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Saint of the Day – St. Mary Magdealene

Except for the mother of Jesus, few women are more honored in the Bible than Mary Magdalene. Yet she could well be the patron of the slandered, since there has been a persistent legend in the Church that she is the unnamed sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7:36-50.

Most Scripture scholars today point out that there is no scriptural basis for confusing the two women. Mary Magdalene, that is, “of Magdala,” was the one from whom Christ cast out “seven demons” (Luke 8:2)—an indication at the worst, of extreme demonic possession or possibly, severe illness.

Writing in the New Catholic Commentary, Father Wilfrid J. Harrington, O.P., says that “seven demons” “does not mean that Mary had lived an immoral life—a conclusion reached only by means of a mistaken identification with the anonymous woman of Luke 7:36.” In the Jerome Biblical Commentary, Father Edward Mally, S.J., agrees that she “is not…the same as the sinner of Luke 7:37, despite the later Western romantic tradition about her.”

Mary Magdalene was one of the many “who were assisting them [Jesus and the Twelve] out of their means.” She was one of those who stood by the cross of Jesus with his mother. And, of all the “official” witnesses who might have been chosen for the first awareness of the Resurrection, she was the one to whom that privilege was given. She is known as the “Apostle to the Apostles.”

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“Why are you weeping?” the angels ask her as she leans into the tomb. Mary Magdalene is not ashamed of her emotion; she is not hesitant in her answer. She is missing her Lord. No, she does not fully grasp the great theological mysteries of the passion and the resurrection that she is about to encounter. She cannot explain that she leans in to look because everything about Jesus indicated there was something greater coming on the other side of his hideous death. All she knows is that she is there because she is looking for her Lord. And that is enough to lead her straight to the Resurrected One.”

—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels

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“Let us thank God for having called us to His holy faith. It is a great gift, and the number of those who thank God for it is small.”

— St. Alphonsus Liguori

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“God loves everyone with unique love; he wants to lead them all to perfection, but at the same time has very different paths for different people. This means that the frequency and characteristics of the inspirations of grace will differ from one person to another. We cannot force the Spirit, God is the master of his gifts. That said, it cannot be doubted that God will grant each person at least the inspirations he needs for his own sanctification.”

— Fr. Jacques Philippe

“The secret of Saint Francis’ joyful spirit was his vibrant belief in a God of overflowing goodness and love. Francis was so in love with God that at times he would pick up two sticks from the ground, tuck one under his chin like a violin and move the other over it like a bow. Then, in an ecstasy of joy, he would sing in French songs of love and praise to God.

Francis used to say that he wanted his followers to go about the world like strolling minstrels, “to inspire the hearts of people and stir them to spiritual joy.” They give us an example to follow in our own day!”

–from the blog “The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis”

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“Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.”

— St. Vincent de Paul

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“The Church, which has spread everywhere, even to the ends of the earth, received the faith from the apostles and their disciples . . . Having one soul and one heart, the Church holds this faith, preaches and teaches it consistently as though by a single voice. For though there are different languages, there is but one tradition.”

— St. Ignatius of Antioch

 

 

“There has always been a diverse group of personalities at table with the Lord. At this time in history, you and I now are present. We, like the apostles, are unreliable and weak and afraid. We are inconstant in our devotion to our Lord. We deny him, we betray him.

But Jesus is I Am. He is constant.

The One who sits with arms outstretched in the Da Vinci depiction, who sat in the center of the table in that Upper Room, sits now in the center of our hearts with arms outstretched. He died on the cross out of love for us. He is continually with us, welcoming us, and looking at us with his loving, tender gaze, just as he looked at Peter. What he did at table, he continues to do with all our varied and challenged humanity, a variety of personalities that is forever and continually represented in every church, in every upper room, throughout our entire world, where “two or three are gathered together in his name” (Matthew 18:20).”

—from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life

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“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds . . . What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”

— St. Thomas More

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“We must be present with and to the Lord, in silence as Mary practiced silence. We begin with silence of the will, that is, willing nothing but the will of God. Begin here and the rest will come. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will experience silence. Guard and protect it with love and you will become a garden enclosed. Silence is the soil for the seed of the word.”

— Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

 

 

“There is a life force flowing through the universe, and everything exists in a single moment, forever unfolding. I open myself to the stream. I want to be emptied and purified so that the past is no longer my lens—so that it no longer colors what I see. What will it be like to look without fear or expectation, to see things with nothing in the way? Who will I be if I am not afraid, but alive? There is everything to experience, and the portal beyond the darkness to know.”

—from the book Stars at Night: When Darkness Unfolds as Light

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“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God. If the revelation of God through creation already brings life to all living beings on the earth, how much more will the manifestation of the Father by the Word bring life to those who see God.”

— St. Irenaeus

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“I will first, dearest daughter, speak to thee of the dignity of priests, having placed them where they are through My goodness, over and above the general love which I have had to My creatures, creating you in My image and likeness and re-creating you all to the life of grace in the Blood of My Only-begotten Son, whence you have arrived at such excellence, through the union which I made of My Deity with human nature; so that in this you have greater dignity and excellence than the angels, for I took your human nature and not that of the angels. Wherefore, as I have said to you, I, God, have become man, and man has become God by the union of My Divine Nature with your human nature. This greatness is given in general to all rational creatures, but, among these I have especially chosen My ministers for the sake of your salvation, so that, through them, the Blood of the humble and immaculate Lamb, My Only-begotten Son, may be administered to you.”

— St. Catherine Of Siena

 

 

“We long to be in touch with life, to touch and to be touched. Yet, we are also afraid of letting anything “get at us.” Afraid of letting life come too close, we keep it at arm’s length and don’t even realize what fools we are making of ourselves. We are going through life like someone stepping into the shower, carefully keeping the umbrella up. We are holding on to our hats, our tokens of social identity and respectability.

Far be it from us to make fools of ourselves! It takes a bit of life experience to realize that our choice is merely between making fools of ourselves either intentionally or unintentionally.”

—from the book The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life

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“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little person to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood.”

— St. Therese of Lisieux

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“God never caused the virtues and singular merit of Joseph to shine with greater splendor than when He said to him by the mouth of the angel, ‘Take the Child and His mother’ (Matt. 2:13, 20); for in them He committed to him His most precious treasures, giving him thus the preference over all the blessed spirits of Heaven; and Joseph received these two sacred persons into his care, to be their protector, their guardian, and defender.”

— Edward Healy Thompson

 

“Unless I am connected to God, who invented the happiness I’m seeking, I come up frustrated, angry, and disappointed by life—empty instead of full. When I feel disconnected from God, I feel restless—not at peace with myself, with my God, or with others.”

—from the book Born to Soar: Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life

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“Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents. Parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace in the world.”

— St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

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“There is, actually, only one person in all humanity of whom God has one picture and in whom there is a perfect conformity between what he wanted her to be and what she is, and that is his own mother. Most of us are a minus sign, in the sense that we do not fulfill the high hopes the heavenly Father has for us. But Mary is the equal sign. The ideal that God had of her, that she is, and in the flesh. The model and the copy are perfect; she is all that was forseen, planned, and dreamed. The melody of her life is played just as it was written.”

— Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 

 

“My God, Lord, how long? I thought. How much longer? Will this suffering that I had already endured for years never end? And I had a very short but very decisive moment of clarity. I thought, Christ never lied. He never said that following him was going to be easy. He said, “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it,” (Matthew 7:14), and that’s because to go through the narrow gate hurts. It hurts like hell. It hurt for him. And he never lied.”

—from the book Stumble: Virtue, Vice, and the Space Between

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“Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself.”

— St. Teresa of Avila

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“The works of man, whether they are good or bad, are not always isolated, transitory acts; more often, especially in the case of the leaders of nations and those who are invested with public authority, they continue to subsist after they are concluded, either in the memory of other men or in public acclaim, as a result of the consequences they have had and the scandal they have caused. Thus, at first sight, a particular, secret crime seems to be only a private, personal deed; but it becomes social on account of its effects. Certainly it is of faith that there is a particular judgment, and that every man, at the instant of his soul’s departure from the body, appears before the tribunal of God to hear his eternal sentence pronounced. Yet this judgment cannot suffice, and it is essential that it should be followed by another public judgment, in which God will not examine the actions in isolation and taken in themselves, but will examine them in their effects upon other men, in the good or evil deriving from them for families and peoples—in a word, in the consequences they produced and which those who perpetrated them ought to have foreseen.”

— Fr. Charles Arminjon

 

“I believe the joy that is at the heart of the Franciscan alleluia proceeds from this inner realization, which descends upon us at ever deeper levels as we walk our faith journey. This deepening is the only real goal of Christian contemplation, and is the heart of the Perennial Tradition of wisdom. This is how Francis and Clare, and all contemplatives, “know” things: “The soul itself is an image of God, to which God is so present that the soul can actually grasp God, and ‘is capable of possessing God and of being a partaker in God” (Saint Bonaventure). With that we can move forward. In fact, we can move far and wide and confidently forward.”

–from the book Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

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“Every grace granted to man has three degrees in order; for by God it is communicated to Christ, from Christ it passes to the Virgin, and from the Virgin it descends to us.”

— St. Bernardine of Siena

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“Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men whom he could have created in place of you; but he has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you, he has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which he has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to him.”

— St. Alphonsus Liguori

 

 

“In the host of saints of the Catholic Church, there has never been one so connected to the earth, yet so joined to the Spirit. The rhythm of the seasons, the cycles of the moon, the bounty of the harvests, and the elements of wind and fire surrounded her each day. And from this organic simplicity, a huge capacity for spiritual communion with Christ was nurtured and matured like a mighty tree, the symbol of the Iroquois. Yet Saint Kateri Tekakwitha remained a gentle lily.”

–from the book Lily of the Mohawks

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“You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart.”

— St. Padre Pio

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“Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues. There is no getting away from it; the Christian rule is, ‘Either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.’ Now this is so difficult and so contrary to our instincts, that obviously either Christianity is wrong or our sexual instinct, as it now is, has gone wrong. One or the other. Of course, being a Christian, I think it is the instinct which has gone wrong … God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. Before we can be cured we must want to be cured. Those who really wish for help will get it; but for many modern people even the wish is difficult … We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity—like perfect charity—will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God’s help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.”

— C. S. Lewis

 

 

“When you pray, you only have to ask for two things: You should ask for the light to see the will of God, and you have to ask for the courage to be able to do the will of God.”

— Venerable Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz

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A Pilgrim Prays by Walking

“That is very simply what a pilgrim does: walk. And it is the way the pilgrim prays, with his or her feet. And the feet walk through dark clouds to illumination to the light that is holy action. Through dark, cloud-filled days to a hint of subtle lightening to the sun breaking through, the feet taking us where we least thought we’d go, where before we had thought darkness dwelt, and finding there instead, in bright sunlight, the broken, the poor, the marginal, those made ugly or disfigured by abuse and oppression and woundedness. We are changed simply by walking, rain or shine, toward and back from whatever shrine we had thought contained our hope and longing. We walk back toward what was there all along that we could not see.”

–from the book Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality

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“My great God, you know all that is in the universe, because you yourself have made it. It is the very work of your hands. You are omniscient, because you are omnicreative. You know each part, however minute, as perfectly as you know the whole. You know mind as perfectly as you know matter. You know the thoughts and purposes of every soul as perfectly as if there were no other soul in the whole of your creation. You know me through and through; all my present, past, and future are before you as one whole. You see all those delicate and evanescent motions of my thought which altogether escape myself. You can trace every act, whether deed or thought, to its origin and can follow it into its whole growth and consequences. You know how it will be with me at the end; you have before you that hour when I shall come to you to be judged. How awful is the prospect of finding myself in the presence of my judge! Yet, O Lord, I would not that you should not know me. It is my greatest stay to know that you read my heart. Oh, give me more of that openhearted sincerity which I have desired. Keep me ever from being afraid of your eye, from the inward consciousness that I am not honestly trying to please you. Teach me to love you more, and then I shall be at peace, without any fear of you at all.”

— Bl. John Henry Newman

 

 

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