Saint of the Day: St. Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene is one of several women named Mary who appear in the four canonical Christian gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. She is said in the Gospels to have been relieved of seven demons, to have supported Jesus’ ministry financially, and to have witnessed the crucifixion and resurrection.
The feast of St. Mary Magdalene is considered one of the most mystical of feasts, and it is said that of all the songs of the saints, that of Mary Magdalene is the sweetest and strongest because her love was so great. That love was praised by Jesus Himself who said that because much was forgiven her, she loved much. Where she is buried, no one knows. Legend has her dying in Provence, France, in a cavern where she spent her last days, and her body resting in the chapel of St. Maximin in the Maritime Alps. Another has her buried in Ephesus where she went with St. John after the Resurrection. This latter view is more likely, and St. Willibald, the English pilgrim to the Holy Land in the eighth century, was shown her tomb there.
She was the first witness to the resurrection of Jesus, His most devoted and loving follower. She had stood with Mary at the foot of the Cross on that brutal Good Friday afternoon and had been by the side of Mary during these difficult hours. On Easter morning, she went with the other women to the tomb and it was there, in the garden near the tomb, that Jesus appeared to her. It was she who brought the news of the Resurrection to the Apostles, and Peter and John raced to the tomb to see what had happened.
She was from Magadala, a small fishing town on the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Tiberias. She was known to be a “great sinner,” who heard Jesus speak of the mercy and forgiveness of God and changed her life completely. She was a model of penitence. Her matter-of-fact witness to the Resurrection moved Peter and John to go and see for themselves: “I have seen the Lord and these things he said to me.” Jesus had chosen her to bring the news to them and she simply told them what had happened.
She has always been the example of great love and great forgiveness, one of those close to Jesus who grasped the truth of God’s love for human beings and spent her life bearing witness to that love.
~Excerpted from The One Year Book of Saints by Rev. Clifford Stevens
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: “Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.”
~From a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great
Prayer to St. Mary Magdalene
Saint Mary Magdalene,woman of many sins, who by conversion became the beloved of Jesus,thank you for your witness that Jesus forgives through the miracle of love. You, who already possess eternal happiness in His glorious presence, please intercede for me, so that some day I may share in the same everlasting joy. Amen.