Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Saint Mary of Magdala

Artist: Andrea del Sarto
Image from Wikimedia Commons

So many traditional paintings of Mary Magdalene depict her as a penitent but biblical scholars assure us that there is no scriptual justification for identifying her with the unnamed prostitute in the gospels. And so today I bring you an image of her as the first witness to the ressurection. This even led to her being called "the apostle to the apostles".

Here is a poem by by Rainer Maria Rilke (translation: Ann Conrad Lammers) about the scene depicted above:
The Risen One

Until his final hour he had never
refused her anything or turned away,
lest she should turn their love to public praise.
Now she sank down beside the cross, disguised,
heavy with the largest stones of love
like jewels in the cover of her pain.

But later, when she came back to his grave
with tearful face, intending to anoint,
she found him resurrected for her sake,
saying with greater blessedness, "Do not--"

She understood it in her hollow first:

how with finality he now forbade
her, strengthened by his death, the oils' relief
or any intimation of a touch:

because he wished to make of her the lover
who needs no more to lean on her beloved,
as, swept away by joy in such enormous
storms, she mounts even beyond his


  1. This poem gave me incredible "goose-bumps"...and a swelling of my heart...thank you! :-)

  2. today's sermon mentioned that her name is mentioned 14 times in the


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