Did you know that until last month Mary Magdalene didn’t have her own feast day (sorta)? Maybe this is Catholic 101, but for me, it’s one of those details that I have never picked up on. Here’s the crash course in Catholic celebrations:
On the Church’s liturgical calendar, Saints are honored with either a “memorial” a “feast,” or a “solemnity.” Solemnities rank the highest. Feasts come in second and memorials third. A decree issued on June 3rd has elevated the celebration honoring St. Mary Magdalene (July 22nd!) from a memorial to a feast. What’s the big deal? Well, Mass will sound different; the Gloria will be sung and the priest will offer special prayers dedicated specifically to Mary Magdalene. That doesn’t happen on “memorials,” just feasts and solemnities.
Why now? The Pope wanted to emphasize the importance of the role of women in recognizing, serving and representing Christ in the Church today, and she seemed like a pretty good fit! Another Catholic 101 note – if the Pope takes the time to focus on something, then we should probably pay attention. Here are three lessons we can learn from St. Mary Magdalene:
- Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus’ empty tomb. She desired to be near Him even when, by all earthly reason, she couldn’t physically be with Him — and that desire led to a miraculous discovery. Do you desire to be close to Christ? He has GREAT things to show us when our hearts are near.
- Mary Magdalene was the first account in scripture of anyone hearing the truth about Jesus’ resurrection. Do you listen for His voice to speak truth into your life?
- Mary Magdalene took that gift she was given and shared it with the apostles. We’d all agree that we’ve been given this same gift, but do we share it with joy and enthusiasm?
On this FEAST day, let’s remember that when we don’t feel like the best person for the job- whether it’s in ministry, parenting, marriage or even in the 9-to-5, we can find a stellar example in St. Mary Magdalene of a trail-blazing, courageous woman who perhaps didn’t look right on paper but sought out Christ, listened to Him and shared His love.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
Copyright 2016 Abby Brundage