FEAST OF THE HOLY PENITENT MARY MAGDALEN
Tobit, Chapter 12, Verse 16-17
16 Greatly shaken, the two of them fell prostrate in FEAR. 17 But Raphael said to them: “Do not FEAR; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever.
By a horrible act of violence our congress fell prostrate in fear as a shooter was taking aim on them playing baseball in a Washington, D.C. Park on Flag Day in 2017.
Men when confronted with the terrible power of man and nature instinctively fall flat. Yet, imagine if you suddenly were confronted with the power of an angel of God. You like a soldier would seek the ground.
- After all the festivities, Tobit wanted to settle up with Azariah, which included paying him for his work during the journey.
- At this point, Azariah told them who he really was – an angel sent by God. Both Tobit and Tobias were shocked and a bit fearful. Yet, Azariah assured them of God’s providence and care for them. His job was to bring the healing God had decreed. Their job was to proclaim God’s great mercy. They were supposed to write everything down that had happened. Then Azariah simply disappeared.
David shows us how to overcome fear, whether it be the fear of death, the fear of speaking in public (which surveys show to be greater than the fear of death!), fear of losing your children, fear of the future, or whatever. He says:
To overcome fear, seek the Lord!
David knew what he was talking about! He had evildoers coming at him to devour his flesh (27:2). They were breathing out violence (27:12). Nothing would have made them happier than to see David’s head removed from his body. He had an entire army encamped against him. The soldiers had probably been told, “Whoever comes back with David’s head gets an instant promotion to general and a fat reward!” And yet David could say, “My heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I am confident” (27:3)! The man knows his subject! He can teach us about overcoming fear. David isn’t dispensing a formula that’s easy or simple to apply. God isn’t a good-luck charm which you can pull out when you’re in a jam and rub the right way. David is talking about a total way of life that is focused on God and which clings to God with naked faith in desperately overwhelming situations where there is no other source of help.
May this Nation prostrate itself not before men or nature but seek the Lord as David did!
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should, I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, these my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: to dwell in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, to gaze on the LORD’s beauty, to visit his temple. For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, He will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock. Even now my head is held high above my enemies on every side! I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.
Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me. “Come,” says my heart, “seek his face” your face, LORD, do I seek! Do not hide your face from me; do not repel your servant in anger. You are my salvation; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior! Even if my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take me in.
LORD, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me. I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!
Feast of the Holy Penitent Mary Magdalen
MARY MAGDALEN, a sister of Lazarus and of Martha, of Bethany, was a notorious sinner in Jerusalem. Moved by the preaching of Jesus, she did public penance. She went openly into the house of the Pharisee with whom Jesus was sitting at table, threw herself at His feet, anointed them with precious ointment, washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus, knowing her contrite heart, forgave her, her sins (Luke vii. 37, 38), and from that time forward she became the most zealous and faithful of the women who were disciples of Our Lord. She followed Him, always ministered unto Him of her substance (Luke viii. 3), and when He died was standing under the cross.
Prayer. We beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may be helped by the intercession of blessed Mary Magdalen, at whose prayers Thou didst raise up again to life her brother Lazarus, who had been dead for four days.
EPISTLE. Cant. iii. 2-5; viii. 6, 7.
I will rise and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not. The watchmen who keep the city found me: Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth. I held him: and I will not let him go till I bring him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved till she please. Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death; jealousy as hard as hell; the lamps thereof are fire and flame. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing. The soul that, following the direction of the watchmen, that is, the priests, teachers, and rulers of the Church, seeks Jesus, He goes to meet, gives Himself up to, takes up His abode in, with all His love, with all His treasures. The soul which has found Christ for delight forgets all outward things, and no longer has love or joy but for and in Christ. How should it be otherwise? What can be wanting to him who truly possesses Christ? This love for Him Who loved us unto death shows itself by outward acts that are heroic. So, Mary Magdalen loved Jesus. Follow her example.
GOSPEL. Luke vii. 36-50.
At that time: One of the Pharisees desired Jesus 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 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.
Magdalen, who had sinned openly, openly did penance. In like manner, he who has given public scandal must seek to make amends for it by public good example. Magdalen confessed her sins, says St. Ambrose, not with words, but with abundant tears of penitence. To tell her sins to Christ, the All-knowing, was not necessary but what a confession was there in the posture of humiliation, and in the tears that flowed from the contrite sinner. Would you obtain forgiveness? Confess with contrition, like Magdalen. The words, “Thy faith hath made thee safe,” denote a faith active as love. Faith and love are in truth never separated, for the only truly believes who also loves; and he only loves according to God’s will who believes in Him. Therefore, believe in truth, love, and show your love by earnest hatred of every sin, by flying from occasions of sin, by fighting against your passions, by change of your life, and by humble confession, and as true as God lives you will be saved, as was Magdalen the peace of God will enter into your heart.
Patron: Apothecaries; Casamicciola, Italy; contemplative life; contemplatives; converts; druggists; glove makers; hairdressers; hairstylists; penitent sinners; penitent women; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women.
Novena of St. Ann
Daily Prayer to Saint Ann
glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and
with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my
troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present
intention which I recommend to you in your special care.
Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen.
Our Father, . . . Hail Mary . . .
O Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Ann, help me now and at the hour of my death. Good St. Ann, intercede for me.
Good St. Ann do not allow my soul, a masterpiece of God’s creative power, to be lost forever. Free my heart of pride, vanity, self-love. May I know myself as I really am and learn meekness and simplicity of heart.
God’s great love for me leaves me cold and unresponsive. I must reflect this love through works of mercy and charity toward my neighbor.
In your boundless charity, good St. Ann, help me to merit the glorious crown which is given to those who have fought the good fight against the world, the devil and the flesh. Assist me to preserve purity of heart and body. With Mary and her divine Son, protect me always.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
Blessed Sacrament Fathers, ST. ANN’S SHRINE, Cleveland, Ohio