She was a Jewish woman, living among Gentiles, and known to many as a great sinner and demoniac. Yet after a profound encounter with Jesus, we now view her as a legendary example of how mercy and grace can transform a person’s life.
St. Mary Magdalene, whom we celebrate today, is mentioned several times throughout the Gospels and became a devoted disciple of Jesus, accompanying Him throughout his public ministry and through his crucifixion, death, and resurrection.
She is a model of discipleship for us all. Pope Benedict XVI describes this best when he stated,
“The story of Mary of Magdalene reminds us all of a fundamental truth…A disciple of Christ is one who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him and has set out following closely after him, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love that is stronger than sin and death.”
This month we have been examining the concept of freedom. If we are not free, we are unable to live a life of intentional discipleship. After being convicted of her sinful ways, and freed from the evil that oppressed her, Mary actively and intentionally chose to live a life fully committed to Christ.
Christ did not offer her condemnation, but mercy and love.
When Mary was met with mercy and love, she was able to respond to His invitation of freedom with humility and courage. As she stepped into the light of freedom, she was healed and became a witness to this transforming love not only to those in her lifetime, but for all the ages to come.
What lessons can we learn from this transformed woman? Christ redeems all things.
There is no darkness so great that the light of Christ cannot overcome it. Let us ask the intercession of St. Mary Magdalene to receive the correction and healing love of Christ, not with shame, but with humility and gratefulness, knowing that the Lord only wants to draw us to His heart so that we can be made new in His light. We are then called to share this transforming love with all those we meet, drawing them to the same freedom and metamorphosis.
May we herald our own redemption the same way that Mary brought the joy of the resurrection of Christ to others. May we not be afraid to walk with people throughout their unique journeys to freedom and life in Christ. May we hold their hands as they trudge through the crucible of purification. St. Mary Magdelene knew what it was to be met with mercy and love, and so we should strive to meet others with this same mercy and love.
Living as a disciple of Christ will be the most challenging task of our lives should we choose to take up the adventure. I pray for the zeal to live in the freedom of Christ and to herald the glorious news of a life redeemed by my Savior. When I fall myself, or accompany others through their own failures, I pray that we may all flee to the mercy of Christ, who is awaiting with his grace and love to welcome us back and restore us to freedom and life in Him.
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us!