Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ. -- Saint Augustine of Hippo from “The City of God

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Saint Mary Magdalene

Mary of Magdala was a woman of character and of independent means, and like many women she was also tormented by the lifestyle she had embraced, fiercely driven on by the seven demons who seduced her senses and tempted her beyond her endurance.
This woman like many women with strong characters would have been rejected by the elite in her own society as she lived brazenly and openly but also with great inner loneliness which no amount of money nor dissolute company could assuage. Though Mary would have probably shown a bravado to the outside world, within her own soul she was tormented day and night, where was her release? Who could save one such as she?
"Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources."
The meeting between Jesus and Mary would change her life forever as she not only listened but lived what she heard from the Master, though no longer tormented or at the mercy of the demons which had possessed her soul, Mary still was a woman of commendable substance and character. Just as Mary Magdalene followed her Lord and Master, she also looked towards Mary Mother of Jesus and drew strength from the purity of heart and the humility of spirit shown by Mary most Holy. Through their love of Jesus one as Mother and the other as disciple, both Mary's would come to love and support the other as they journeyed alongside Jesus during his Ministry.
The Mother of Jesus would have been crucial factor in the developing character of Mary Magdalene, as she learnt to embrace humility, meekness and to serve others through love rather than be on the receiving end of those who had served her because she had employed them to do so. For when Jesus healed Mary He also started a revolution of love within the soul of Mary, a flame that burned with zealous love for the Truth espoused by Jesus, her Master and Messiah! This altered Mary's entire being and changed her lifestyle completely as she followed the one who had freed her from her torments, her beloved Master. Because Mary Magdalene was independently wealthy this also helped Jesus and his Apostles to continue His Ministry as Mary offered her support both spiritually and monetary as Jesus preached His Salvific message from village to village.
Mary Magdalene was also a woman of fierce courage, but like the mother of Jesus she too would have heard the rumours concerning her beloved Lord and Master as the tempest grew and those in high places plotted to destroy this man Jesus! Mary's unwavering devotion to Jesus never faltered, nor did Mary question her Savior as He spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven, she accepted all for she knew that God did not lie, and unlike many others Mary did not question Jesus Divinity but accepted all on Faith.
Just as she had been healed Mary Magdalene witnessed all those who had been healed by the Master, and with great joy she rejoiced in their freedom just as she too had been freed. Though Mary rejoiced she also sensed the dark shadow which pursued her beloved Lord as the storm clouds gathered around Him, though her body trembled at what would happen to her beloved Jesus, yet her spirit was strong and unwavering.
Mary's courage would be tested to the limits as one of the twelve with deceit in his heart betrayed her beloved Lord into the hands of the despotic Sanhedrin. As Jesus wept alone and sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, both Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Jesus kept vigil that long and lonely night at their place of lodging as morning dawned, while dark clouds enclosed around Jesus. Both Mary's arose and strode forth one to be with her beloved Son the other to stand alongside her beloved Lord.
Mary Magdalene's love and devotion for Jesus never faltered nor did self interest intercede Mary stood firm to the end irrespective of her personal safety. This unfaltering and total commitment to her Lord and Savior shows the true nature of Mary Magdalene a love so fierce that nothing would dispel it, not suffering, pain or even death...nothing would come between Mary and her beloved Master.
It was with horror and true anguish of heart as Mary Magdalene, alongside the Mother of Jesus and those closest to Jesus followed him as He was made to carry his own Cross to Golgotha. Mary would have heard the taunts thrown at her beloved Lord, she would have seen the spittle directed towards the Son of God, as she tried to protect and help Jesus beloved Mother while witnessing the dreadful journey of the one she loved with all her heart and soul....A love so pure that to this day it is misunderstood.
A woman who only a few years ago had been kept prisoner by her sinful lifestyle yet Jesus saw through her pain of heart and exorcised the demons that was demolishing her very being. Though not a prostitute Mary of Magdala had led a loose life. This woman knew she was witnessing the Crucifixion of her Lord and Savior the one who had lit a light of such spiritual depth that it would never be extinguished not by torture or death.
Mary Magdalene was a woman of immense fortitude, as she followed the path of blood left by her Lord as he reached Golgotha and nails were driven into his flesh. Mary's anguish of heart would have been almost undendurable if it were not for the fact that her love outweighed her pain and her fear. As Jesus was lifted upon the Cross to the derision of the crowds and the guards as they mocked him, one can imagine the immense strength it took for Mary a woman of uncommon valor to remain silent beneath the bloodied Cross of her Lord and Savior. As His life emptied and a sword pierced the soul of His beloved Mother, Mary most Holy.
As Jesus cried his last words, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; Mary's grief at the loss of her friend, Lord and Savior can never be expressed suffice to say that theirs was a friendship of such purity as to be untarnished by anything of a worldly nature. For upon being released from the seven demons Mary's entire being was also freed from the constraints of uninhibited passions as she embraced and lived Jesus Message in her own life.
Upon Jesus body being lowered into the loving embrace of his mournful and sorrowing Mother, Mary Magdalene and those who had stood beneath the Cross comforted each other as best they could, as they beheld the sight of the Mother as she held the bloodied and ravaged body of her beloved Son in her loving arms.
Just as Mary Magdalene had wept when she anointed our Lord's feet with her tears, now her tears were those of the heartbroken as she beheld the tortured body of her beloved friend and Savior. These tears would not be shed for long as Mary Magdalene followed the body of her Lord as he was laid in a borrowed tomb. Once the Sabbath was over Mary Magdalene with friends went once again to the tomb of Jesus in order to anoint His Body only to find his body gone!
It was to Mary his devoted friend and disciple that Jesus revealed himself as Risen and it was to Mary Magdalene who had the responsibility to inform the other disciples which she did. And so the words ring out through eternity...."I have seen the Lord,"....

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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