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St. Mary Magdalene (July 22)

St. Mary Magdalene is one of the most appealing characters in the Gospels. Only a few details about her appear there, yet Christians know her as a woman of great love, desire, and unwavering loyalty. She was born at Magdala, near Tiberias, in Galilee. She stood beside Jesus while he was dying on the Cross. With Mary the Mother of Jesus and a few other disciples, she watched helplessly as the One Whom she loved suffered through the dark hours of Good Friday. Then with the others she prepared His dead body for burial.

Early on that first Easter Sunday morning she returned anxiously to Jesus' tomb to complete the burial anointings, only to find that His body was gone. She began to weep. Through her tears she suddenly saw a man standing beside her whom she thought was the gardener. When He spoke her name she knew that the man was Jesus - risen from the dead. "Mary!", Jesus said to her. "Rabboni! Teacher!" Mary joyfully responded. Then Jesus spoke these mysterious words, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father."

We can see Jesus, not rejecting her at this joyous moment, but readying her, who followed Him so devotedly in life, for following Him now in faith. In a sense, Jesus is saying to her - and to us: "touch Me with the hand of your faith; seek Me with eyes of Faith; run towards Me with limbs of faith. Now I will never be far from you. I am forever in your heart."