A Feastday Table: St Briget of Sweden and St Mary Magdelene of Bethany

This is sadly belated, as these feastdays were the 22nd and 23rd. So happy belated feastdays : ) Finally remembered them only becuase I had a dream last night that made me kind of slow down and back up a bit. In the dream i had entered a church accidentally through a library. I stayed for mass, but various little things kept getting in the way there, like a wedge almost, especially at communion time. The dream left me kind of shaken. But didnt realize how much it had impacted until tonight when suddenly i just "had to" look up the saint for yesterday to see whose day this dream had come on. It was St Bridget of Sweden, an amazing saint and contemplative writer who i really love. It was also really interesting to read tonight that she had to work quite hard to control a bad tempurment, and how that had healed to say the least....now that's encouraging! It was her reigning in on her tempurment that helped her partner as well, such precious blessings there.

But i also couldnt take my eyes off the saint from the day before too, St Mary Magdelene. And read tonight the best ever account/reflection of her life i've seen, from here. Some excerpts:

"We know that she was a sister of Lazarus. According to the traditions and documents of that time, he was a person of high society...Therefore, he and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were persons of a high social level.

However, Mary Magdalene strayed from the good path and became a public sinner. She repented profoundly and became a model of two different things: contemplation and penance.

Her contemplation was marked in contrast with the active life of Martha, who censured Mary for not caring about the needs of the house but only about staying close to Our Lord listening to Him and admiring Him. Our Lord told her: “Martha, Martha, Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken from her.” She represents pure contemplation, unlinked to the active life... In the episode of the banquet, she represented penance, contemplation and complete detachment from worldly goods. To the contrary, Judas represented treason, hatred dissimulated under the pretext of charity, and attachment to material things. The opposition between Mary Magdalene and Judas could not be more flagrant....

When St. Mary Magdalene repented, she completely rejected all those things that had induced her to sin. In her case, this constituted the brilliant things of life. As penance she distanced herself totally from such things, she completely detached herself from them. To achieve such detachment she abandoned all links with the active life and became a pure contemplative. Her contemplation, therefore, was born from penance and detachment. It made her understand the excellence of heavenly things and how every created thing was made to serve and glorify heavenly things. So, nothing could be more consistent for her than to take a very valuable perfume and pour it on the divine feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ...

The processes of both, Mary Magdalene and Judas, are logical. One has the logic of the golden halo; the other, the logic of the black halo. The pathway of a woman who was in sin and became a saint crossed the pathway of an Apostle who was in grace and became a traitor.

What was the most profound reason why one repented and other fell into despair? In my opinion it is because of their different relations with Our Lady.

St. Mary Magdalene was always close to Our Lady, helping her and giving her support, above all at the supreme moment when her Son was crucified and died on Calvary. Judas, however, was cold toward Our Lady. Catharine Emmerick says that before the treason was consummated, Our Lady, who knew what he was planning, approached Judas and spoke with him for a long time, trying to convert him. He rejected everything, and the Gospel affirms that after the Last Supper, the Devil entered his soul...This contrast has many lessons. The principal one is for us to be as close as possible to Our Lady, no matter what our situations are, whether we be in the state of grace or in sin."


No words to add, just a real longing that has been awoken. That "wedge" from the dream, it needs to disapear. Badly. But i'm not sure what it is exactly. What i do know though, from looking at these two amazing Saints, is that letting go of things can definitely be a real part of our love for God.

And Tea at Trianon has this beautiful reflection on St Mary Magdelene:

"In the materialistic society in which we must work out our salvation, we have forgotten, if we ever knew at all, what it is to truly fall in love with God...(Mary Magdeline threw) herself at His feet, even as she shattered the jar of alabaster. With the precious ointment she gave her entire self in a complete oblation...

The ancient tradition of the church tells of how the Magdalen, after Our Lord's Ascension into Heaven, went to the South of France and lived in solitude and contemplation in a cave on a mountain. It is that region in which was born the culture of chivalry and courtly love. St. Mary Magdalen was named the patroness of lovers, not of unsanctified love but of chaste love, of the love that requires sacrifice, unselfishness and renunciation in which to thrive. She represents the spiritual love which enhances the beauty of the union of bride and groom, that union which foreshadows nothing less than the union of Christ with His Bride the Church in the Paradise of eternity."

(Image from here)

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