Active even in exile
Mary of Magdala, Meditation Day Four
Studying the picture
The picture shows us Mary of Magdala in the South of France, preaching the Gospel to the peasantry. Tradition has it that Mary, Martha and Lazarus, together with some more of the early followers of Christ were exiled and arrived at the Southern coast of France on a rudderless ship. The ship can still be seen in the background of this medieval painting.
People flock to hear Mary and the scene is reminiscent of all those other scenes in Gallilee where Jesus himself drew crowds, men, women and children. Mary, never daunted by her exile, is preaching the Good News.
You can see its impact in the happy look on the face of one of the younger women. On Mary´s other side we see a man who is not sure that the things Mary is telling them can be right, but somebody else, - Lazarus?-, holds up his hand in an eloquent gesture, You had better listen, for what she says is sacred truth.
Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.
It is easy to understand that people tried to find explanations for the fact that Luke manages to completely leave out the figure of Mary of Magdala in his Acts of the Apostles. It is obvious to any reader of the four gospels that here is a great woman witness of Christ. Where has she gone? Some claim to Ephesus, others say to the South of France. The risen Christ sent all of them to Gallilee first of all in order to continue his ministry. It is there that they would see him.
Whatever the geographical places she eventually went to, Mary seems definitely ostracised by her male companions, the apostles. Too clever for her own good? She does not care. She preaches. However, the sensus fidei never let go of her. Throughout twenty centuries of christendom, generation after generation treasured the remembrance of her great personality.
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