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Saints This Month - 22 July, Mary Magdalen Secondary Patron of the Order of Preachers

Sunday, July 26, 2009

St. Mary Magdalene is the secondary patron of our Order with good reason. She was the first to witness the resurrection of our Lord and she was the first to preach it! She rightly deserves the title “Apostle to the Apostles”.

The character of Mary is a subject of much debate and controversy. Tradition has identified her as a repentant prostitute and adulteress. Pseudo-historical ‘research’, pulp-fiction, and early second century heresies have tried to suggest that she was married to Jesus (the Golden Legend notes that “some say she was married to St. John the Evangelist"). What we know from the Gospels is that Jesus cast out seven demons from within her and that she followed Our Lord to Jerusalem and was at the foot of the cross during the crucifixion. The Gospel of John has Mary arriving early on Easter Sunday morning to anoint the body of Jesus. At first she did not recognise the Risen Lord but after He called her name she recognised him and exclaimed “Rabboni!” Our Lord commanded her then to go to the disciples.

One interesting tradition attached to Mary is Easter eggs. It is said that she was called to the Emperor Tiberius and the Imperial household where she preached the risen Christ. The pagan emperor took a white egg in his hand and mocked the Apostle saying that such an event was as likely as the egg he held turning red. As might be expected, the egg turned red.

Mary is an example to all Christians of true discipleship. We must all encounter and recognise Jesus but we must also follow him to Calvary and the cross. It is not enough merely to observe, but like Mary, we must proclaim the risen Christ to the whole world.

Mark Davoren


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