Posted by: fvbcdm | July 22, 2014

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene (22 July 2014)

Seven devils were driven out of her, and today she is one of the official protectresses of our Dominican Order. Her name is Saint Mary Magdalene, and she figures prominently in the gospels. Magdalene means a native of Magdala, a village on the west coast of the sea of Galilee. After being relieved of her diabolical possession, she became a devoted follower of Jesus, and was among those holy women who ministered to the thirteen during Our Lord’s itinerant life in Galilee and Judea. She showed herself to be not only very devoted and loving, but also remarkably courageous. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, allowed Jesus to be crucified, even though he “found no fault in him.”  So if this unprincipled politician would allow one innocent man to die a terrible death, he might well have allowed all those who stood at the foot of his cross to be killed along with him. Thus Our Lady, Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint John took their lives into their hands by accompanying Jesus to his crucifixion, and remaining there during the hours when Jesus hung in agony on the cross, in the presence of the Roman soldiers.

The reward for this fidelity on her part was that Saint Mary Magdalene, who went to the tomb very early on that first Easter morning, had the immense joy of announcing to the apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead. For this reason, Saint Augustine called her “the apostle to the apostles,” and we Dominicans have adopted her as a special patron of ours, since our vocation is specifically preaching, and the heart of all Christian preaching is the fact that Jesus is risen from the dead. Now, what about those seven devils? We aren’t sure about them. Human beings can be obsessed or possessed by demons either because they have engaged in devil worship, or been very sinful, or through no fault of their own. We don’t know which of these was the case in the life of Mary Magdalene, but we can surmise that because Jesus delivered her from that terrible affliction, she was particularly grateful to him and devoted to his well-being during his public life.

One of the world’s most imposing churches is the one that the French call simply “La Madeleine,” a splendid structure in classic Greek style, which stands at the head of an important street in Paris and forms part of a beautiful ensemble of buildings which can be thought of as the very heart of the French capital.  Surely, this simple woman from a fishing village in Galilee would never have dreamed that one of the world’s most impressive buildings in the heart of a great city would bear her name, and that many thousands of Christian women would also bear her name because of her close association with our divine Lord. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This Message was composed some years ago.

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