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Thought of the day
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene - Memorial
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"… She turned and said to him... Teacher!"

Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva and Doctor of the Church 
Treatise on the love of God, 5, 7 (trans. Vincent Kerns)
"Jesus said to her: Mary! She turned and said to him... Teacher!"

The true lover's delight is centred on his beloved: that is why St Paul treated everything else as “refuse” compared with the high privilege of knowing his Saviour (Phil 3,8). That is why the bride in the Song of Songs thinks only of her beloved: “All mine, my true love, and I all his... Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” (2,16; 3,3)…

That illustrious lover, Mary Magdalene, encountered angels at the tomb; surely they addressed her angelically (gently, I mean), anxious to allay her sorrow. Utterly disconsolate as she was, however, she could take no comfort from their kindly greeting, their shining garments, their heavenly bearing, or the wondrous beauty of their features; still weeping, “They have carried away my Lord,” she said, “and I cannot tell where they have taken him.” Turning round, she saw her sweet Savior; but he looked like a gardener, so she was not interested. Loving thoughts of her Master's death filled her heart; what need had she of flowers, of gardeners? Cross, nails and thorns occupied her thoughts; she was looking for her crucified lover. "If it is you, sir," she said to the gardener, "if it is you who have carried off my beloved Lord's body, tell me quickly where you have put him, and I will take him away." 

But no sooner did he breathe her name than her grief dissolved into delight: "Rabboni," she said, "Master!"… To magnify her royal lover still further, the soul must have eyes only for him; in other words, with an ever-growing, anxiously eager attentiveness the soul must study all the details of his beauty, his perfections, must keep on discovering motives for finding ever-increasing gratification in the ineffable Beauty with which it is in love.


 
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