I will rise then and go about the city;
in the streets and crossings I will seek
Him whom my heart loves.
I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me,
as they made their rounds of the city:
Have you seen him whom my heart loves?
—Song of Songs 3:2-3
Today’s feast is of such importance in the Church that Pope Francis raised it from a memorial to a feast in 2016. It is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, one of Our Lord’s most faithful disciples.
The above passage is taken from one of the readings for today’s Mass. It comes from the Song of Songs, Solomon’s marvelous discourse on the love between God and the soul. We can certainly see why this passage was chosen for St. Mary’s feast day, since she possessed such a profound and faithful love for Our Lord.
But did you know that this passage bears a striking parallel to an actual incident in Mary’s life, recounted in the Gospels?
Let’s look at the Gospel for today. It is from St. John’s Gospel, where he writes of Mary Magdalene’s sorrow as she wonders where Our Lord’s body has been taken. She speaks with the angels keeping vigil at the tomb:
“Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”
Jesus Himself then comes, and Mary recognizes Him when He says her name. He then tells her not to hold Him, for He has “not yet ascended to the Father.”
Now let’s jump back to the Epistle. In the older form of the Mass, the Epistle is taken from the same place in the Song of Songs, but goes a little further, saying, “I took hold of Him and would not let Him go…”
We see here a clear reference to Jesus’ words in the Gospel. Though Jesus prevents Mary from holding on to Him physically, He does so to help her take a firmer hold of Him spiritually—to raise her love from the human to the divine plane.
Remind yourself of St. Mary Magdalene’s devotion to Christ and her intercession for you with a beautiful bracelet that honors her. This St. Michael and Mary Magdalene Black Crystal Bracelet is composed of stunning jet-black crystal beads and a double-sided medal of these two powerful saints. A simple yet meaningful piece to help you remember to pray for protection and strength in your daily life. Available today at The Catholic Company!