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Friday, July 22, 2011

A jar or two of costly spikenard...

He who has been forgiven much, loves much.  
I love my dear St. Mary Magdalene.  So much so that I have claimed her as my own patron saint.  Many of the saints I tend to gravitate to (or those who gravitate towards me?) seem to have a few rough edges to their credit:  St. Augustine, St. Peter, St. Theresa of Avila, Matthew Talbot, St Paul, you get the gist.  Don't get me wrong, I love the Little Flower and St. John of the Cross too, I just have a harder time identifying with them.  They seem to hover a few more feet off of the ground than the ones I just mentioned.

But our dear Saint Mary... she holds a special place in my heart.  Sweet, demon-possessed, sensual, vexing, adulterous, earthy, extravagant Mary of Magdala.   She renounced none of her feminine splendor yet we observe as she passes from nature to grace to glory;  sinner to convert to contemplative.  Most post-abortive women that I know claim her as their own.  She loves to be shared, I am sure! I relate to Mary's lack-luster existence before Christ entered her life.  I relate to the feeling of being lower than a worm; face to the dirt.  I concurred with those who shamed and assailed me that I was guilty; worthy of bitter scorn. I was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.  I am forgiven and set free because a Hand reached down and pulled me up.  Like Mary, I was loved into the truth.  I was loved back into life  by the Author of Life Himself.

Mary Magdalene claims a prize that all of us can lay claim to.  The blessed relief of forgiveness. The 10 million pound weight of bone-crushing sin being lifted off of one's chest and the sweet relief of breath that follows. Mary is a revival story.  It's rags to riches, Cinderella and Star Wars all wrapped up in non-fiction!  (Ever wonder where they all got their story lines??) Our heroine's relief is requited in a life of love to the One who set her free.  The rest of her life is caught up in Christ; in service to Him on the cross, in service to Our Blessed Mother and St. John and the new Christian family that has just been born. I often wonder if she did not bathe the feet of other penitents along her way. It is said of Mary that she loved much.  Is it any wonder?

Today is my feast day and also the day that I remember the birthday of the child I lost to abortion.  Michael would have been a July baby and so what more fitting a day to remember him?  I am grateful to God for the ocean of Mercy that he supplies to all of us so that we may freely come home to Him.  Not a day goes by that I do not miss this child.  I trust that Our dear St. Mary Magdalene is keeping her watchful eye on him until I get there.  God willing.

I found this priceless gem in Magnificat today...can't you just smell the aroma of Spikenard?

Alas for me, poor woman, I did not appreciate my happy condition while my Spouse was near me.  Who will give me the broad firmament as parchment, the deep ocean as ink, leaves and grass as pens, so that I can write out, fully and plainly, the sorrow and incurable wound which has gnawed at my heart ever since I proved untrue to my Beloved?  Oh, that I had never been born! What can I do but fling myself into the bottomless pit of melancholy?

Answer of Eternal Wisdom:  Overcome this moodiness by remembering that I came into the world to save you and all poor sinners, to restore each one of you to my Father in original beauty, innocence and uprightness... Do you not recognize me?  How low have you sunk?  Or has excessive weariness of heart dulled your power of recognition?  My dear child, it is I, gentle, merciful Wisdom, who have thrown open forever the boundless halls of my mercy, so vast that even the saints cannot comprehend it, to receive you and all contrite hearts.  It is I, Love personified, who accepted poverty and disgrace so that I might restore you to honor, and who endured a bitter death in order to revivify you.  I stand here livid, dyed with blood and lovable as once I hung on the high gallows of the cross, warding off my Father's severe judgment on you.  It is I, your Brother; look at me, your Spouse.  I have so completely forgotten your misdeeds that it is as if you had never offended me.  All I ask in return is that you dedicate yourself wholly and irrevocably to me.  Bathe yourself in my lovable, red blood.  Lift up your head, open your eyes, and bolster your courage.  Behold, as a pledge of complete forgiveness I now place the ring of our betrothal on your hand, clothe you in the best garments, furnish you with shoes, and confer on you the engaging name of my bride, to have and to hold forever.
--Blessed Henry Suso (+1366)


  1. Deeply moving. So beautiful. Thank you, friend.

  2. Thank you dear Leila. He would have been 24 years old.

  3. I am friends with a saint, redeemed and made whole. I am so inspired by your witness.