Monday, 24 October 2011

Saint Mary Magdalene

See a new icon of Our Lady at the end of this posting.

Icon, St. Mary Magdalene, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

5th Sorrowful Mystery, S. Thayer, 2009
St. Mary Magdalene is shown directly
behind the Blessed Mother
St Mary Magdalene (Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή) was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples. She is famous because she is said to have been the first person to see Jesus after He rose from the dead (although tradition says He surely appeared to His Mother first), according to John 20 and Mark 16:9, part of the so-called "Longer Ending" to that chapter. According to Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons". Some modern scholars suggest that this is New Testament code for serious physical illness; however, major Christian saints, including Bede and Gregory, interpret the seven devils to signify that she was "full of all vices". This is the interpretation commonly held by the Church.

Over time the Church has come to see Mary of Bethany as possibly the same as Mary of Magdala who was delivered from seven devils -- that it was the same Mary who anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair who also shared a home with Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. Thus St. Mary Magdalene became a symbol of repentance from the vanities of the world to various believers. In 1969, the Catholic Church indicated that Magdalene's standard image as a reformed prostitute is not definitely supported by the text of the Bible. However, while the revised Roman calendar no longer states explicitly that Mary Magdalene is a repentant sinner of ill repute, many in the Church continue to believe that she was such and to pray to her for her assistance in converting family members who have fallen into serious sin.

Mary Magdalene was present at the cross after the male disciples (excepting John the Beloved Disciple) had fled, and at His burial. Mary was a devoted follower of Jesus, entering into the close circle of those taught by Jesus during His Galilean ministry.  Mary Magdalene is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles" and "Equal of the Apostles".

Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrh bearers. She is also an important figure in the Baha'i Faith. Consistently in the four Gospels, Mary Magdalene seems to be distinguished from other women named Mary by adding "Magdalene" (η Μαγδαληνή) to her name. Traditionally, this has been interpreted to mean that she was from Magdala, a town thought to have been on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Luke 8:2 says that she was actually "called Magdalene." In Hebrew מגדל Migdal means "tower", "fortress"; in Aramaic, "Magdala" means "tower" or "elevated, great, magnificent".

For more information, especially about the cultus of St. Mary Magdalene which developed in Catholic France and how her followers believed the Saint had come from Jerusalem to Provence during the first Jerusalem persecution, click on the following:                        St. Mary Magdalene pray for us.



As some of you are aware, Autumn is my favourite time of the year.  It is not just the colours (which I, as a "colouration" person do love), but it is the whole combination of shorter days, blue sky when it isn't raining, of course and that wonderful coolness in the air.  I also love the colours of the season as expressed so intensely in this photograph.  I am sure the colours have been saturated, but that makes me like the photo all the more. 



I continue to collect many strange and unusual photographs that I come across so I thought I would share a few of them with you in this posting.

What kind of Peacock is this?
You may have seen this previously, but if you look closely (you may have to enlarge it to really do it justice), you will see that every bit of this "peacock" is designed using individual human bodies.  Take a good look and enjoy!

What a strange looking sea creature!
Once you know that this sea creature is actually made from pencils, it becomes very easy to see -- but when you first look at it, it really does look like the real thing -- at least it did to me.  Someone spent a lot of time and effort in creating this "creature"; however, I am unsure as to what you would do with it.  Talk about a dust collector...

Photoshop will get you every time!
 These Photoshop designs are a lot of fun.  This one I found particularly amusing.  I remember when I first saw it come up on my screen and couldn't figure out, at first, what I was actually seeing!  I am sure that there are a lot of guys (maybe gals as well) who would think this was a pretty cool way to get your clothes ironed:  put them on first and if they look too wrinkled, then just put yourself up on the ironing board and iron away!

Make a copy of this photo and the next time the doctor asks for one of these, just hand this to her!
This photo really made me laugh because it is so silly -- but then silly things often tickle my funny bone!  Of course you do have to wonder about people when you think that someone had to spend all that time making a "stool" that would fit into a pill bottle, making a sign small enough to fit on the pill bottle and then taking a photograph of their finished work.  Oh, well, it did give me a good chuckle so I guess I have to say that I am glad that someone did this.  I hope it gives you a chuckle as well. 



Why is it that cats will squeeze themselves into small spaces and then fall sound asleep?  This Suki lookalike is obviously quite comfortable in what looks like a narrow shoe box, but I think it will take a bit of squeezing to fit her head comfortably into the space
that is left.  Suki does not show a great liking for small boxes, but she does seek out small spaces.  For example there is a very narrow space between the glass top of my dining table and the ledge just below the glass.  Somehow she manages to squeeze herself in there and sleep quite comfortably for hours on end.  Because she is black and the ledge is sort of brown/black, you don't notice her there even though there is glass on top of her.  Of course the glass reflects everything around it so your eyes really don't try to look beneath it.  This means that on occasion when I or guests sit down at the dining table and are suddenly grabbed by a furry, black paw, the shock can be a bit overwhelming at first!

At this moment, however, Suki is plainly visible.  She is dozing comfortably in the recliner that I vacated just moments ago.  She seems to watch for me to get up sometimes as I guess the seat is nice and warm.  Of course, should I want to return to my chair, I would have to try to convince her to move -- or at least share!  She has actually been a very happy cat these past three days as I have been home, except for an hour and a half at the gym each day and Mass on Sunday, for the entire time.

Why, you might ask, have I been home almost the entire three days?  Well, it is because I have been on retreat and I am actually taking a break from my retreat to write this posting.  As soon as I finish, I will return to my retreat practices.  This is a "stay-treat" that I am on.  You may have heard of "stay-cations" (stay at home vacations made famous by the Corner Gas TV sitcom) -- well this is a stay at home retreat!  My spiritual director set it all up for me and it has been quite a wonderful experience.  I had not been on a retreat for many years since retreat houses are not really set up to accommodate disabled people.  They may be wheelchair accessible, but don't have the kind of bathroom facilities that I need such as a roll-in shower, shower bench, etc.  So, when my director came up with this idea, I was all for it.  I have been greatly blessed by the whole experience and it isn't over until tomorrow morning at 10.

So, now I shall return to the silence of mind and heart which enables me to hear what the Lord is saying.  Please pray for me.

Before I go, I will leave you with a new icon I have been working on -- another one of Our Lady.  May it be a source of grace for you as it has been for me.

Icon of the Virgin and Child (Russian), drawn by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, October, 2011

May the peace of God be with us all.

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