Mary, mother of God. The start of a new year.
Mary, mother of God. Salvation is born from her, she listened to the angel’s announcement.
She held it close to her.
Mary, mother of God listens to the message of an angel delivered by shepherds; and holds it in her heart.
Mary, mother of God; salvation is born from her. A new testament begins.
Always open to those angelic voices, and attentive to the voice of the LORD.
Through her, the word becomes flesh. She, the perfect disciple of her son.
Immaculate Mary, free from sin. She intercedes on our behalf, the bearer of the LORD.
Hail Mary, full of grace. God’s Grace. Blessed are thou amongst women, blessed by the LORD. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, our salvation.
Mary at the annunciation, and the nativity, and at the foot of the Cross.
Mother of God, and always by her Son. Something to remember as one stumbles on a walk or a trek or a journey.
Her intercession can make that journey safe, Mary the Mother of God.
Mary at the Assumption crowned in heaven, never far from her son.
Mary mother of God, pray for us.
That you’re Son might guide us through a new year.
Here is a lightly read post from a few years back :
Sometimes what I find interesting is the clustering of readings, and saints, and seasons, memorials and feast days. It is looking at the liturgical calendar not as disconnected days, but as a continuous celebration. Yesterday it was the feast if the Immaculate Conception, today Juan Diego, and today the gospel of Jesus going for the lost sheep.
For the Immaculate Conception, I can ponder its teaching of Mary conceived without the stain of original sin, and I can think of Mary as the Patron of a new “immaculate world.” Mary, the model of the new Eve is also patron of a New World. Into that New World comes the European missionaries who carry Christ across the seas, as Mary carried Christ in her womb. The fruit of those missionaries is Juan Diego, and through Juan comes a new title for Mary that is Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It is Immaculate Mary that is the model for Church, and it is that Church brings her Son to this new world. In that lies a mission, the Churches evangelical mission, and a responsibility; to bring Christ as Mary did which is to serve God and not our individual selfish needs. Immaculate Mary is indeed born without sin.
In thinking of that Immaculate Mary and the journey to the new world, I can also ponder in the back of my mind Jesus going after the lost sheep. In His journey for these sheep, many times he too journeyed by boat across the Sea of Galilee where he cured many, and conquered many demons. To go back to the boats of Europe sailing to the new world, I think did their mission emulate Jesus’s and did they faithfully follow the guidance of Immaculate Mary? That’s a complicated question, but in many ways they did work under the guidance of Mary of that title and many times they did not. Man is sinful, and bears that burden of original sin. Many times they brought their demons rather than chase them out, it’s the sinful nature of man.
The counter argument then is this; was the New World Immaculate before those Christian explorers arrived? Again, one for the scholars but I would guess not; they too were human and bore that stain of original sin. And then there is Juan Diego, caught between both those worlds who discovers Mary, Immaculate Mary in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus saved a sheep through the intercession of his Mother. I wonder then as those Europeans who entered this New World, I wonder how many of them were brought salvation anew through their encounters with people like Juan Diego? It’s a ramble, and a journey. The truth though is that Immaculate Mary does the journey with us. She is present in the Old and the New World, and ever Immaculate to guide us on our little rambles through life.
Mary Magdalene approaches the Lords tomb, and she unknowingly encounters the risen Lord. “Woman, why are you weeping ?” the Gardner Jesus asks! She is to tell the disciples of the Lords resurrection, this is her day.
Her name, Mary Magdalene, has its origins in the north Galilean town of Magdale. Mary was Jewish, though the town of her family was gentile. Like the Hebrews wandering through a desert, she also was suspended between cultures. Culturally , she likely had many of the mannerisms and traditions of the Gentiles, though she also likely identified strongly with her religious background of Judaism. Both identified with, and cast out from both groups. With that type of background, I have to wonder what reception she received from the Pharisee’s?
Their view of the covenant would have cast her as unclean simply through her association with the gentile towns people. I also have to wonder how the chastising by the orthodoxy might have shaped her spiritually. My guess is the ostracized saint would have been humbled, wounded, neglected, and possibly strengthened. That cultural background helps me to visualize some of the demons Jesus cast from her. Through her background I also get a glimpse into the ministry of Jesus, Jesus devoted much time ministering to those regions of Galilee. She is an example of the many wounds He healed throughout the region, and of the many demons He had driven out. Both penitent and liberated through the forgiveness of sin.
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
In learning of Mary’s background , her devotion takes on a greater meaning. Her devotion does much to describe Christianity , and it is no wonder she is the one to deliver the message of Jesus resurrection to the other disciples. She is the one that gained so much through Christ that she could never abandon Him. She is a testament to the strength, and dignity gained through Christ. Hers is a passion for Christ, as she knows well the indignity of a life without Christ. She is the one the Lord cast seven demons from, and one can assume during the years she was possessed by her demons were the years she could not see the Lord.
Tell us, Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.
Standing besides an empty tomb was as frightening as if those devils latched onto her again. Her fear is of that of which she thinks is to come. She fears the return of the dark days of her past, she fears being separated from the grace of God again. She fears being plunged back into darkness and of being driven back into her tomb to die. The agony of Mary of Magdale is not something discussed much.
We learn of her when she is set free of her demons. We meet her when Jesus enters into her life, there is no biblical dialogue of her darkness when she is separated from the grace of God. We hear of her passion for the Lord. It is evident as she stands by the cross, and when she anoints him with a pricey ointment, and when she bathes His feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. Her passion for Christ is well documented, but as she stands at an empty tomb we are reminded of her fear. Her agonizing fear is that she might have to return to the darkness her savior rescued her from. We should hear the panic in her voice when she screams Where is my Lord, where have you taken him. It is through her panic that we can understand her joy. It is through her darkness that we see His shining light. The contrasts of Mary Magdalene should not be forgotten. She has crawled through the darkness, and has bathed in the light.
Mary’s contrasts is what makes her relevant today. She is truly human and has witnessed the mud of this earth. In her journey she is able to guide others from darkness to light, she knows the path because she has traveled it herself. Her name, Magdalene, is synonymous with sin and suffering and pain. Her name Mary evokes Mother of God, and that speaks of redemption and salvation. Mary Mother of God, the virgin who listens to an angels voice. “Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee!” She gives birth at the nativity and salvation enters the world. The Mary Magdalene brings forth new life too, the angels listen to her tears of labor crying for her Lord. The angels ask “Woman, why are you weeping” and she replies “They have taken my Lord.” The gardener asks “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Then He calls her by name, “Mary!” and suddenly she recognizes Him, the risen LORD!
Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
Pre-Ramble:I think it might be a good time for a ramble, there have been a few things I have pondered the past few weeks.(…and Today’s scriptures also seem to have generated at least some thoughts.. .) From other articles I have spent my time reading, I also have begun to look at the differences in spirituality between the liturgy before and after Vatican-two. The scripture readings of today are that of Martha and Mary, and also Abraham, Sarah, and the visit of the three angels. All of the topics are not closely related, but they are a log of a week’s thoughts, and thoughts tend to merge together. Let’s start with the liturgy. End Pre-Ramble
There has been enormous chatter regarding our modern Mass and its familiar theme of gather around the table. The imagery is of course from the last supper. The flow of that Mass often seems to be first awaiting everyone to assemble, then for a group to prepare the meal, then the feast, and finally its conclusion. The generalized feeling is that the meal does not take place without my presence, and that my presence requires my participation. It also seems, at least to me, to have three parts. It has a beginning, middle, and end. How does that contrast with the Liturgy of old?
For start, while the new-fangled Mass has a distinct beginning and end, the traditional Mass seems continuous. It seems continuous as the Liturgy of Hours is a continuous prayer. Why does one Mass seem continuous while the other periodic? The reason, to me, is that the traditional Mass neither requires my presence or my participation. It continues like clockwork with nothing dependent on me. That also implies that I receive a benefit independent on my action. It is a Mass that is said for me, and not with me. It is a lot like salvation, something done for me by the LORD, without any input from me. With the Mass I witness what was done for me. It explains Christ’s sacrifice, and the Mass is said in a manner that reminds one of the eternal and the perpetual. It is everlasting.
Now for the two or three sentence commentary. First, I think both are valid but I also think the “new Mass” should be presented in a way that it explains the traditional Mass to Christians. That says they should complement each other, and not compete against each other. The new should not exist without the old. Now for the next topic. Many might argue.
The scriptures also speak of old and new. Take the apperance of the Angels to Abraham Gn 18:1-10a. The Angels appeared as three, and three angels speaks loudly of a famous Russian Icon called the “Hospitality of Abraham.” That icon (Andrei Rublev’s) also is known to represent the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The New Testament described in the Old. New and Old, and what about Abraham and Sarah? It is Abraham that converses with the Angels. It is Abraham that tells Sarah to prepare a meal. The Angels tell Abraham that the elderly Sarah will have a child. It is Abraham’s hospitality that reaps reward. It is described in the narrative of a patriarchy. What about the New? In the New Testament it is a young virgin that speaks to an angel, and she is told directly that she will carry the Lord. There is a comparison between the two. The comparison can be continued with Elizabeth and Zachariah. God enters into creation without the efforts of a Patriarch. Man need not do anything for the grace of salvation. We are saved by God, God alone. If man does anything, he makes mistakes. He sins. That theme continues with Martha and Mary Lk 10:38-42. Jesus informs the disgruntled Martha that Mary has chosen the better path. Mary simply listens to the Word of God, and that is what the Lord asks everyone to do. Certainly that does not mean that the efforts of Martha were for nothing, they were important not just the most important. Just as in the Mass my participation is important, but it is infinitesimally less important than what Jesus Christ did for me.