Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Saint Mary Magdalen


In the materialistic society in which we must work out our salvation, we have forgotten, if we ever knew at all, what it is to truly fall in love with God. The woman of Magdala, the courtesan of the Roman resort, knew the unhappiness and degradation of being exploited and used. The love of the Son of God, restoring her human dignity with His words and glance, caused her to throw herself at His feet, even as she shattered the jar of alabaster. With the precious ointment she gave her entire self in a complete oblation.

...And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (John 12:3) The fragrance of her repentant love continues to emanate throughout the entire Church, the house of God, especially in the person of the consecrated religious, and all those who kneel in awe before the Blessed Sacrament.

The ancient tradition of the church tells of how the Magdalen, after Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, went to the South of France and lived in solitude and contemplation in a cave on a mountain. It is that region in which was born the culture of chivalry and courtly love. St. Mary Magdalen was named the patroness of lovers, not of unsanctified love but of chaste love, of the love that requires sacrifice, unselfishness and renunciation in which to thrive. She represents the spiritual love which enhances the beauty of the union of bride and groom, that union which foreshadows nothing less than the union of Christ with His Bride the Church in the Paradise of eternity.

In the Litany of the Saints, St. Mary Magdalen's name appears before the list of all the virgins, so highly prized is her humility and repentance by the Church. May she pray for all woman and girls who are being exploited and for our society, enslaved by its worship of license, a license which is opposed to true freedom. May she pray for my ongoing conversion, and accept this small virtual votive light for all the intentions I offer her today.

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10 comments:

Linda said...

Beautiful homage to Saint Mary Magdalen. Thank you.

elena maria vidal said...

You're welcome!

Terry Nelson said...

Beautiful post. Happy feast day.
(You are much in my prayers.)

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Terry, so much. "Mary Magdalen" is my name in Carmel, so I do count this as a personal feast day.

Kirt Higdon said...

I think the contemporary Church has done well to rescue Mary Magdalen from the romantic tradition which degenerated into the Hollywood tradition and restore her to her proper dignity of being "the apostle to the apostles" after the Resurrection of Our Lord. In doing so, the Church also rescued her pre-emptively from the clutches of Dan Brown and the other feminist pop neo-gnostics. The woman with the alabaster jar in the gospel of Luke is not named and may or may not have been Mary Magdalen. Nor is there any indication in the Sacred Scriptures that she was a courtesan.

Unknown said...

Amen. Beautiful post.

elena maria vidal said...

Indeed, but there is much in Tradition that is not in Scripture. I refer you to the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia to which I linked in the article which explores the different theories.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09761a.htm

There are many pious authors who have put forth the courtesan theory. Magdala was a Roman resort and any Jewish woman who might be identified with the place was probably up to no good. One is free to believe it or not.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Alexandra.

Pentimento said...

The association of the woman who washed Christ's feet with her tears and Mary of Magdala was first made in the sixth century by Pope Saint Gregory the Great in his thirty-third homily. May she pray for us.

Terry Nelson said...

Yes Elena, the traditional life of Mary Magdalen may well be believed. Many saints have profited by her example, especially St. Teresa of Avila, Margaret of Cortonna, Charles De Foucauld, and many more. In fact, Our Lord called St. Margaret of Cortona the Magdalen of the Seraphic Order - I doubt he or Pope Gregory were inventing fantasies.