A Small Revelation Through St Mary Magdalen
Titian's Noli mi Tangere
Mary Magdalen was one of my patrons for this year. This was a bit of a spiritual honor for me as I have had special devotion to her since my reversion. Given my life in the past, I can relate to this woman whom Jesus cast out seven demons.
One of the Scripture passages that has always perplexed me is the account of Mary's meeting Jesus after the Resurrection. He tells her: "Noli mi tangere."~ Do not hold onto Me. Recently I have been given a little more insight into this phrase which also helped to shed some light on that Scripture passage.
Awhile ago I was having a conversation with a friend before our prayer meeting started. I was saying that someday when, by God's grace and mercy, I make it to heaven, I have this list of questions for Our Lord. One of which is "Why did you say this to Mary Magdalen?" Well one of our priests overheard this conversation and told me that of course when I reach heaven I won't have to ask Jesus these things because I will know. The conversation ended there.
Back to recently... This same priest remembered this conversation of several months ago and brought me a reply to an article he had read on this very topic. (Seems I am not the only one perplexed by Jesus' words.) This kind monsignor also went on to explain to me the literal translation of Noli mi tangere from the Greek; it is not so much "Do not hold onto Me", but more precisely, "Do not hold Me back." A light bulb seemed to go on in my soul as soon as he told me this. This I could understand! Jesus was trying to tell Mary that there was more for Him and for her. He would ascend to His Father in glory, and she was to go and spread the news of His Resurrection. "Go and tell my brothers..." is what Jesus tells her.
God always reveals more of Himself to us when we are ready. He also uses the people He knows we will listen to. Kind of like Jesus trusted Mary to go and reveal the news of His Resurrection to the Apostles. They may have been a little skeptical, but they believed her enough to go and check the tomb out for themselves. And later Jesus would appear to them, revealing Himself in His glorified body.
As I get ready for the new saint who will be my companion for this upcoming year, I thank St Mary Magdalen for her intercession and will continue to go to her asking her guidance in loving Jesus as she did.
St Anselm has written a beautiful prayer titled Prayer to St Mary Magdalen and Our Lord. It reads more like a meditation than simply a prayer. It is on the long side, but quite beautiful and worth the time.
Our Lord and His saints never cease to amaze me.