As we celebrate today the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, I wanted to share with you a little bit about her life, and also a beautiful painting from her life and a reflection found in today’s Magnificat. Especially as we consider Adoring our Lord, being Contrite for our sins and the way we have wounded His heart, Thanking Him for his love and blessings, and Petitioning Him for our needs, I can’t help but think of the way that St. Mary Magdalene exemplified this in her own life, and how she really is a role model for us in how we are to love and serve God.
St. Mary Magdalene
(Feast day – July 22)
Mary Magdalen was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life. When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Mary came to weep at His feet. (Luke 7:36-50) Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus let such a sinner touch Him, but Our Lord could see into Mary’s heart, and He said: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much.” Then to Mary He said kindly, “Your faith has made you safe; go in peace.” From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles. When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only of His sufferings. (John 19:25) No wonder Jesus said of her: “She has loved much.” After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning. Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. (John 20:1-2, 11-18) But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: “Mary!” It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalen, the repentant sinner.
It is called “Forgiven Much” and depicts the forgiven Mary Magdalen washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. I have found it to be so powerful in my life and wanted to share it with you. I love this image and often come back when I have wounded the heart of our Lord and Savior with my sins. My tears of repentance, washing his feet. I have found this image especially powerful to pray with prior to receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance/Confession). I pray that it is a blessing for you as well.
Meditation of the Day:
God is the spouse of the soul. The act of contemplation is an embracing of the soul by God, as total, as poignant, as dizzying as the union of two bodies. It is deeper, even more living, more fruitful, and more penetrating. And, through the soul, it is the whole being which is seized by God. Such is the meaning of the vow of virginity in Christianity. It is in such an embrace that Mary Magdalene’s soul had been seized.
With this in mind we can well say that she loved Christ, that she loved him with all the force of her being. This love was wise and pure, it obeyed. What is more, all the saints have wished to die for Christ, which is a physical proof of love far more violent and convincing than any other. Mary Magdalene’s love of Christ went to the bitter end and that is why it was pure. Only the soul pushes things to the bitter end, even its body, which it reduces to the service of its love. Such was Mary Magdalene’s great soul: the whole being of this admirable creature was in the service of her contemplative love, even her body. That is why she wanted to die for Christ…the help we receive from the saints and from Christ himself is not that they were, they also, entangled in our difficulties; it is that they have solved them and that they help us to solve them. There must have emanated from this man, who was the Christ, a light, a power far above nature to free the love of a burning and passionate woman like Mary Magdalene from all obsession, pacify it, order it, and at the same time bring it to full flower.
~ Father Raymond-Leopold Bruckberger, O.P.
Father Bruckberger (=1998) was a French Dominican priest and a spiritual author
Father, through the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene, may we learn to love you from our brokenness and with our whole hearts, to give you all that we have and all that we are. May we embrace the tenderness, compassion and healing that you long to give us in our lives, and in return devote ourselves ever more to Jesus and His Sacred Heart. May our reception of you in the Eucharist fill us with the same faithful love, that kept Mary Magdalene close to Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.
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