main factor of stability and the pillar of social life. A born educator, it is through her rather than through the man that customs and traditions are transmitted: To educate a man, it has been said, is to educate an individual, but to educate a woman, it is to educate a man. people ”. Since she gives life, supports it throughout its development in society, she is a Mother. We are going to deepen the meaning of this relationship which particularly binds her to her children.
b. Black woman, mother
In Africa, women are not only wives. She is also a mother. Africa values this irreplaceable quality of women. Even a young woman who is not yet of childbearing age is sometimes called a “mother-mother” to give her the respect due to the woman-mother. “In Africa, noted Munzihirwa again, it is neither profitability, nor work, nor love, nor fortune, nor social rank, which gave true value to women, but it is motherhood” . Although every woman is considered in particular because of her natural motherhood – potentially a mother, even without having given birth – for “the peoples of black Africa, observes Marcel Matungulu, the fact of not having offspring is a great humiliation, a misfortune that neither material wealth nor moral qualities can compensate ”. This is why even a couple who do not have children very often end up separating. Indeed, adds Munzihirwa, “in ancestral Africa, the sterile woman is only tolerated, and even the celibate life was not, in our conception, justifiable. The woman is rich in humanity because she is admirably fulfilled by her motherhood and admirably balanced by her sense of hospitality “.
In the Negro-African universe, therefore, woman is mother. One of the missions she received from God would be to get married and have children. Carrier of life, she is the mother of all men (homo not vir). It is because God did not want to be visible everywhere that he created mothers to take care of children, thinks the Negro. We have yet to find more adequate words than those of the Guinean poet novelist Camara Laye (1928-1980) to express the secret of the relationship of the black child with his mother.
vs. Black child and his mother, emotional bond
The relationship between mother and child begins during gestation. Deep emotional complicity is inexplicable with rational arguments. Every black child, even when he is an adult, can still be found in the famous poem that we want to analyze.
1. To my Mother
Black woman, African woman O you, my mother, I think of you … O Daman, O my mother,
2.you who carried me on my back, you who nursed me, you who governed my
first steps, you who first opened my eyes to the wonders of the earth, I think of you…
3. Woman of the field, woman of the rivers, woman of the great river, O you, my mother, I think of you …
4. O you Daman, O my mother, you who wiped my tears, you who delighted my heart, you who patiently endured my whims,
5. how I would still like to be near you, to be a child near you, to be a child near you! Simple woman, woman of resignation, O you, my mother, I think of you …
6. O Dâman, Dâman of the great blacksmith family, my thoughts always turn to you,yours accompanies me at every step,O Dâman, my mother, how I would still like to be in your warmth,to be a child near you …
7. Black woman, African woman, O you, my mother, thank you,thank you for everything you did for me, your son, so far away, so close to you!
1. The affectionately calling her “dama (mother)” already evokes the nine months between conception and birth. Period during which the child is carried and when its subsistence is intrinsically linked to its mother.
2. “You who carried me on my back” recalls the affection and the close closeness between a mother and her child. The black woman carries the child on her back while she goes about her multiple occupations (housework, etc.) for the survival of the household.
3 and 6. In order for the life she gives to blossom, the mother continues to nourish her with her milk but also through the many labors that fill her daily life: “woman of the fields, woman of the rivers”, woman of the markets , office woman, (etc.); we could now extend the list following the panorama of female resourcefulness in Africa.
4. However, the child may experience dissatisfaction with his growth. He can also show whims. To express his discontent, his language is often that of tears. The black child remembers, it is the mother that we turn to again and again. She is the one who wipes away tears, consoles and endures the whims of a growing life.
5 and 7. “How I would still like to be near you. Be in the heat, child near you “: Such a genuine remembrance can only lead to the recognition and respect that some express with this simple but significant word: Thank you! “Thank you for everything you did for me.”
However, despite these eloquent words from the poet novelist in which each black child, girl or boy, – even when they become adults – recognizes themselves, it remains difficult to adequately express the deep feeling that stems from the complicity of the child and his Mother in particular. in the Negro-African universe. Isn’t this one of the reasons why black children always reserve a special place in life for their mother?
3. From African anthropology to Christian spiritual theology: Mary mother and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ From this cultural, anthropological approach, which scrutinizes the secret of the child’s relationship with his mother, the Negro-African reverses the “analogy”. That is to say, from his experience with his mother, the black child, even having become a Christian, can understand that Jesus should, no doubt, show himself to his Mother in the first place. By putting himself in the shoes of Jesus, with his same feelings (Phil 2,5), the Negro-African readily admits the possibility of such an encounter. This would even be obvious.In fact, the life and activity of Jesus were linked to the life of Mary. She was both the Mother who begot Jesus (Mt 13,55) and her most faithful disciple. Like Mother, Mary had, for example, gone into exile to protect the life of the newborn (Mt 2,1-19). And when he was twelve years old, the mother suffered from the disappearance of the child in the Temple (Lk 2,42-52). She anticipated the Hour of Jesus at the wedding feast in Cana (Jn 2,1-11). And, always as a mother but at the same time as a disciple, Mary was present at the Accomplished Hour of Jesus when, from the height of his cross, Jesus entrusted her to his disciples of all ages: “Here is your mother” (Jn 19, 25-27). Mary, the discipline was following her Son until the passion. In prayer with the community of disciples she waited for the Spirit who opened the Church to the proclamation of the Good News (Acts 1,14).
However, the Scriptures do not record an apparition of Christ to Mary. They present the apparitions starting with the visit of the women to the tomb and the meeting of the angel who announced the resurrection to them. Then there is the face to face with the Risen One who made them the first messengers of this good news (Mt 28,9-10; Mk 16,6). Paul thinks that he first appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, etc. (1 Co 15.5). In any case, Peter appears as the standard for the confirmation of the reality of the apparition and therefore of the resurrection (Lk 34:34; Jn 20,2).
Starting from this “silence of the Scriptures” and meditating on the life of Jesus, Ignatius of Loyola deduced that there would be an apparition of the risen Jesus to his blessed Mother. He takes care to justify this interpretation of the sacred text: “He appeared to the Virgin Mary; which, although not said in Scripture, is taken to be said, since it is said that he appeared to so many others. For the scripture assumes that we have understanding, as it is written: Are you also without understanding? (Mt 15,16) ”[E.S. 299], In other words, even if they do not relate an apparition of Christ to Mary, the Scriptures warn that they do not relate everything that Jesus said, did and lived (cf. Jn 21). This allows us to understand that the reader and the listener of the Word have the intelligence to imagine and establish the connections between the revealed facts, of the mysteries of the life of Jesus (Mt 15,16). As we know, his Spiritual Exercises often invite the retreatant to use the imagination to compose places, to contemplate people: what they say, do and live, etc. It is a question here of a good application of the faculties of the soul (intelligence, memory and will) on the sacred text.
Western theologians justify the “omission” of such an appearance from the Scriptures. They explain the “silence” of the sacred texts, (or their implicit allusion) without clearly stating why we must believe that the risen Jesus would have appeared in the first place to the Virgin Mary! Theologians have done well in establishing a link between the various mysteries of the life of Christ. They start, like Ignatius moreover, from the “silence of the Scriptures” to deduce that there would be an apparition of the risen Jesus to his blessed Mother. This is why this line of argument deserves to be supplemented by the one we are proposing.
While Ignatius, and after him many Western authors, defends his interpretation of Scripture with mainly rational and deductive reasoning, from a Negro-African perspective, the sustainable argument on this appearance would be more of the affective type. (the complicity, the secret of the mother and child relationship) and the adequate process is induction. If the former have often solved the dilemma by answering the question: “Why does the writing not relate the apparition to Mary?” “, We will ask, for our part, the question differently:” why should Jesus “necessarily” appear in the first place to Mary?”
In other words, we must consider all the anthropological weight of the mother and child relationship to conclude, on the one hand, that such a child could not fail to visit his Mother and, on the other hand, such a meeting. was to be the first of all.
It is thus clear from the experience of the black child and, by an “inverted analogy”, it could be thus for the Son of Mary resurrected after passion and death. Certainly, the Scriptures and Tradition do not explicitly say that Jesus appeared to the Virgin Mary and reflections have been carried out in particular in the West to understand this silence. At the end of our reflective journey, we wish to strongly reaffirm the Ignatian intuition with the Negro-African approach: if Jesus, Son of God, is truly the son of Mary, he should only appear first to Mary because she is his Mother (his mother)!
It is true that, as Santiago Arzubialde noted, the apparition to Mary is among the questions of faith which can create confusion if it is approached a-critically since it confronts the field proper to exegesis with that piety or devotion. But it deserved to be studied because of the prominent place Ignatius of Loyola reserved for it in the dynamics of the Fourth Exercise Week.
Our study wanted that through the Ignatian exercise – read, experienced and lived in the African way – the person who commits to the experience of the Spiritual Exercises comes to grasp the truth of Ignatian spiritual intuition from there. ‘experience of the black child with his mother’. In the concrete case of the apparition which concerns us, we have brought out certain elements of Negro-African culture for a good understanding of this contemplation. It follows that the Negro-African culture and, therefore also, the faith of the African, even who has become a Christian, admits, without difficulty, this extra-biblical spiritual intuition. If the Child of Mary showed Himself to others, He had certainly shown Himself to His Mother, one might say, according to Negro-African wisdom. It does not matter then what the Mother and the Son said to each other!
May it please God that the respect and consideration that “the Black Child” reserves for “his Mother” should also be accorded to “every woman”. Because they are all Mothers or potentially Mothers.
(Ref: Telema, Review of Christian reflection and creativity in Africa, pp. 10 – 19)
Cf. Mzee Munzihirwa, « Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme », 361.
Cf. I. de Loyola, Exercices Spirituels (E. Gueydan, trad.), Paris, DBB, 1987, [218-225 ; 299]. Désormais [E.S.].Nous sommes conscients qu’à Père de l’interculturalité, il est malaisé de parler d’une « culture africaine ». La même difficulté se présente aussi lorsqu’on parle de la « femme africaine », car celle des villes n’a plus les mêmes habitudes que celle des milieux ruraux ou enclavés. Cette difficulté méthodologique ne nous empêche pas de réfléchir sur ce qui demeure, se recoupe d’une partie de l’Afrique à une autre et constitue le substrat des éléments de la culture négro- africaine et qu’on peut encore retrouver chez une bonne partie des femmes africaines où qu’elles soient. Cf. J.Maquet, Africanité traditionnelle et moderne, Paris, Présence africaine, 1967 ; A. Thiam, La Parole aux Négresses,Paris, Denoël-Gonthier, 1978; Aa.Vv., La civilisation de la femme dans la tradition africaine (Colloque d’Abidjan
3-8 juillet 1972), Paris, Présence Africaine, 1978; Aa.Vv., Des femmes écrivent l’Afrique, 3 vols., Paris, Karthala,2007-2010.
Cf. G. Malulu Lock, « Les Exercices de saint Ignace et l’Afrique. Propos sur deux priorités de la Compagnie de jésus », 486; J.-C. Guy, « Le livre des Exercices », in Saint Ignace de Loyola, Exercices Spirituels, Paris, Seuil,1982, 20.
C’est la matière de ce qu’il appelle la « Quatrième semaine », c’est-à-dire la dernière étape dans la subdivision des matières dans le livret des Exercices Spirituels. Cf. [E.S. 4].
Si on creuse dans la tradition notamment patristique, on découvre qu’indépendamment de l’exégèse, il existait effectivement une dévotion à l’apparition du Christ à Notre Dame. Voir par exemple: S. Arzubialde, « Una lectura teolôgica de la apariciôn del Resucitado a Ntra Sra. sobre dos traducciones castellanas del siglo XVI », in Man. 64
(1992) 71-86; Jean Chrysostome Homélies 88 in Matt. (PG. 58, 777); Albert le Grand, In Evang Marti (16, 9), «Christus Matri apparuit, non ut probaret resurrectionem, sed ut eam visu suo laetificaret», in Opéra Omnia (Ed.Borgnet), n°21, 755.
Mzee Munzihirwa, «Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme», in Zaïre-Afrique, n° 196 (Juin-Juillet-Août 1985) 349-361, 351. Pour étoffer ce point, nous nous sommes largement inspirés des écrits de Monseigneur Christophe Munzihirwa, évêque et martyr du Congo: «Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme», et «Le Zaïre face à l’avenir des familles», in Zaïre-Afrique, n° 206, (Juin-Juillet-Août 1986) 337-339.Sur le rôle de la femme, sa place et son identité dans la société africaine, nous reprenons largement notre article paru
dans Congo Afrique : G. Malulu Lock, « La femme dans la poésie négro-africaine d’expression française. Quels gages pour une culture de la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes ? », in Congo-Afrique, 521 (Janvier 2018)
78-83.Mzee Munzihirwa, « Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme », 349.
Matungulu Otene, Célibat consacré pour une Afrique assoiffée de fécondité, Kinshasa, St. Paul Afrique, 1979, 16.Cf. Matungulu Otene, Fidèle au Christ et à l’univers négro-africain. Ebauche d’une spiritualité, Lubumbashi,Saint Paul Afrique, 1980, 53.
Mzee Munzihirwa, « Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme », 351.
Mzee Munzihirwa que nous paraphrasons soutient son argumentaire avec ce proverbe Ntu: « Les femmes ressemblent à Dieu parce que c’est sur leur dos qu’elles portent les enfants ». Cf. Mzee Munzihirwa, « Aux racines du développement, le rôle de la femme », 351.
Camara Laye, L’enfant noir, Paris, Plon, 1953. La numérotation est de nous, pour le besoin de l’analyse. Dans la
littérature musicale, la chanson “Marna” du chanteur R D. Congolais Papa Wemba (1949-2016) est aussi une classique pour dire les éloges de la “Mère”.
Cf. A. Kéita, Femme d’Afrique. La vie d’Aoua Kéita racontée par elle-même, Présence Africaine, 1975; Ch. Obbo, African Women: Their Struggle for Economic Independence, London, Zed Press, 1980.
Nous parlons du renversement des éléments de l’analogie car l’analogatum princep demeure la relation de Jésus et Marie.
Cf. S. Arzubialde, « Una lectura teolôgica de la apariciôn del Resucitado a Ntra Sra. sobre dos traducciones castellanas del siglo XVI», in Man. 64 (1992) 71-86, 72. Parmi les opinions opposées à cette apparition, il y a celle
Cf. MZEE MUNZIHIRWA, “At the roots of development, the role of women”, 361.
Cf. I. DE LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises (E. Gueydan, transl.), Paris, DBB, 1987, [218-225; 299]. Now [E.S.].We are aware that as the Father of interculturality, it is difficult to speak of an “African culture”. The same difficulty also arises when we speak of the “African woman”, because those in cities no longer have the same habits than that of rural or isolated areas. This methodological difficulty does not prevent us from reflecting on what remains, intersects from one part of Africa to another and constitutes the substratum of the elements of the Negro culture.
African and that can still be found in many African women wherever they are. See J.
MAQUET, Africanity traditional and modern, Paris, Présence africaine, 1967; A. THIAM, The Word to the Negresses,
Paris, Denoël-Gonthier, 1978; AA.VV., The Civilization of Women in the African Tradition (Abidjan Symposium July 3-8, 1972), Paris, Présence Africaine, 1978; AA.VV., Women write Africa, 3 vols., Paris, Karthala,2007-2010.
Cf. G. MALULU LOCK, “The Exercises of Saint Ignatius and Africa. Remarks on two priorities of the Company of jesus ”, 486; J.-C. GUY, “The book of Exercises”, in SAINT IGNACE DE LOYOLA, Spiritual Exercises, Paris, Seuil,1982, 20.
5 This is the subject of what he calls the “Fourth Week”, i.e. the last step in the subdivision of
subjects in the Spiritual Exercises booklet. See [E.S. 4].
If we dig into the tradition, particularly patristic, we discover that, apart from exegesis, there was indeed a devotion to the appearance of Christ to Our Lady. See for example: S. ARZUBIALDE, “Una lectura teolôgica de la apariciôn del Resucitado a Ntra Sra. sobre dos traducciones castellanas del siglo XVI ”, in Man. 64
(1992) 71-86; JEAN CHRYSOSTOME Homilies 88 in Matt. (PG. 58, 777); ALBERT LE GRAND, In Evang Marti (16, 9), “Christus Matri appeared, non ut probaret resurrectionem, sed ut eam visu suo laetificaret”, in Opéra Omnia (Ed.Borgnet), n ° 21, 755.MZEE MUNZIHIRWA, “AT the roots of development, the role of women”, in Zaire-Afrique, n ° 196 (June-July-August 1985) 349-361, 351. To flesh out this point, we were largely inspired by the writings of MonsignorChristophe Munzihirwa, bishop and martyr of Congo: “At the roots of development, the role of women”, and “The Zaire facing the future of families “, in Zaire-Afrique, n ° 206, (June-July-August 1986) 337-339.
On the role of women, their place and their identity in African society, we largely take up our published article in Congo Afrique: G. MALULU LOCK, “Woman in French-speaking Negro-African poetry. Whichpledges for a culture of the fight against violence against women? », In Congo-Africa, 521 (January 2018)
9 MZEE MUNZIHIRWA, “At the Roots of Development, the Role of Women”, 349.
10 Idem., 351.
MATUNGULU OTENE, Consecrated Celibacy for an Africa thirsty for fertility, Kinshasa, St. Paul Afrique, 1979, 16.Cf. MATUNGULU OTENE, Faithful to Christ and to the Negro-African universe. Outline of a spirituality, Lubumbashi,Saint Paul Africa, 1980, 53.
MZEE MUNZIHIRWA, “At the Roots of Development, the Role of Women”, 351.
Mzee Munzihirwa, whom we are paraphrasing, supports his argument with this Ntu proverb: “Women look like to God because it is on their backs that they carry the children “. See MZEE MUNZIHIRWA, “At the roots of development, the role of women ”, 351.CAMARA LAYE, L’enfant noir, Paris, Plon, 1953. The numbering is ours, for the sake of analysis. In the musical literature, the song “Marna” by singer R D. Congolais Papa Wemba (1949-2016) is also a classic to say the praises of the “Mother”.
Cf. A. KEITA, Woman of Africa. The life of Aoua Kéita told by herself, Présence Africaine, 1975; CH. OBBO,African Women: Their Struggle for Economic Independence, London, Zed Press, 1980.
We are talking about the reversal of the elements of the analogy because the analogatum princep remains the relation of Jesus and Married. Cf. S. ARZUBIALDE, “Una lectura teolôgica de la apariciôn del Resucitado a Ntra Sra. sober back traducciones castellanas del siglo XVI ”, in Man. 64 (1992) 71-86, 72. Among the opinions opposed to this appearance, there is that