Here I am on her feast day, having taken her name as my Oblate name, and unable to write a word about her. So many tangled pieces of information about her: one of the many Marys in the Gospels; her long-standing undeserved reputation as a woman of ill repute – one of the worst accusations one can make about a woman; possessed by seven demons, yet exorcised by Jesus himself; “Apostle” to the Apostles, yet only one year ago accorded the status of an apostle.
So why did I choose this woman as my model?
Mary the Apostle stands at the opposite pole of Mary the Mother. The Nazarene was full of grace; the Magdalene was full of sin in the form of demons. Both followed Christ to the bitter end, enduring with him his passion and execution.
For me, the beauty of Mary Magdalene is in her great fidelity and gratitude. Much had been forgiven her and so she loved much. So often is she seen in tears that I’m led to understand her tears as the “rivers of living water flowing from within the one who thirsts and believes in him. (John 7:37-38) Any sinfulness is drowned in these tears.
What a consolation and reward: to be the first to see her beloved Teacher resurrected! To hear him call her name!
Conversion after forgiveness, gratitude, intense love, fidelity, service: these qualities in Mary Magdalene are more than enough for me to admire and strive to imitate.