Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen
Malvern Minute


Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen

July 22, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat ministry


Song of Songs 3:1-4b

Psalm 63

John 20:1-2, 11-18


For the past year it has been my honor to write the Daily Reflection for the Malvern Retreat House.   I especially enjoy remembering and/or writing about our saints as we commemorate their feast day.  Today it is my pleasure to write about one of my favorite saints, Mary Magdalen.  Interestingly, my parish assignment as a permanent deacon is at Saint Mary Magdalen Church in Media, Pennsylvania.  If you get the opportunity view our website (and yes we spell Magdalen without the last “e.”)     

All too often, we think of Saint Mary Magdalen, whose memorial we celebrate today, as that “sinful woman,” from the Gospel.  Even though it is highly debatable, at least through my own research, whether Mary was actually that unnamed “sinful woman,” she nonetheless has been labeled this way over the centuries. 

What we rarely focus on is how Mary of Magdala was healed by Jesus and how she became a faithful disciple to the Lord.  In the same way, we ourselves can fall into the pattern of recalling only our sins and our sinfulness while forgetting how we too have been healed by God and how we, like Mary, try to be faithful disciples.  In fact, Mary is one of the greatest examples of conversion and amending of a life in the New Testament.

Throughout Sacred Scripture, especially from the Old Testament prophets and the Psalms, our God is a God who removes guilt and pardons sin.  In Mary Magdalen, we find an example of a person who has been healed by Jesus and whose conversion leads her to a life of faithful discipleship.  But at the same time she faces the same human challenges we face and when overcome by grief in the wake of Jesus’ Passion, she is thrown into a kind of “spiritual darkness.”  While in this darkness she is unable to see Jesus standing right before her (see John 20:11-18.).  Saint Ignatius of Loyola wrote that we need to be attentive during such times of spiritual darkness so that we don’t become overly focused on our sins and lose sight of God’s healing power.

So, Like Mary Magdalen who wants to cling to the not-yet risen Christ in her grief, we, in our moments of spiritual darkness, often wish to cling to the notion of ourselves as, well, helpless sinners.  Through our attachment to these limited critical assessments of ourselves, we do not allow the healing power of Christ’s Resurrection to enter deeply into our lives.

As we learn and understand who Saint Mary Magdalen was, “a faithful disciple healed by Jesus,” we need to understand our own self to see that we are beloved disciples also healed by God.  In our moments of darkness and doubt, we must rely on the words in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”

Question of the Day:  How will you “cling” to Jesus with the joy of Saint Mary Magdalen and belong fully to Him. 

Prayer:  God, it was Saint Mary Magdalen before all others that Your Son committed the message of Easter joy.  Through her intercession may we one day contemplate Him reigning in glory.  Amen.  (Lives of the Saints – Illustrated.)

Pleas continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic as well as for peace in our country and in our world.


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