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The Heart of an Apostle: Weekly Message for 07-20-2021
Dear Friends in Christ,
July 22 is the Feast day of Mary Magdalene. When Pope Francis elevated the commemoration of the saint to a feast day in 2016, a renewed fervor for learning more about her was a common theme in my small groups. Who was she and why was she attracting a devoted following of those praying for her intercession?
We know little of her life story from the Gospels themselves, and there are several historical books that attempt to paint the picture of the life and times of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala is one of them.
In praying about this letter, I came across an ICON entitled ‘The Myrrhbearers’ depicting the women arriving at the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. This is celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Churches on the Third Sunday of Pascha (Easter). The image reminded me of the devotion of Mary to Jesus even in what seemed the most challenging of moments.
I was drawn to contemplating the heart of Mary Magdalene. What made her give her whole life over to supporting the evangelizing mission of Jesus? We read in the Gospel references to Mary at the foot of the cross, at the tomb on Easter morning, as one who had seven demons cast out from her and as an eyewitness to the Resurrection with the command from Jesus to ‘go and tell’ the Apostles. If you have had the privilege of watching any of The Chosen series, there is a beautiful line the character playing Mary Magdalene speaks when she is trying to explain her complete transformation. She equates it to encountering the person of Jesus. HE was the difference. Mary encountered the Sacred Heart of Jesus and her own heart was transformed forever.
The transformation of her heart is what drew my friends to grow in their devotion to this saint. If we could all have a heart so convicted by our encounter with the heart of Jesus, we could transform the whole world!
It sounds so easy, but everyone reading this knows life can be hard, and especially today in a culture that is hostile to the Gospel, our hearts waver. That brings me to my favorite saint, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Mother Teresa was very devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When the reality of her daily life was so challenging or filled with suffering and she felt her heart was not strong enough for the task at hand, she would pray to the Blessed Mother to “Lend me your Heart”. Take my weak heart and lend me yours that I may be Jesus to the world at this moment.
As we celebrate the Feast of St Mary Magdalene, let us go out boldly and tell the Good News, Jesus is alive and his Sacred Heart desires to encounter every person you meet. If you find yourself afraid or unsure, then ask the Blessed Mother to lend you her heart then watch as lives are transformed!
Yours in the Heart of Jesus,