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  • Sarah Raad

Graciousness

How Gracious is Our Lord and God! How lucky are we!

Christ in the house of Simon the Pharisee (Philippe de Champaigne)


Today I have been praying for so many different intentions. Foremost in my prayers are prayers of petition. I pray for all those souls who need something from God.


These prayers of petition bring to mind a special Saint who is most often depicted on her knees as a sign of her repentance and petition – Saint Mary Magdalene.


Christ’s first two disciples were His Blessed Mother, Mary, and also the other Mary – the Magdalene. These two women, upon encountering Christ, left their lives behind to follow Him. While His Blessed Mother did so at His conception, Saint Mary Magdalene, left her life when He told her… “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:11).


While His Blessed Mother loved Christ with a giving love – giving everything that she had without counting the cost – even to the point of being given a world full of sinful children in exchange for her Precious Divine Son at the Foot of the Cross… “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home…” (John 19:26-27). Saint Mary Magdalene loved Christ with a petitioning love.

Although, popular interpretations of Saint Mary Magdalene depict her as an adulteress who tempted an innocent man, who is not really described – because by ancient standards he was was considered the innocent victim of this siren – there is so much more to the story of this saint…

Mary Magdalene was in fact, possessed and tormented by seven demons, and the members of the Sanhedrin were in the process of determining what was to be done with her when Christ intervened, asking His famous question, “‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’” (John 8:7). The Magdalene left her life and followed Him. Tending Him and ministering to Him. Even unto His death – and beyond… For it was she who was first to encounter the Risen Christ…


She was the first – apart from His Blessed Mother – to realise the value of God. But she was not the only one. Only the first.


“While Jesus was in Bethany reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke open the jar and poured it on Jesus’ head…. ‘…It could have been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her.” (Matthew 26:3,6).

That perfume with which Christ was anointed was worth 300 denarii – that is TEN TIMES the price of Christ’s own LIFE, which was bartered for a mere 30! How cheaply I sold my Lord and my God for my sins…

Imagine that woman in that house, doing her very best to worship God and being rebuffed for it. Imagine her thoughts. How she would have doubted herself. There she was a woman in a house of men in a world where women had no power. If she was visiting the house of a leper, she was probably not considered a woman of honour. Perhaps she was a woman, like Mary Magdalene, with a history – an unsavoury history that caused her to be judged and excluded by her neighbours.


This woman reminds me of myself…


My past mistakes are so enormous, that it would be far easier to pack away my computer and put down my pen than it ever would be to try to write my little Love Letters to the King...


Imagine what people are saying about me! Imagine how they mock me. Imagine how they question whether this will last. Imagine how crazy they think I am now – I who laughed loudest at the strongest faith, now climbing always climbing, bruised and blistered hands and feet as I try to reach just the ground – a little of the dust – upon which My Beloved walks… For just the dust on the ground would give me comfort.


And what did Christ say to the Magdalene? “Neither do I condemn you…” (John 8:11). And what did He say to the Woman in the House at Bethany? “And truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” (Matthew, 26:9).

This utter and infinite GRACIOUSNESS is why my hands and feet bleed now. What wouldn’t I do to reach the dust beneath His Feet to receive such a GRACIOUS word from His beloved and sacred lips?

All those second thoughts melt away, and the words of Saint Ignatius of Loyola come to mind… “After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the Devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if Satan’s temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he’ll have an incentive to leave you alone.”


Or perhaps, even more perfectly summarised in the word of Saint Paul… “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:8-11).


How Gracious is Our Lord and God! How lucky are we!


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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