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She loved much …

Happy Feast of Mary Magdalene! In the rhythm of the Christian year, this is the day when we especially remember and celebrate this friend,  and disciple of Jesus who, along with other women, provided support for his ministry. For proclaiming the news of Christ’s resurrection, the Magdalene became known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”

Mary Magdalene was a follower of Christ, who accompanied him. The Gospels record her as being one of the women present at Christ’s crucifixion.  In addition, she was the first recorded witness of the Resurrection. The Gospels all describe Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on Easter morning.  They describe, how, on seeing that the tomb was empty, she stood outside, weeping.   It was then that Jesus appeared to her asking her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” (Jn. 20:15)

Mary, not recognising him, thought he was the gardener, until he said her name, “Mary!” (Jn. 20:16)  Upon hearing this, Mary Magdalene recognised him.  She then returned to the grieving disciples to announce to them the message of the Resurrection.

A Love stronger than death

Pope Benedict XVI speaking about Mary Magdalene (2006) referred to her as “a disciple of the Lord who plays a lead role in the Gospels.”

 “The story of Mary of Magdala reminds us all of a fundamental truth,” Pope Benedict said:

 “A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death.”

When our Lord spoke to Mary [Magdalene] it was as a representative of all sinners who are called to the contemplative life, when he said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee,” it was not only because of her great sorrow, nor because of her remembering her sins, nor even because of the meekness with which she regarded her sinfulness. Why then?  It was surely because she loved much.

~ [1] The Cloud of Unknowing, ed. Ira Progoff (Delta Books: 1957), 100-102.

Mary Magdalene – a woman fully human and alive to the sacred surrounding her.

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