Thursday, July 22

Lessons from Saints - Mary Magdalene

Today is the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene and a most troublesome feast it is. Of all those in the Golden Legend and held from early days as holy, Mary Magdalene has been more maligned and misconstrued than arguably any.

In the first, what we know she was not. She was not a prostitute (an error which arose during the 6th century), nor is there anything to suggest in literature (canonical or otherwise) that she was the wife/bride of Christ. There is no evidence that she ever went to France or any of that Dan Brown stuff. The list goes on.

If one wishes to consider the 'alternate' gospels, Mary Magdalene featured prominently. From the apocryphal texts, we learn she was exceptionally important in the formation of the 1st century church. We also know she and Peter had serious interpersonal issues. [Insert discussion of misogyny and biblical canon here ]

What we DO know about her, from both canon and apocrypha, is that she was arguably as close to Christ as the apostles and she is the only person we know who saw Christ crucified, die, buried and risen. She was the first apostle (entrusted messenger) of the risen Christ (known as the apostle to the apostles). She was the only named disciple of Jesus who never lost faith, never ran and was continually devoted.

To quote from a homily of Gregory I:
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."
May we persevere like Mary, love like her and have her faith.

No comments:

Post a Comment