Today is the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalen, model for penitents.
Of Mary Magdalen, Lacordaire said,
“Mary Magdalene touches both sides of our life: the Sinner anoints us with her tears, the Saint with her tenderness, the one soothes our wounds at the feet of Christ, the other tries to exalt us to the ravishment of her ascension.”
We often see Magdalen at the feet of Christ. Luke tells us that Mary sat at the feet of Christ, listening to Him, while Martha complained. When Jesus returned to Bethany to raise Mary’s brother, Lazarus, she ran to Him and cast herself at His feet. Before His Passion, she knelt at His feet and anointed them. At the Crucifixion, she stood at His feet, beside Our Lord’s most Blessed Mother, comforting Mary and adoring her Master. Each time, Our Lord defended her. “Mary has chosen the better part.” After the anointing, “Let her alone. That which she has done will be told in memory of her.” But note this change: on that glorious Easter Sunday, when she discovered her Risen Lord, she threw herself at His feet once again, but this time Our Lord pointed her to their heavenly Father, “I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.” Thus, we see Our Lord urging Mary to aspire to a higher union, dying with Christ in contemplation to rise with Him in eternal glory.
Penitent to Contemplative
Father Alban Butler’s Life of Mary Magdalen tells us that the Magdalen is the first in a “new order of souls”, which he describes as a school of love by the martyrdom of the heart which by learning to die to the world and to inordinate self-love, lives to God and His pure love. This happiness we attain to, by being united in spirit to Jesus crucified, as Magdalen was at the foot of His cross. She suffered by love what He suffered in His body by the hands of the Jews. The same cross crucified Jesus and Magdalen in Him and with Him. … so that she could say in a twofold sense; “My love is crucified.”
Mary Magdalen Patron of Penitents
“My Love is Crucified.”
She spent the last thirty years of her life in contemplation of her Beloved, in the wilderness of Provence, where legend has it that she was elevated from her grotto to the peak of the mountain seven times each day until she died. What saw she from her celestial heights?
In Sacred Scripture, of all the figures which surrounded Our Lord Jesus Christ, it appears as though Mary Magdalen has chosen the surest path to His heart. Why did Our Lord choose such a notorious sinner as Mary Magdalen? Was it not to show us His unfailing mercy towards repentant sinners? Some may read this and think that they at least have never been such a reprobate as Mary Magdalen. Well, perhaps we each of us should rather say,
“My Jesus, mercy, for I have never repented of my sins so completely, so fervently as Magdalen. My faith has been lukewarm at best!”
Many great spiritual writers assure us that no sinner goes to hell without damning himself by refusing to repent and refusing to beseech God’s mercy. But see the Magdalen! She, like St. Peter, never ceased to offer reparation; most of all, never ceased to offer herself as an oblation of love to Him whi is Love eternal. For it is all about love. Mary Magdalen great love for Jesus Christ, became an abyss of love in imitation of Him. It is a fruitful practice to consider both the Blessed Virgin Mary, most pure and perfect Virgin Mother of God and Mary Magdalen, wretched repentant sinner, so different these two and yet united in their tremendous love for Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And perhaps now is a good time to ask Mary Magdalen, patroness of penitents, to intercede for us that God grant us a generous and sacrificial heart like hers. May her generous heart embrace our small and cautious hearts and free us of that most pernicious disorder of these times, indifference to the sufferings of Christ in the Passion of His Church.
Saint Mary Magdalen, teach us the martyrdom of love, that we may die daily to the world and to our own self-love in order to be consumed in the fire His love.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
previously posted on July 22, 2020 by evensong
Remember – Our Lady needs us to obey: First Saturdays of Reparation, daily rosary, at least 5 mysteries, wear her brown scapular and live your Total Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, offering daily duties in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.