“Mary, do not weep; the Lord is risen from the dead.”
-Responsory, Liturgy of the Hours for Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene
What is the proper response to our own sinfulness? Penance, sorrow, and ultimately, a re-commitment to love: the Magdalene shows us this. She who loved much because she was forgiven much (cf. Luke 7:47) realizes that a disciple’s response to sin is not be scandalized, not to give up, and not to sit dumbfounded by one’s own lack of perfection. She knows this because she was given the privilege of being the first person at the Lord’s tomb. When she wept because all seemed lost, she was told to stop crying. “Do not be afraid, for I have conquered the world,” our Lord tells us (John 16:33). And yet we are often deeply distressed that we do not live up to our expectations of ourselves. We take pride of the image of ourselves that we would like to cultivate, and this image becomes our god.
Reflect instead on the Magdalene. She had no reputation to worry about, because hers was already destroyed. None of the holy men at the time regarded her as anything more than a sinful woman. All she had was Christ, and she was willing to appear foolish for him, to commit luxurious acts of love, to run to his disciples and tell them Her Lord was alive even when they were completely incredulous. Rather than priding ourselves on our own righteousness, why don’t we assume the position of Mary Magdalene, admitting our sinfulness and complete reliance on God’s mercy to get through the day?
St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us, that we may grow in humility, and that we may not be afraid to appear foolish in the eyes of the world in our zeal for God.