John of the Cross on The Magdalene — Mary’s Secretary

Taken from Our Holy Father John’s Dark Night of the Soul: “Mary Magdalene, in spite of her past, paid no attention to the men at the banquet. It made no difference to her if they were prominent or common. She did not consider whether it was proper to go sobbing and shedding tears among the […]

John of the Cross on The Magdalene — Mary’s Secretary

Our Best Response to COVID? Mimic Mary Magdalene and the other Myrrhbearers

“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.” I’ve always valued the special character of a Sunday. Time to worship, rest, recoup, visit, chill. It doesn’t happen often, but this week the Sundays bookmarking its start and finish have each been dedicated to a feast day honoring the Myrrhbearers.

MaryMagdaleneSusannaandJoanna by Mary McKenzie Nativity Project

Mary Magdalene with Joanna and Susanna (The Succession of Mary Magdalene)  Triptych, First Panel, Janet McKenzie

Last Sunday Eastern rite Christians who follow Western calculations for the Paschal cycle celebrated Myrrhbearers Sunday, often also called the Sunday of the Ointment Bearing Women. And today, Orthodox Christians celebrate the very same feast day (the week’s “delay” being attributable to Eastern calculations for the annual celebration of the Paschal season). Since I am an Orthodox Christian married to an Eastern Rite Catholic priest, I’ve enjoyed two opportunities to celebrate in real time this year a day that honors the Myrrhbearers.

It’s been a joy. And a relief.

Throughout the world Christians of all denominations spent this week confined to our homes, unable to worship in our accustomed ways. We longed to be physically present in our churches, in our spiritual communities, because we are made in the image and likeness of God, a Trinitarian community. At our deepest level, we need to belong to a community. In Christian traditions with Eucharistic liturgies, that longing is intensified by the desire to again share the mystical supper with the brothers and sisters of our own communities.

Staying away feels like true deprivation. Solitary pastors fill our screens, celebrating services in empty churches, and it feels forlorn and wrong. In fact, it is wrong, from a spiritual perspective. We’re viewers, no longer participants. And our occupation with earthly concerns distracts us from that reality. Community worship restores our solitary souls to the dynamic of communion in which they were meant to exist. So there was no better place to focus this week’s meditations on the Myrrhbearers than St. Mary Magdalene, who can teach us moderns quite a bit about faith and absence.


Maria Magdalena, Alfred Stevens, 1877

Mary Magdalene has fascinated the imaginations of artists throughout the ages, because much lore surrounds her story. Miscast popularly as a women of loose morals, as a sinner, as the unnamed woman who wept at Christ’s feet and wiped her tears from them with her hair, Mary Magdalene is a compelling dramatic figure – from a human perspective. But if she was once that troubled woman – and that’s a big if (and a topic for another day)– she was so, so much more.  She was a leader, a strong woman, an independent thinker. Brave. Loving.  But most telling for us in COVID times, she prepared herself at Christ’s death for his coming absence, and continued to believe in Him as Lord and God.

Consider in chronological order the scriptural passages in which her name appears, and the import of her place among the disciples and the esteem with which she must have been regarded will become apparent. It can be easy to forget that Mary Magdalene was honored by God to be the very first disciple, in fact the very first believer in Christ – man or woman – to whom the risen Christ appeared, and she was among the small group of women given the privilege of announcing the Good News of the Resurrection to the Apostles and other disciples hidden in the Upper Room.

Here’s a quick rundown of Scriptural references to this Saint:

  • Mary Magdalene suffered an illness/condition (referred to as “seven demons”) that only God could cure.
  • She is almost invariably the first named of the woman disciples in any scriptural list, and always included in such lists, which attests to her prominence and leadership among the women. She is mentioned by name twelve times in the Gospels – more than any Apostle or other disciple.
  • Her suffering led to her faith in Jesus as Lord and God, and her faith led to her participation in Jesus’ ministry. She provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples as they travelled through Galilee and other regions.
  • She was apparently always close by to the Lord. All four Gospels, while focusing on different details of the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection, place Saint Mary Magdalene at the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Near the foot of the cross, she and other women disciples “watched from a distance”, and she stood vigil nearby with Jesus’ mother and her sister. It was only when evening approached that Joseph of Arimathea appeared.
  • She was present and watched as Joseph of Arimathea took down Christ’s body, laid it in a tomb, and had the stone rolled in front or the entrance.  She remained at the tomb when Joseph departed.
  • At dawn on Easter Sunday, she went to the tomb. Varying accounts (presumably reflecting the she made more than one visit to the tomb that morning) say she went alone, or with “the other Mary”, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and with other unnamed women disciples. We refer to these women as the Myrrhbearers.
  • She returned to the tomb after having discovered that the stone had been rolled away and Jesus’ body was not there, and running to tell the Apostles.  Simon Peter and another (whom Jesus loved) returned to the tomb with her, but didn’t understand that Christ had risen.
  • She lingered at the tomb after the Apostles left and, all alone, had her famous encounter with an angel, and then with the risen Lord.  She had cried over the loss of the divine body – she never gave up caring for Him. When He spoke her name she knew who spoke, immediately. “No lo me tangere” – do not touch me, Jesus said, and “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”  And she did so. Along with Joanna and other unnamed women, she told the Eleven and others of the encounter with two angels who announced the Resurrection – but the men considered the news “idle tales” (KJV).

What does this outline reveal to us? Mary Magdalene had an unwavering faith. She proved it, returning to the tomb alone to ponder all that had happened, to try to make sense of it, to be at the center of the controversy – she couldn’t stay away. As we don’t want to stay away today. We don’t want to shelter in place. We want things to return to “normal.” We want to pray the way we always have. We want to be comfortable.

But once the risen Christ called her name, Mary Magdalene began the journey we all face today – to learn to speak to the risen Lord despite his physical absence. She did that armed with a monumental faith in His divinity.  And my realization that she did so made this “Myrrhbearers Week” so worthwhile. While I don’t pretend to myself that I have the faith Mary Magdalene had, I realize that I can nevertheless follow her example by drawing upon the depth of faith I do have, to try to draw nearer to God through my own efforts.

Modern Christians have many ways of deepening their spirituality. There is so much good advice available to us through our pastors, scholars, authors, musicians, and our Christian brothers and sisters.  Additionally, there are well settled Christian traditions that we may discover, or rediscover. I’ve spent some time this week thinking about two of them.

Pious Eastern Christians attempt to pray habitually, with automaticity, a particular prayer in an effort to draw near and stay near to God. The “Jesus Prayer” is meant to help us internalize our relationship to God with each utterance, and so to make Him present with us always –

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

Much has been written about the practice of repeating this prayer from a “top of mind” perspective throughout the day – and this coming week, while many of us have time on our hands, is a good time try to explore some of the commentary, and try it.

Some Western Christians have a different practice of prayer meant to overcome the pangs of separation from God that they feel when the Eucharist is not available to them.  It’s called a “Spiritual Communion”, and if prayed with sincerity can draw us nearer to God and suppress our preoccupation with the worship we are “missing”.  Roman Catholic Christians pray it this way:

“My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there, and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.”The concept of a spiritual communion with God – of any kind – is in reality a life-saver.  Saving our eternal life. None of us, COVID or not, can rest at night with the knowledge that the day just ended wasn’t our last.  For me, the fruit of Myrrhbearers Week 2020 is going to be one less book, one less Netflix, quite a few less Facebook surfs, and many more repetitions of the Jesus Prayer.

Published by samo lucija PRESVETO TIJELO I KRV KRISTOVA. TIJELOVO Svetkovina (četvrtak nakon Presv. Trojstva) VEČERNJA MOLITVA Isuse, ostavio si nam Sebe u sakramentu svoga Tijela i Krvi. Dao si nam neizreciv dar. Dar bogat ljubavlju. Darovao si nam čitavog Sebe. Hvala Ti, Isuse. Hvala Ti, Isuse, što si oduvijek bio čovjek blizine. Uz Tebe se svatko osjećao prihvaćen i ljubljen. Nitko nije imao dojam da si ga olako shvatio ili površno slušao. I danas je tako, Isuse. Utaži, Gospodine, moju glad za osobom povjerenja, osobom koja ima vremena i ljubavi za drugoga. Osobom koja ne važe, koja ne mjeri, koja nije zaokupljena prvenstveno sobom. Koja zna čuti nečije teškoće i onda kada samo šutnja progovara. Osobom koja će bez uvrijeđenosti saslušati ono što možda i ne želi čuti. Pomozi mi da tu osobu tražim jedino u Tebi. Znaš i sam koliko sam puta ranjena zbog neprisutnosti osoba koje bi mi trebale biti blizu. Razočarana jer se netko od najbližih ne sjeti da mi je potreban ili se ne sjeti nečega što nije trebao previdjeti. Boli me kada primijetim da me netko uopće ne sluša ili me potpuno ignorira. Gospodine, pomozi mi ispuniti te praznine. Pomozi mi drugome biti poput Tebe. Biti netko tko zna drugome biti blizak, tko zna biti bližnji. Biti netko tko ima vremena i ljubavi za drugoga. Isuse, održao si svoje obećanje da ćeš biti s nama u sve dane do svršetka svijeta. Dao si nam sebe u Kruhu života. Na Tebe više nitko ne mora čekati, Isuse, u svakom času si sama prisutnost. Na svakoj Misi, u svakoj Pričesti. Hvala Ti, Isuse, na tom daru. Hvala ti što se i meni daruješ svojim Tijelom i svojom Krvlju. Više nisam sama, nisam prepuštena samoj sebi. Hvala Ti, Isuse …Suzana Monika Suzana Monika IL SORRISO DI MARIA 7 mtSptoniuhsaceormed · Santa Madre di Lourdes, madre degli infermi, poni sotto il tuo manto i malati terminali. Accoglili sotto il tuo Santo Manto e dona pace e Serenità alle loro famiglie. Heliga Lourdes moder, sjuka moder, sätt dödssjuk under din mantel. Välkomna dem under din Heliga Manto och ge fred och stillhet till deras familjer. Redigera eller ta bort detta Gilla · Svara · 1m Suzana Monika Suzana Monika Fani Kovač‎ till Jezus te ljubi ♥ Jesus loves you 5tS Stponcsoreigdocfmf · Tolaži Oče žalostne otroke! Tolaži Oče žalostne otroke, ki v stiskah in nemiru trepetamo, priznanja in ljubezni ne poznamo, slabotne nam in vklenjene so roke. Trplenje reže rane nam globoke in križ težak nam upogiba ramo. Srce je v najbritkejših urah samo: suh list na sredi reke je široke. Tolaži Oče žalostne otroke: poslal je Sina ,da za nas trpi. Poslal Edinca,da za nas umre! Objele so nas prebodene roke in dvigajo nas tja,kjer angeli nas venčajo,se z nami vesele. Kristus je Bog z nami. in sicer je navzoč in deluje v Cerkvi in po Cerkvi. Cerkev je po Kristusovi in po Božji volji orodje odrešenjskega Božjega delovanja. *Pod tvoje varstvo pribežimo,o sveta Božja Porodnica*. * O Marija,Ti vedno siješ na naši poti kot znamenje odrešenja in upanja.* AMEN! Bekväm far till ledsna barn! Bekväm far ledsna barn, som vi darrar av problem och ångest, Vi vet inte igenkänning och kärlek, Våra händer är svaga och handbojor. Att lida skär ner våra sår djupt och ett tungt kors böjer vår axel. Hjärtat är bara i snabbaste timmarna: Torrlövet mitt i älven är brett. Bekväm far till ledsna barn: han skickade sin son för att lida för oss. Skickat en Edinburgh för att dö för oss! Vi blev kramade av de piercade händerna och de lyfter upp oss där änglar är de gifter sig med oss, de är nöjda med oss. Kristus är Gud med oss. och det är närvarande och fungerar i kyrkan och efter kyrkan. Kyrkan är ute efter Kristus och enligt Guds vilja, verktyg frälsningen av Guds agerande. * Vi springer under din vård, åh Guds fosterland *. * O Mary, du skiner alltid på vår väg som ett tecken på frälsning och hopp.* ÄNDRA! · Betygsätt den här översättningen La Luce Di Maria È Nei Nostri Cuori. har lagt till ett 3D-foto Isgånarutc mkolgaScf.fgpo 0in7Ss:4oitredd8 · ‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨ ‼️⚜️‼️Gesù all'anima:‼️⚜️‼️ Abbracciati alla mia Croce e cerca conforto e la forza nelle tue pene da me, crocifisso per te. Abbi fede nel mio amore che non ti abbandona e nella protezione di Maria, che ti è Mamma amorosissima. Tu soffri nel tuo interno e non sai manifestare le tue pene, ma io le vedo e ti consolo con grazie speciali di amore. Ti benedico con la tua famiglia. ‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨‼️⚜️✨ ‼️⚜️!! ️ Jesus till själen :‼ ️!! ️ Omfamna dig till mitt kors och sök tröst och styrka i dina sorger från mig, korsfäst för dig. Tro på min kärlek som inte överger dig och på skyddet av Mary, som är underbar mamma. Du lider inuti och du vet inte hur du ska visa dina sorger, men jag ser dem och trösta dig med ett speciellt tack av kärlek. Jag välsignar dig med din familj. Redigera eller ta bort detta Gilla · Svara · 1 min. Suzana Monika Suzana Monika amen

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