Sunday, December 15, 2013

She Has Loved Much

"While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head."  ~Mark 14:3

My living room shrine includes a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes from the shrine in France, an antique heirloom crucifix from my mother, a relic of St. Margaret Mary, a picture and relic of St. Maria Goretti, several jars of sea glass, and now, my treasured painting of St. Mary Magdalene.

My beautiful and extremely talented friend, Christi Jentz, has blessed me a fabulous and original painting of my favorite saint, Saint Mary Magdalene, entering the gates of heaven while tightly holding onto her jar of precious ointment.  I had her framed and she now graces my living room wall. Every time I see her, I just stop, caught off guard by her beauty, and I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Christi's prayerful and artistic talent, and for the example of love set by my favorite saint.  I hope and pray that not only will I emulate St. Mary Magdalene's great love upon this earth, but that one day, I, too, will know the joy of walking through that magnificent gate into the eternal wonder of heaven. ( Visit Christi's website, Lumen Christi Art, for more of her fabulous artwork. I highly recommend a thorough and lengthy visit here-there is much to learn and Christi freely shares her artistic and spiritual knowledge.  You will be enriched!)

St. Mary Magdalene captures my attention far more than any other saint.  What was it like, I wonder, to have walked the earth in her sandals, to have the singular grace of physically touching the Lord, of crying at his feet, of looking into His eyes and finding love and forgiveness there?   How unbearably crushing was it for her to stand with His Mother at the foot of the cross and watch in anguish as he gasped his last tortured breath? And after His resurrection, how she must have been beyond ecstasy and unable to keep from sharing the miraculous story of her encounter with the Lord outside the tomb with the rest of the world.  Every person she met must surely have been the recipient of her great joy and left her presence deeply moved by her words, "He is risen!  I have seen Him!"  Don't you think she must have shared her story over and over again with everyone who would listen?  After all, who could possibly be quiet and still after a glorious encounter such as witnessing the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?

And yet, many must have thought her quite mad.  Did they scoff at her, thinking she was simply unable to accept the death of her dearest friend, and was now telling tales of an extraordinary fantasy?  Was she considered an outcast by her community for her insistence upon the resurrection of the Lord?  After all, this was the woman who once was afflicted with seven demons, who was known to live a sinful life.  Why should anyone listen to her?

There is a little known book, St. Mary Magdalene: Her Life and Times as Seen in the Gospels, History and Tradition, by Edith Filliette, which gives a deeper insight into this lovely saint's life experience.  Perhaps most moving to me is the passage that explains how the Lord touched her outside the tomb and how that gentle caress remained with her physically even beyond the death of her body.  Regardless of whether or not anyone believed her words of witness to the resurrection, she knew within her heart, soul and body, that His love was worth living and dying for, that Jesus Christ alone was the Word of Life and the God of Love, our Savior and Redeemer, our eternal joy.

 "When St. Mary Magdalene's body was exhumed, "a  small piece of skin was found attached to the brow. It was smooth, clear and lighter than the remainder of the body, and was the size of two fingertips. As it resembled live skin, it was subsequently named "Do Not Touch Me"-the words spoken by Christ to Mary Magdalene at the Resurrection; it was believed to have been the touch of the risen Lord on the brow of Mary Magdalene."

"This small particle of skin remained unchanged for another 500 years, and no suitable explanation was ever found for the phenomenon. Five centuries after its discovery, it finally detached itself from the brow, and was placed in a separate reliquary." ~from St. Mary Magdalene-Her Life and Times by Edith Filliette

St. Mary Magdalene by Christi Jentz


  1. Thank you Anne. It would be a privilege to illustrate a book for you one day.

  2. Christi, you are amazing! You bless again and again. How wonderful it is to know you!

  3. My apologies for signing in as "anonymous". Its a quick way without registering elsewhere. Your Mary Mag was the first study for the apocalypse triptych that I'm currently in the the throes of... Anyway, Anne, you have a wonderful web presence- never give up! Christi

  4. Anne,
    The painting is beautiful! God has truly blessed your friend with an amazing artistic gift.
    I have often wondered some of those same things about this great saint. From the time of my return to my faith, I have adopted her as one of my "saintly sisters"; I call on her quite often.
    Thanks for sharing your shrine with us, and also for the title of the book on Mary Magdalene's life.
    A Merry and blessed Christmas to you and your family!
    God bless.