She lived: When Jesus walked the earth.
Feast Day: 22nd July
Related Article : St Thomas More
Grace Through Faith
“The grief of this woman, whose life was changed by her personal encounter with Jesus, is the grief of us all, in our ‘darkest moments’.”
It is believed that Mary Magdalene was born in Magdala near the Sea of Galilee. Little is known of her life up until the point that she meets Jesus. Mary did not leave any writings of her own, but from what has been recorded about her by others in the Bible, she is a key character and one for whom, we can gain hope.
She had led a chequered past and was deemed a fallen woman. When she first met Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee, He did not judge her for the way she lived her life, but He knew she was troubled and unwell. She was possessed of seven demons which Jesus cast out because He realised that she was repentant for the life she had previously lived. In thanks, she washed His feet with her tears and wiped them away with her hair. From that moment on, she believed in this man called Jesus and became a follower. Her life changed forever. She had regained control of herself and was free to care for others.
Together with Joanna and Susanna, who are also mentioned in the Bible, Mary had the financial means to support Jesus and His Disciples in order to help spread the Holy Word as they travelled from place to place.
Mary became a witness to Christ’s ministry. It was she, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus and a few other women who were present at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. They would have seen and heard the words from the Centurion who saw how Jesus died and as recorded in Mark.
“Surely this man was the Son of God. Some women were watching from a distance and one of them was Mary Magdalene.”
Mary and the mother of Jesus saw where Joseph of Arimathea finally laid the body of Christ to rest in the tomb.
The pivotal moment of her life was early on the first day of the week. While it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled back from the entrance.
Looking inside she saw two angels, one of whom asked her: “Woman why are you crying?” She replied: “They have taken my Lord away and I do not know where they have put Him”.
At that moment, she saw Jesus standing there. However, she did not recognise Him as the Christ, but thought He was a gardener. Trying to console her, He replied: “ Go tell my brothers that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.
Then Mary returned to the Disciples. She was elated and wanted to share with them what she had witnessed. With cries of: “I have seen the Lord”. She is the first one to announce the Good News and to see the resurrection of Jesus.
The New Testament doesn’t record what Mary Magdalene did in the years after Jesus ascended to Heaven. However, one story says that she went to live in Turkey and subsequently died there. Then there is another one that says she, along with several others, travelled to southern France and that she lived at a place called La Sainte-Baume for thirty years where there is a Grotto and Sanctuary dedicated to her name. Some stories associate her with the Holy Grail.
We can learn from Mary Magdalene that Christ’s love can set even the worst of us free as long as we believe in God and His son, Jesus Christ.
St Mary Magdalene was declared a saint before the official canonisation process was established in the 12th century. She would have been declared a saint by a bishop.
Thank you for reading and God Bless,