Day 6 - Novena to St. Mary Magdelene
Opening Prayer from Day 1
Read the following Scriputre Passages.
"Here, Mary is called by her surname, Magdelene, to distiguish her from the other Mary's who are with her at the foot of the cross: Mary mother of Jesus, and Mary, mother of James. All the apostles have fled. Other than the beloved apostle, there are only the womenwho followed Christ from Galilee, who followed him in the long climb towards Jerusalem and who alone remain faithful till the end.
"Even though the Gospel does not say it, Christian art has often represented mary Magdelene not standing like Mary and John near the cross, but closer still, as always at the feet of Jesus, holding onto the wood of the cross, as though ready to grasp the fruit, like a new Eve. In this position, she is witness to the seven last words of Christ on the cross, addressed to the good thief, to the beloved disciple, to Mary his mother, and to the Father.
"Undoubtedly, abundant tears pour from her eyes, but this time it is not she who pours the expensive perfume on him: rather it is he who offers his precious blood to the last drop, which anoints her and the whole world; and she captures it in the spiritual vase of her heart."
We live in a world that places no value on suffering. Suffering is wasted energy in the minds of our times. The idea of suffering which is necessary is thought of as a quaint idea of the past, or even a kind of emotional distress that somehow needs to be eradicated. I think Mary comes to a realization in her heart, after she herself has receive countless blessings and graces from Christ, that it is these pains and sins which Jesus embraces on the cross. Now Mary understands that her sins became the opportunity for grace; that her sufferings are transformed by the eternal sacrifice on the cross into the possibility of eternal presence with the Messiah she has come to know and love.
None of us wants to suffer, and certainly none of us wants the persons we love to suffer. But the reality of the life Jesus chose to enter is one where suffering comes unexpectedly and inevitably. Mary does not dwell on her sufferings. Rather, Mary embraces the source of her blessings. Mary now knows at the foot of the cross that the one who knew no sin, becomes the one take upon himself her sin and the world's sin and makes of it an offering to heaven for everlasting life. These are words of our church's prayers and our liturgy, but how else do we express these thoughts which are inexpressible. All there is for us to do is like Mary and continually plead before the Lord, recognize his grace, and then to give witness to those graces in our lives.
O God, you permitted those who loved you the most
to draw from your love,
the courage to remain near the cross of your Son.
Give us a love as strong as that of Mary Magdelene in our time,
and in spite of the fear of sufering and death,
may we remain faithful in your service.
Through Christ, Our Lord.