I am skipping the #goodenoughmom link up this week with my girl Charity. I don’t do this lightly, however. I have a special announcement that could only be shared today.
As you know, I am being received as a Novice with the Lay Dominicans. This means that on the Feast of St. Dominic (or August 8th) I am officially in! Granted, I have two years of study and presentations before I make temporary promises, then another year after before I make final promises. I know it’s a serious commitment on my part, but I keep looking at it from their perspective. They have faith in me, that I will remain committed for that long. For me, this faith in my faith, touches the deepest parts of my heart.
What’s the announcement? I had to choose a saint name that I will formally undertake to signify that I’m starting a new life, in a spiritual sense. Choosing a saint name also helps me have a saintly model to strive towards and also to have their prayers, for me, in heaven. I did some research and thought about it for a while. I even looked up Dominican saint names to choose from, and sure enough, I finally landed on one that I knew instantly that I should take.
St. Mary Magdalene is Protectress of the Dominican Order and is referred to in Early Christian writings as “The Apostle to the Apostles”. In Luke 7:36-50 She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, kissed them and anointed them with ointment from a fine alabaster box. Jesus, knew how sorry she was for her sins and forgave her – much to the Pharisees chagrin. From then on, she was the most faithful of disciples. She was with him when he was crucified, weeping and the first to look for him at the tomb and saw He wasn’t there.
In a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great he says:
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.
St. Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of women, penitent sinners, people ridiculed for their piety and contemplatives among others. Today is her feast day. See why I had to post this today? Mark 15:41 tells us that women “followed Him and cared for his needs” The disciples were supporting the ministry while women, St. Mary Magdalene being one of them, probably helped with preparing meals and looked for places to house them. She was preparing soft places for Jesus to lay His head, I imagine. She was probably worried for His well being, had He eaten enough? Was He getting enough water? Did He have enough time to pray in solitude? Her every thought, I imagine was Jesus. She lingered before his tomb, distraught when she found He wasn’t there. She turned around to hear someone ask her why she was weeping? Turned out that “gardener”, that person, was Jesus, comforting her as He had when he released the 7 demons she was possessed with.
The risen Jesus had appeared, not to rulers and kings, nor even first of all to his male disciples, but to a woman whose love had held her at the cross and led her to the grave. Mary Magdalene, a person who had been afflicted by demons, whose testimony would not have held up in a court because she was a woman, was the first witness of the resurrection. Once again, God had revealed himself to the lowly, and it would only be the humble whose hearing was sharp enough to perceive the message of his love.
I chose her because I am the lowly, and God found me with limp arms, unable to carry my load any longer. He knelt before me and looked up at me, it was the only way he could see into my cast-down eyes. I can remember the night when I cried out to Him. I didn’t know that that’s what I was doing. How this cry would forever change my life. But it has. When I pray the morning prayer, it’s this Psalm specifically (one of the penitent psalms) that I identify with:
From Psalm 51
For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.
Against you, you alone have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your eyes
So that you are just in your word,
and without reproach in your judgment.
St. Mary Magdalene, keep me humble. Keep me always lingering on Our Lord, for it is there that He will come to me, and comfort the weathered wounds of my heart.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.