|Appearance of Jesus Christ to Maria Magdalena (1835) |
by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. (Source: Wikipedia)
Today is the feast day of St Mary Magdalene.
I totally admire this holy woman, and her love and faithfulness for her friend and master, Jesus. She, like our Mother Mary, is truly the "apostle of apostles" of Christ. She accompanied Jesus until the very end. Even at the tomb, she was so saddened at the disappearance of Jesus' body, whom she laid to rest. When everyone had left, she stayed back in an attempt to find out where and why Jesus' body had been removed.
If any biblical figures could qualify as the "perfect lover", it has to be Mary Magdalene. For truly, she sought him whom her heart loves (Song of Songs 3:2). So it is no wonder why certain Gnostic gospel recorded that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were involved in a romantic relationship! (And how many people have been scandalised by this story!)
While many reflected on how Mary Magdalene was privileged to be the messenger to announce the resurrection of Christ, and thus we too are called to proclaim this Good News through our lives, I drew from this Gospel a different insight.
As a reward for her persistence and her deep, genuine love for Jesus, the Resurrected Lord appeared before her and greeted her. "Mary!" (John 20:16) He even called her by name; that familiar and gentle voice! He did not forget nor let down this faithful woman, whom he knew loved him tremendously. I believe that for Mary Magdalene, the greatest privilege was to be the very first person to have met the Resurrected Lord.
This Gospel account gives me so much hope.
I have often questioned myself. Would my deep desire to see my Beloved Lord face to face, despite my frailty and frequent fall into sin, and my failed daily attempts to die to self, be rewarded with that same reward granted to Mary Magdalene?
I believe God will not disappoint anyone who loves him. He knows that our human love is imperfect. "The Lord knows our weakness, that he is mindful that we are but dust and ashes” (Psalm 102:14). And he "looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). He is faithful to those who are faithful to him.
This is the very hope that keeps me going.
St Mary Magdalene, pray for us, that like you, we too may meet the One whom our hearts loved.
"For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved."
-- St Gregory the Great on St Mary Magdalene