St. Mary Magdalene: The Way of Penitence and Love

Today is the feast of the great St. Mary Magdalene, penitent and devout follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The song (above) seems to have captured the longing of the sinner for a return to the innocence of childhood: the longing that humans have for a Savior. That Savior is Jesus Christ who came to Earth, and who now reigns in Heaven. This is a day when the Church calls us to remember that there is a Kingdom of Love known as Heaven, and our sister, Mary Magdalene, chose to live in this Kingdom even as she lived on Earth. In this Kingdom, sin is washed away in the blood of Christ, and lives once seemingly lost, are found and restored. Green leaves and flowers blossomed in the Land of Love where Mary walked while she was alive, walking as she did in the restored Eden; all of this to the confoundment of the Scribes. Dom Prosper Gueranger expounds on this:

On that great Easter day, Magdalene, like a morning star, announced the rising of the Sun of Justice, who was never more to set. “Woman,” said Jesus to her, “why do you weep?” “You are not mistaken.” He seemed to say, “It is, indeed, the Divine Gardener speaking to you, the same that planted Eden in the beginning. But now dry your tears. In this new garden, whose centre is an empty tomb, Paradise is restored. The Angels no longer close the entrance. Here is the Tree of Life which has borne fruit these three days past. This Fruit, which you, O woman, are eager, as of “old, to seize and taste, belongs to you now by right: for you are no longer Eve but Mary. If you are bidden not to touch It yet, it is because, as you would not heretofore taste the fruit of death yourself alone, you may not now enjoy the fruit of Life till you bring back Him that was first lost through you.” Thus by the wisdom and mercy of our God, woman is raised to a greater dignity than before the Fall.  ~from The Liturgical Year

Sinners, do not think it is too late to find the way of Mary Magdalene. St. Therese of Lisieux followed her way, saying:

“Most of all I imitate the behavior of Mary Magdalene, for her amazing – or, rather, loving – audacity which delighted the heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine.” 

Mary Magdalene’s way of penitence and love is found in every confessional, in every baptismal font, in every Catholic Mass. Christ is truly present in the world today in the sacraments and priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. You may leave your sins inside the confessional where they are left forever. Call your local Catholic parish, find out when the times for Confession are, and go there. You may go behind the screen: the Church has made this sacrament very discreet, as you confess to Christ; and He is there, as He was for Mary Magdalene many years ago. If you do not know how to make a confession, or have not been in years, do not worry as priests are trained to assist in such situations; simply let the priest know this as you start your confession.

This is a happy day: for she who was seemingly lost, was found; and not only found, but restored, and raised to high honors in the Kingdom of Heaven.

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!


~Image: St. Mary Magdalene in art, from an altarpiece by Carl Crivelli,  approximate date of altarpiece is 1480-1487, source of image.