Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene

“Woman, why are you weeping?”
John 20:15

“Why are you weeping?” he asks! “Why not weep?” would be my reply. How can I keep from crying when the one I love with all my heart is gone? I have no idea if I will ever see Him again! My life is black, dark, and empty like the tomb by which I stand. And then, it’s Him! He’s right here with me! I run to hold him, and what does he say? “Stop holding on to me.” I am stunned! How can He say that to me? Doesn’t he know me better than that? Doesn’t he know that my arms ache to hold him, my hands long to touch his face, my heart’s only desire is to love him and cling to him and never let go?

I have tremendous admiration for Mary Magdalene and the great strength she displayed in not just falling in a heap at Jesus’ feet, sobbing. What good is the resurrection, I would wonder, if that meant that I couldn’t hold Him? Yet here, she accepted his almost cold words “Stop holding on to me”, and joyfully shared the news of His resurrection with the other disciples. Mary Magdalene was so selfless and generous with the love of Christ. I am selfish and self-centered in comparison. Shame fills my heart when I think of how I want Jesus all for myself, without any thought for all the others who love Him, as well as all of the others whom He loves.

So, Mary Magdalene, I turn to you today on this your feast day, and I ask you to pray for me. I ask you to pray that I may be able to follow your example of strength and integrity. I pray that I may learn to love without the fulfillment of holding the One I love in my arms, but only holding Him in my heart. And I pray that I may be able to love all of the others that Jesus also loves, without any trace of jealousy, but rather with compassion and understanding for their own longing for Christ.

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for me. Amen.


  1. That's a good understanding of it. I always felt bad for Mary M when Jesus says that to her. I still feel bad, but now I understand her bravery and what Christ wanted her to do. But you know, I want a hug from Jesus, too.

  2. I have this list of questions for God if and when by His grace I make it to heaven; one of them is why couldn't you let the poor woman just give you a quick hug before you sent her off? Any way I know He had his reasons :) Thank you for the beautiful prayer. St. Mary Magdalen is a saint I pray to often; I just want to love Jesus as she did.
    God Bless!

  3. What a great insightful and inspirational post, thank you!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. What a beautiful prayer, Anne!

    I hope this comment isn't a duplicate - I seem to be having trouble posting it.

    If you do decide to come to Italy to learn Italian ... I'll be more than happy to have you as my guest here in Rome :)

  6. Great reflection Anne. It may sound harsh, but there is good reason why Christ said to Mary, do not hold on to me. In order to hold some one, they have to have a body. Jesus was not a ghost or a vision, but had a real resurrected body, (whatever that looked like we don't know, but it was a body). This fact would become crucial later for fighting against Gnosticism Anyway, I love your blog and I am glad I found it because it give me another perspective.