3rd Character in our Lenten Journey

Although what people say about a particular thing may affect our attitude towards it, our experience of that same thing makes a big difference. We may often hear that a particular film/series is ‘very good’ but as soon as we start watching it, it does not rise to our expectations while sometimes we happen to hear about it and it keeps us stuck to the screen.

We are currently in Lent and I have often heard the experience of people who have heard a particular priest preach the spiritual exercises and it has struck them so much that year after year they will only want to hear his preaching. When something hits us and touches us, we want to keep following it, in order not to lose it.

Mary Magdalene’s experience was similar, but much more powerful because what she received was something far greater than she herself thought she deserved. As parents, we are so used to freely giving ourselves to our children so much so that when they come back from school with a card or a craft made for us, we welcome it as if it were the best gift ever. Who knows how Mary Magdalene felt when she met Jesus, the person who forgave her all her sins and loved her with a love she had never experienced before.

We all know that love for our loved ones, particularly our husbands/wives and children, makes us do things we never imagined we had the strength to actually do. Who knows how many nights we woke up to be with our sick children; done so many contacts and wrote so many applications to find suitable schools for them; how many hours of therapy with children who have special needs, how much time doing housework and cooking to see that our home is a beautiful environment for all who dwell in it. Love indeed can overcome all fear and prevail all weakness.

Mary Magdalene felt that she must continue to follow He who is love personified – Jesus Chris. At a time when almost all the Apostles were not present – that is, under the Cross – love led her not to be afraid but to be there, in spite of the soldiers, in spite of her broken heart, pierced by the injustice of the suffering of an innocent man. Mary was greatly forgiven, and thus she greatly loved – both in word and in deed and on the day of Calvary, also with her presence.

When our children are young, we find it easy to love them in a very practical way – because they depend on us completely! However, when they grow up we sometimes realize that they are going through various forms of suffering and we are at a loss as to what we can do – especially when they do not allow us to enter this space. The same experience can happen to our husbands/wives when they shut themselves down due to work problems, illness or other issues. How can we love in such moments? Mary Magdalene shows us the power of presence, the power of love that when it cannot be expressed in words or deeds it can still be conveyed through our presence. She remained there, silent but present. During his agony, Jesus could look at her and see in her a person who believed in him, followed him and was faithful to him until the very end – not only in the spectaular moments of miracles and great things, but also in this moment of weakness and vulnerability – even when perhaps she herself did not understand what was happening. Mary Magdalene remained there, the disciple following her teacher – to the very end.

This week you can also pray the Seven Moments with the Lord together as a family. Follow the steps here.

Her name was Mary. We call her ‘Magdalene’ because she came from a town called ‘Magdala’. She was one of Jesus’ closest friends. How did this friendship start? She was sick and Jesus healed her. Mary’s life was changed forever after her healing. She wanted to know Jesus and be close to him. And that is what she did!

Jesus called the twleve apostles to follow him and help him in his mission. Jesus did not call Mary, but she followed him out of her own free will. She also helped him with his needs, and at the same same time listened to what he was saying and tried to practice what he preached.

During Jesus’ most difficult moment, his passion, the apostles were so afraid of being hurt that they ran away. Not Mary! She stayed with Jesus until his last moment. When he died on the cross, she was there with the Virgin Mary. When Jesus rose from death, he appeared to Mary Magdalene first and asked her to tell the apostles that he was alive!

When Jesus rose from death, he appeared to Mary Magdalene first

Mary followed Jesus even though he did not ask her to, and she stayed with him until the very end. From all the apostles and disciples, Mary Magdalene was the one who behaved as his best friend: she stayed with him and was overjoyed to tell the world that He is Risen! Let us all  be like Mary Magdalene: let’s be close to Jesus and practice what he preached.

While drawing the picture of Mary Magdalene, we think of our best friends and of those whom we do not like very much: we pray that we too, like Mary Magdalene, be very good friends to those around us.

This is the third figure from Jesus’ Passion that we are discussing during this Lent. Visit the site again next week to learn about other figures, and by the end of Lent you would have the entire scene of Jesus’ crucifixion!

Lent with Father John

Lent with Brother Francis

Lent Daily Videos

Life of Jesus Videos

For more videos about the Lenten season, please click here.