Resting with Jesus

pic4

+JMJ

Sometimes life can get very busy. Besides work, duties, vocal prayers that I need to finish somewhere in between, – it’s so easy to forget to just BE with Jesus.

Yet I think this is something so healing, and something that He really wishes for.

I have been thinking recently, what are the desires of His Heart.. Fears and anxieties can be very paralysing yet God doesn’t intend for us to live that way. Though we have crosses to carry, I believe He wants us to carry them with trust and abandonment to His Will, not stopping at resignation.

Yet sometimes, a mere effort of the will isn’t enough to receive this grace. We need to spend time with Jesus and let Him work in our hearts and help us to open up to Him. Time spent in mental prayer or Adoration can be a chance to just rest with Jesus and let the transforming radiance of His light and love permeate our souls. Is this not the meaning of contemplation – to forget all else except Jesus, look upon Him and love Him. I’m sure if we could see Him with our eyes, we would not ever want to look away!

What does Jesus want?

Often I want to give something beautiful to God. But in certain moments I feel I have nothing really to give. We can give Him that nothing… And one thing I’m beginning to realise is that in that moment, Jesus delights in GIVING to us.

Its a great mercy from God when He receives our little gifts. What must be the Mercy of His Heart when He simply gives to a soul who has nothing? In those times we feel we have only sins, failures and anxieties, but we no longer pretend.

And what’s even more amazing is that Jesus doesn’t only generously give to us, but inexpressibly DELIGHTS in that!

In those moments when He just wants us to forget all things and love Him (is His desire for every moment to be like that?) am I still clinging to my anxieties, attempts at vocal prayers, or trying to prove my worth to Him? Yes there is a time to give to Jesus, to prove our love. Yet even in this, we need Him, we need grace.

Maybe Jesus just wishes I would let go and not escape His embrace any longer. He wants a time of nothing but love between Him and my heart – a time that would allow Him to act freely.

As I consider that this is a time of great consolation and delight to Jesus, I wonder how much have I understood His Heart? How can it be that God would have such joy not just when we give to Him, but when He gives of Himself to our poor little souls? Do I ever delight with Him about my nothingness, or complain about it?

It astounds me to think that Jesus isn’t only the “beggar of love” as some have called Him. His humility is so deep that He begs TO love. It is rest to us, and to Him. And He knows that in our pride, distrust, or fear – we may still say no to this greatest and most free gift.

She who loved much: Mary Magdalene’s example

The Vine of God's own Heart Desires and implores The Sun_ It expects everything FROM HIM ___ Nothing has meaning WITHOUT HIM, seeks HIM ONLY_ _Fervent Com

+JMJ

She who loved much

If you are anything like me, maybe words like these have crossed your mind at some point:

Does God actually want me?

If this person knew my past, they probably wouldn’t be my friend anymore.

I’m not worthy of any vocation so I doubt I have one

We are called to be saints but is it too late for me?

Such thoughts may happen if like me, you have a past. I wasn’t always a practising Christian and at some point lived a very different life. Though I went to Confession and knew I was forgiven, I still felt – different, stained, forever ‘ruined’ somehow. I had a chance to make the right choices and I didn’t. God forgave me, but would I ever forget them?

I looked at the “good Catholic girl” persona I built up for myself. I wear a crucifix and try to dress the way I should. I’m involved at my parish. However, the person next to me at Mass has no idea that the girl next to them who prays and maybe “looks Catholic” has lived a very sinful life. Most of my friends don’t even know. What would happen to our friendship if they found out – everything? They are good people and they’d probably just be glad I found God eventually. Yet sometimes there’s this nagging doubt – if people knew, would they reject me?

One day I came across the Gospel passage about the “sinful woman” with the perfume. I was touched to the depth of my heart by what Jesus did for her. Most Catholic scholars consider her to be St Mary Magdalene. So I imagined her… Everyone knew she had a sinful past. She must have been constantly reminded of it, and didn’t feel worthy of anything. Maybe she struggled fiercely to overcome her sins, because of a look Jesus gave her as He walked past, and some words she heard Him say of God’s longing for her soul. She heard Jesus would be at this house; she came there, and there He was! She wanted to run up to Him right then. Yet there were people all around Him… important people like the Pharisees. They would only throw her out. If she could reach Him, she would thank Him from her heart.

However, these other people – they weren’t thanking Him.. they were involved in their own conversation and they didn’t wash His feet, or treat Him like an honoured guest. He had done so much for them, cured the sick, and showed them such compassion – and no one did anything for Him. So then she forgot all her fear of these people, and what they would think, and took the most expensive perfume she owned. She entered the room and went right up to Jesus. He was at the table with the really important people, but she no longer saw them. She no longer saw anyone except her beloved Savior.

He must have felt tired from so much walking and caring for these souls… She bent low at His feet and tears streamed from her eyes. She was overcome with gratitude and contrition. The tears fell over His feet and she took her long dark hair, and wiped them. She covered His feet with her kisses and cried. She poured the perfume over His feet and its fragrance filled the whole room. It was like she was pouring her whole heart before Him.

But what would He say? Perhaps she wondered.. These things she was doing were so bold. They were too bold. She was afraid to look around because doubtless, the people around her and all the Pharisees were staring at her. They were probably talking about her too, and about how she is not supposed to be there.. Fear filled her – would Jesus send her away too? She knelt to the ground by His feet. If He tells me to go, she thought, I’d have no where else to go, and there would be no hope for me at all.

She looked up at Him very quickly… would He look angry, or repulsed? She was a sinner, and so she should not have been touching Him at all. Especially not Jesus, who is so holy. Yet she saw only love in His beautiful eyes, and heard the words:

“Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less” (Luke 7: 44-47, D-R)

Then, He turned to her and said, “Thy sins are forgiven”. “Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace”.

No matter how sinful we feel our past is, we don’t need to be afraid to love Jesus. Any sins we have committed in the past, are not only forgiven when we confess them, but forgotten. We can love Him greatly, even like the Saints. I’ll borrow an idea from St. John of Avila: Jesus did not turn away from His executioners as they nailed His hands and feet to the Cross. He looked at them with infinite compassion and prayed to the Father to forgive them. If He showed only endless love to those who killed Him, what would His response be to someone who comes to love Him in return? For example, someone who comes to visit Him when He’s all alone in the Tabernacle, forgotten by most of the world. This person comes and says something that Our Lord desires to hear from each soul – “I love You Jesus”. Would He truly turn them away?

A priest once asked me – if I could see Jesus, how do I think He would look at me? I tried to imagine this many times since then. I’m sure when I’ll actually see Him someday, I’ll realize that all my imagination completely falls short. Yet thinking of this can be very healing. This look of perfect love that we long for in the deepest part of our souls, is the same look that He gives us in the Eucharist, and from the Cross. We only have to come to Mass to meet Him. I believe He wants us to give Him this fear, and with trust abandon ourselves to His embrace.

Also posted at Made4More

(image credit: http://holycardheaven.blogspot.ca/

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

image unaltered)

Arise!

“After these things was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity. When Jesus had seen him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed” (John 5: 1-10, Douay-Rheims).

This Bible passage has been on my heart after trying to deal with some feelings of loneliness. I wanted to explore the message that Jesus was trying to articulate. Once I did I realized that I, too, am ‘the man who cannot walk’. I am crippled by my own human weakness, events in the past that continue to affect me, and most of all a seeming impossibility of solving the problem myself. Sometimes we go through things that we don’t know how to explain to another person and experience a type of loneliness in suffering. Thankfully, Jesus does not wait for us to become strong enough by ourselves, and wants us to turn to Him as the source our healing and strength.

Just like this man, sometimes we come to a place where we feel completely alone. It doesn’t even have to be something exterior like an illness. It can be an internal trial that we feel we can’t share with others, and wonder if anyone would really understand. Or it may be a mental illness, like depression, anorexia or bipolar disorder that can be misunderstood by others – this can bring much loneliness and feelings of being judged and uncared for.

One Sunday, as I thought about this Gospel passage at Mass, I realized some things about this man that I didn’t notice before. He was in a place with a lot of other sick people. Yet for such a long time (38 years!) he couldn’t receive the healing that he longed for. He was so close! He was right beside the pond, and all he had to do was go into it, but he couldn’t even do that. Was he tempted to believe that God had forgotten him? That He didn’t care? After all, it was God’s Angel who brought the healing – why to everyone else and not to him? Maybe if there was someone to help him get into the pond, he could be healed. But he didn’t even have that. No one would take pity on him and do the simple act of carrying him into a pond that was so near. Every time he tried, he didn’t have enough time and someone else always got there first. How frustrating and discouraging that must be!

I don’t know for sure what it was like for this man, but he must have felt forgotten, alone and like no one cared enough to help him. It was like he was the smallest, most forgotten person in society. Even in his need, no one took pity. There are many people like this and how does Jesus respond to them? How does He see the poor old woman wearing a curtain for a skirt, that I saw one day in the city? Or the man on the street who feels ignored by everyone as he begs for a few cents? Or people who try really hard but feel cast aside by society, and someone always gets ahead of them? Maybe we are not in such situations but there are times we can feel very helpless too – when we can’t help ourselves, and we wonder if others understand. As a young girl, I struggled with feelings of loneliness and didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know how. Sometimes I can still feel like that little girl despite being grown up now. Little sufferings compared to these others, but even the littleness of them could be discouraging – “no one would understand why this is a big deal to me, but it is, so I’ll stay silent”. How much in us always stays in our heart, unknown to all others? Maybe you can relate.

What is Jesus’ response to all this? Is it the response we fear from the rest of the world? “It is not a big deal. Deal with it”. Or just blind indifference? Does He see the depth of the heart that we can’t communicate to others, – the part of the heart that no one will ever know? It’s so comforting to read this passage because we see that He does care. He understood everything about this man. He saw him as a priceless person whom He created and gave an immortal soul to. He saw the hope He has for this man – a life of eternal glory and the beatific vision of God in Heaven. He saw his childhood and his whole life, all his experience of life that remained unknown to others. He saw his sins. He saw his anguish at being near this pond for thirty eight years, not being able to enter there on time and having no one to help him.

And He came to the man Himself. He didn’t just ask another person to help him and carry him to the pond. He didn’t see all the other people first. He came to the MOST helpless man there, almost like He sought him out, and came to that place just for him! Though this man was forgotten by everyone else, He was the one Jesus chose. Our Lord healed him simply by willing it – “Arise, take up thy bed, and walk”. If you feel like you are alone, dealing with a situation that you can’t easily talk about or express and if you feel like you don’t have a friend to help you or if you feel overcome with unworthiness and too sinful to approach God, remember that there is never such fear with Jesus. He looks deep into our hearts and understands everything in an instant. He hears our prayers when we don’t have words to express what we need. And even for the most miserable person in the whole world – Jesus would seek them out.

Comment from Made4More blog: “If you know someone struggling with depression or a crippling illness, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and offer love and support. The gift of your presence is enough, you don’t need to go out of your way to do huge gestures of love, start with the small things (sending a care package, visiting them, taking them out for a coffee). These gestures widen our capacity to love others more deeply.”

Also posted at Made4More

What is God like?

Charity and purity are the most beautiful ornament of the Heart_ Turgis

(just a list i came up with one day while thinking..what is Jesus like..who is He?)

..merciful
Savior
unconditionally loving
rest for our souls
Prince of Peace
victorious over death and darkness
forgiving
His love is infinite
loves us more than His own life
compassionate
won’t ever give up on us
humble
accepts ANYONE who comes to Him
totally understanding
patient
gives eternal life
Holy
pure, sinless
caring
kind
gentle
Healer
not like the world
longs for us to know His love
loves us individually, not in a general disinterested way
brings joy
brings hope
friend of sinners
friend of the forgotten, the broken, the suffering, the lonely
our Best Friend
our Lord and King
His heart is full of love for each of us
infinitely powerful
unchanging
all knowing
faithful
keeps promises
honest, never lies
encouraging
has a plan and hope for each person
just
His ways are not our ways
trustworthy
His grace is enough
Creator
generous
teaches us to love others
not selfish, loves us to the point of self sacrifice
loves us in truth and actions, not just words
rejoices when we come to Him!
waits for us
can change us, helps us overcome sin
would never drive us away
looks at our hearts, not just at words and externals
does everything for a reason
knows exactly what we need
would still have died for you even if you were the only person on earth

Jesus is love 🙂

(image credit: http://holycardheaven.blogspot.ca/

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

image unaltered)

Letter to a soul losing hope

402304_10100421883799007_1628217628_n

This is just something I wrote to help me remember how God sees us. Hopefully it could be an encouragement to someone. I wrote it as if God is speaking.. I hope everything in it is accurate 🙂

+JMJ

“My beloved child,

How many times have you cried, “where is God? Where is my hope?” – and I was not far away watching you from a distant place, but so near you, that you could not even feel Me. You were looking for Me outside of you, when I was so near and embracing your soul. Will you at last open the depth of your soul to me? O come, come now to My Heart! I long only to embrace you.. it is not too late… do not run away. Why do you look around as if searching for a place to go? I am here to give you hope, to envelop you in My loving light so that no darkness may ever touch you. I will not let you go because My love for you endures eternally. Will you let Me love you? Don’t fear… My Heart has enough love to consume all your sorrows and miseries. You have doubted Me, yet nothing can take away My love for you. I am telling you now, all is not lost… Yes, there is still hope.

My Heart wishes to heal all your troubles and to calm all your fears, to be your light, guidance and delight that surpasses all other loves. All this time, you were truly seeking for Me, but you mistook the love for creatures for the only Love that can satisfy you. I created you for this. I created you to be loved, and I love you! I love you, and I have died for you as the proof. Now at last will you trust Me? O how I long for you to trust Me and abandon yourself in my embrace. I love you, My child! Do not despair. Nothing is lost. Come and find your hope.. your strength will be found in Me. Regardless of how lost you feel, I can and will find you.

I will bring you back to your home, where you will never be lost again, where your heart will never again experience sorrow. I long to consume your heart in My Love, and show you the richness of My power, strength, divine and most perfect Light. You are so little and I see how you suffer from your human weakness, but I can supply for all your misery. I myself will give you hope. I see the beginning, and the end of your life. My Will for you is more beautiful than you can imagine. Trust Me, and do not abandon the hope that I place in your heart.

Always remember.. I love you, more than My life. Life your life for Me. Don’t fear, and live, live with Me. I shall always be with you, and support you. If you have God, and if God is on your side, what enemy will dare to harm you? I allow suffering only for your good. Trust can help you see what is hidden from your eyes, and your heart can know what is not yet within your sight. Someday you shall see and understand and know perfectly. Though it might be difficult to see this in the present darkness, until then, I will carry you as a mother carries her infant. I will hold you close to My Heart forever. You, yes – you are the delight of My Heart, and My Heart will not be content until you are hidden within it.

Child, come into the wound that was opened in My Heart for you. Come and forget all your miseries. I, Jesus, long to be your Savior and to heal your poor heart with My love. I am waiting for you.”

(image credit: http://holycardheaven.blogspot.ca/

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

image unaltered)

Song of Hope

048

+JMJ

Another song that I wrote, this was during a difficult time, so it’s about suffering. I hope that it can be an encouragement to someone who needs it.

You said blessed are those who suffer

But why does it hurt this much

When my soul is so restless

And this world is like a cage

When all seems desolate before me,

When I have nowhere to turn

O say that You are in me,

Find me, help me carry on

O how can I be lonely

With Your Sacred Heart in mine

And how did I forget

That You hold the broken in Your arms

Then You turn to me and say..

My child,

Why do you fear,

Why did you lost hope,

That I gave..

(Chorus)

Your words

Are truer than my fears

More certain than all doubts

More piercing than a sword

More glorious than the stars beyond the clouds

Your love, more consuming than fire

Is stronger than death

More brilliant than the sun

And You are mine..

“I am Yours and You are mine”

As I carry my cross beside You

Often I forget

How You bled and died and suffered

The example that You set

I forget the way is narrow

Strewn with thorns and stones and rocks

And the way to endless glory

Is through nothing but the Cross

O with You, loss is gain..

I would give all

To find You,

Only You..

(Chorus)

Let me gaze upon You, Jesus

As a victim, all for love

You are pleading for our salvation

To our Heavenly Father above

As the Blood streams down Your Body

And the thorns entwine Your Head

Your Heart pierced for our transgressions

Thirsting, loving without end

O let me die beside You

To the world, to all my cares

Hide me in Your wounds, dear Jesus

There – lost, detached, beyond all fears

As I look into Your eyes

My Jesus,

Receive my heart

My soul, my life

(Chorus)

(In quotation marks: from Song of Songs)

Your Kingdom Come

448

+JMJ

This is another song that I wrote, but the words just sort of came during prayer so I don’t really take credit for it. Fiat+

Words from Jesus to Sr Josefa Menendez:

“I love those who after a first fall come to Me for pardon . . . I love them still more when they beg pardon for their second sin, and should this happen again, I do not say a million times but a million million times, I still love them and pardon them, and I will wash in My Blood their last as fully as their first sin. Never shall I weary of repentant sinners, nor cease from hoping for their return, and the greater their distress, the greater My welcome.” (Jesus’ words to Sr Josefa Menendez, “Way of Divine Love”, TAN books)

From a thousand follies

You have raised me into light

And brought the gift of healing

To a weak and broken heart

You set my heart on fire

And like the blaze of midday sun

You entered

And conquered

And took me by surprise

(Chorus)

O Love so unknown

Who forgives “not a million

but a million million times”

Come and overcome this world

And let Your Will reign

On earth as in Heaven

And Your Kingdom come

O let Your Kingdom come

In eternal glory

Beyond the reach of sinful ways

Countless Angels adoring

Saints falling before Your Holy Face

Embraced in Your Heart

So resplendent with love

Consumed,

They rejoice

In Your mansions above

(Chorus)

Come and show us Your Heart

As we call on Your Name

Receive the incense of our praise

How can it be, that the King of all Kings

Would give His life for me

(repeat last two lines)

Come and show us Your Will

As we seek for Your Face

And receive all that we have…

How can it be that the Lord of all Lords

Would long this much for me

(repeat last two lines)

You are more than the world to me

You are more than the world to me

(Chorus)

(In quotation marks: quote from “Way of Divine Love”, Sr Josefa Menendez, TAN books.)

St Mary Magdalene

Image

+JMJ

I am reading a great book about St Mary Magdalene called “Mary of Magdalene in the Visions of the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich” (TAN). It includes quotes about St Mary Magdalene from Blessed Anne Catherine’s “The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations”. The quotes describe visions that Bl Anne Catherine had of Jesus’ life, that can help us to go deeper into the Scriptures. The entire book is available online in public domain and I’ll quote from there with page numbers so anyone can find them. However if anyone is interested in a book specifically about the Saint I really recommend the one from TAN!

While reading, I was especially struck by how much St Mary Magdalene loved Our Lord. For example, there is this quote:

“On the Sabbath Jesus taught in Lazarus’, and then all went to walk in the gardens. Jesus talked of His Passion and said in plain terms that He was the Christ. His words increased His hearers’ reverence and admiration for Him, while Magdalene’s love and contrition reached their height. She followed Jesus everywhere, sat at His feet, stood and waited for Him everywhere. She thought of Him alone, saw Him alone, knew only her Redeemer and her own sins. Jesus frequently addressed to her words of consolation. She was very greatly changed. Her countenance and bearing was still noble and distinguished, though her beauty was destroyed by her penance and tears. She sat almost always alone in her narrow penance chamber, and at times performed the lowest services for the poor and sick” (Vol 3, pp.275-276).

The book describes her conversion from a worldly life to that of a penitent. I was really touched by the accounts of her anointing Jesus. One thing that I found very beautiful was her boldness. It was quite a brave thing to do for a woman at that time who was known to be a “sinner” – as Jesus was asked, why He allows her to touch Him. But St Mary Magdalene continued to love Jesus and followed Him everywhere. It’s so beautiful how she only thought of Him and only saw Him. Often while reading the lives of the Saints, we are inspired but at the same time wonder, – can we really love like this? St Mary Magdalene loved Jesus exceptionally, much more than I do, but one thing that’s encouraging about her is that she loved Him like this even though she had a sinful past – and her life really shows the effect of submitting to God’s grace.

This next quote describes St Mary Magdalene’s second conversion, after she had fallen back into sin. At one point, soon after finding repentance again, St Mary Magdalene was suffering from doubts about her forgiveness. After running through the streets, she ran to Jesus and began weeping and asking if there is still hope for her.  She was being tormented by despair. Although the others looked scandalized and asked Jesus how He could stand this woman any longer, He showed her mercy:

“When Jesus returned to His inn with the disciples and some of the Pharisees, and while they were taking some refreshments standing, Magdalen escaped from the holy women, ran with streaming hair and uttering loud lamentations, made her way through the crowd, cast herself at Jesus’ feet, weeping and moaning, and asked if she might still hope for salvation. The Pharisees and disciples, scandalized at the sight, said to Jesus that He should no longer suffer this reprobate woman to create disturbance everywhere, that He should send her away once and for all. But Jesus replied: “Permit her to weep and lament! Ye know not what is passing in her” – and He turned to her with words of consolation. He told her to repent from her heart, to believe and to hope, for that she should soon find peace. Then He bade her depart with confidence.” (Vol. 3, pp. 125-130)

This account really shows Jesus’ mercy and patience. He didn’t send her away, but encouraged her to trust in His forgiveness. What I appreciate about St Mary Magdalene here is that although she was suffering from feelings of despair, she still ran to Jesus and did not run away from Him… she still went to Him to ask for pardon and to ask if there was still hope for her. I think this is a good example for anyone suffering from despair – to not run away from God, but to run towards. It’s also evident here that in her repentance, St Mary Magdalene didn’t think of anything else and was concerned about nothing but finding forgiveness. She showed so much contrition. Later, she found Jesus again:

“The instruction over, Jesus went to a retired place, whither Mary herself and Martha led Magdalen to Him. She fell on her face weeping at His feet, her fair flowing loosely around her. Jesus comforted her. When Mary and Martha had withdrawn, she cried for pardon, confessed her numerous transgressions, and asked over and over: “Lord, is there still salvation for me?” Jesus forgave her sins, and she implored Him to save her from another relapse. He promised to do so, gave her His blessing, and spoke to her of the virtue of purity, also of His Mother, who was pure without stain. He praised Mary highly in terms I had never before heard from His lips, and commanded Magdalen to unite herself closely to her and to seek from her advice and consolation. When Jesus and Magdalen rejoined the holy women, Jesus said to them: “She has been a great sinner, but for all future time, she will be the model of penitents”. (Vol. 3, pp. 125-130)

In reading the book, I saw that the anointing of Jesus that St Mary Magdalene did was not an isolated event, but that she did this several times, maybe many times. People often did not understand but she did not let that discourage her from showing her love for Jesus. He however always accepted her love.

“It was dust before Jesus and the disciples, preceded and followed by crowds of people, started at last down the mountain of Gabara. Magdalen, obeying only her impulse without regard to appearances, followed close after Jesus in the crowd of the disciples, and her four companions, unwilling to separate from her, did the same. She tried to keep as close to Jesus as she possibly could, though such conduct was quite unusual in females. Some of the disciples called Jesus’ attention to the fact, remarking at the same time what I have just observed. But Jesus, turning around to them, replied: “Let them alone! It is not your affair!” (Vol. 2, 477-480).

The visions also describe another time when St Mary Magdalene anointed Our Lord. This was when Jesus went with three of the Apostles to Bethel and stayed at a house. Lazarus and his sisters were there too; seemingly after Lazarus was raised from the dead.

“As Jesus was sitting on the edge of the fountain, Magdalene came forth from the house and poured over His hair a little flat flask of perfume. She did it standing at His back, as she had often done before. I wondered at her boldness.” (Vol. 3. pp. 582-583).

The book tells of St Mary Magdalene’s first anointing of Jesus, which happened before she completely turned to the penitent life, but was drawn to love Him:

“The Pharisees were in animated discussion with Him when Magdalen, who with her companions had approached the entrance, all of a sudden darted into the hall. Inclining humbly, her head veiled, in her hand a little white flask closed with a tiny bunch of aromatic herbs instead of a stopper, she glided quickly into the center of the apartment, went behind Jesus, and poured the contents of her little flask over His head. Then catching up the long end of her veil, she folded it, and with both hands passed it lightly once over Jesus’ head, as it wishing to smooth His hair and to arrest the overflow of the ointment. The whole affair occupied but a few instants, and after it Magdalen retired some steps. The discussion carried on so hotly at the moment suddenly ceased. A hush fell upon the company, and they gazed upon Jesus and the woman. The air was redolent with the fragrance of the ointment. Jesus was silent. Some of the guests put their heads together, glanced indignantly at the Magdelen, and exchanged whispers. Simon Zabulon especially appeared scandalized. At last Jesus said to him: “Simon, I know well of what thou art thinking! Thou thinkest it improper that I should allow this woman to anoint My head. Thou art thinking that she is a sinner, but thou art wrong. She, out of love, has fulfilled what thou didst leave undone. Thou hast not shown Me the honour due to guests”. Then He turned to Magdalen, who was still standing there, and said “Go in peace! Much has been forgiven thee”. (Vol. 2, pp. 477-480).

To put it shortly, I’m very inspired by this book. I love St Mary Magdalene’s boldness, how she was not afraid of losing human respect as she showed her love for Jesus, and how she hoped that He would accept her though others did not. I love her Jesus still accepted her and forgave her, and helped her to become a Saint. This also gives me hope because I can relate to being a sinner. I think her life really shows us that no matter what our past was, we can love Jesus greatly, as long as we don’t place boundaries on our love or are too timid or fearful.

St Mary Magdalene, pray for us!

Here is some information about her

(If anyone is interested in learning more, the book is available for sale from TAN, or you can find the references in the linked book given above. The book “Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations” is in the public domain and contains all the quotes).

Image source

She who loved much

meditate meditate

+JMJ

“And one of the Pharisees desired him to eat with him. And he went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that he sat at meat in the Pharisee’ s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; And standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet, with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors, the one who owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.” (Luke 7, Douay-Rheims)

This is one of my favourite parts of the Gospels. It is so beautiful. I wonder how this woman felt.. was she afraid to come uninvited like this, to boldly kiss Our Lord’s feet and pour the perfume on them? She must have realized that others knew about her life, and that she might not be welcomed… but love overcame any fear. She came to Jesus with such gratitude and perhaps forgot everything else. She had believed in Him.. even though she lived a sinful life, she reached out to Jesus, not only to ask for forgiveness, but to show Him her love.

At times, I come to Jesus, so unworthy and sinful, and – how can anything we give be enough? But Jesus in His great Mercy accepts it. Even if our love is only so small. If we have an intention to love Him, He receives this intention. St Gertrude wished to suffer for Jesus till the end of the world: and even though this did not happen, He told her that He accepted her intention as if it had happened. How many treasures are there in our good intentions!

The story of the “sinful woman with the perfume jar” is one of the most moving stories I have ever read. I sometimes imagine how it happened, and how this woman felt, and how it must have been for her when her worship was accepted by Jesus. Though she had lived a sinful life, I imagine Jesus looking at her so kindly, because she was repentant and loved Him so sincerely.

Our Lord is so gentle and compassionate, and this story can give courage to sinful souls to approach Him with confidence, and not be afraid to ask for forgiveness and open up to His love. Maybe sometimes, people don’t repent because they are despairing, or maybe afraid of facing their sins? Jesus longs to forgive them; He stands with arms outstretched, calling them to His embrace.

(image credit: http://holycardheaven.blogspot.ca/

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

image unaltered)