St. Mary Magdalene, thou
didst come with springing tears to the spring of mercy, Christ; from
Him thy burning thirst was abundantly refreshed, through Him thy sins
were forgiven; by Him thy bitter sorrow was consoled.
My dearest lady, well thou
knowest by thine own life how a sinful soul can be reconciled with its
creator, what counsel a soul in misery needs, what medicine will
restore the sick to health.
is enough for us to understand, dear friend of God, to whom were many
sins forgiven, because she loved much.
Most blessed lady, I who am the most evil and sinful
of men do not recall thy sins as a reproach, but call upon the
boundless mercy by which they were blotted out.
is my reassurance, so that I do not despair; this is my longing, so
that I shall not perish.
I say this of myself,
miserably cast down into the depths of vice, bowed down with the weight
of crimes, thrust down by my own hand into a dark prison of sins,
wrapped round with the shadows of darkness.
since thou art now with the chosen because thou art beloved and are
beloved because thou art chosen of God, I, in my misery, pray to thee
in bliss; in my darkness, I ask for light; in my sins, redemption;
impure, I ask for purity.
in loving kindness what thou used to be, how much thou didst need
mercy, and seek for me that same forgiving love that thou didst receive
when thou wert wanting it. Ask urgently that I may have the love that
pierces the heart; tears that are humble; desire for the homeland of
Heaven; impatience with this earthly exile; searing repentance; and a
dread of torments in eternity.
to my good that ready access that thou once didst have and still doth
have to the spring of mercy.
me to Him where I may wash away my sins; bring me to Him Who can slake
my thirst; pour over me those waters that will make my dry places
fresh. Thou wilt not find it hard to gain all thou doth desire from so
loving and so kind a Lord, Who is alive and reigns and is thy friend.
who can tell, beloved and blest of God, with what kind familiarity and
familiar kindness He Himself didst reply on thy behalf to the calumnies
of those who were against thee? How He didst defend thee, when the
proud Pharisee was indignant, how He didst excuse thee, when thy sister
didst complain, how highly He didst praise thy deed, when Judas didst
more than all this, what can I say, how can I find words to tell, about
the burning love with which thou didst seek Him, weeping at the
sepulchre, and wept for Him in thy seeking?
so it is; for love's sake He canst not bear her grief for long or go on
hiding Himself. For the sweetness of love He showeth Himself Who would
not for the bitterness of tears.
He cameth, who can say how or with what kindness, to comfort thee, and
madest thee burn with love still more; how He didst hide from thee when
thou didst want to see Him, and showed Himself when thou didst not
think to see Him; how He was there all the time thou didst seek Him,
and how He didst seek thee when, seeking Him, thou didst weep.
But Thou, most holy Lord, why didst Thou
why she weeps?
Surely Thou canst see her
heart, the dear life of her soul, is cruelly slain.
No longer able to speak with Thee living, at least she
could mourn for Thee dead. So, near to death and hating her own life,
she repeats in broken tones the words of life which she had heard from
O love to be wondered at;
Thou didst hang on the wood,
pierced by iron nails, stretched out like a thief for the mockery of
wicked men; and yet, 'Woman,' Thou didst say, 'why art thou weeping?'
She had not been able to prevent them from killing Thee, but at least
she longed to keep Thy Body for a while with ointments lest it decay.
evil to be shuddered at;
now, besides all this, even the Body which she was glad, in a way, to
have kept, she believes to have gone.
can Thou asketh her, 'Woman, why art thou weeping?'
she not reason to weep?
she had seen with her own eyes---if she could bear to look---what cruel
men cruelly did to Thee; and now all that was left of Thee from their
hands she thinks she has lost.
hope of Thee has fled, for now she has not even Thy lifeless Body to
remind her of Thee.
someone asks, 'Who art thou looking for? Why art thou weeping?'
Thou, her sole joy, should
be the last thus to increase her sorrow. But Thou knowest it all well,
and thus Thou didst wish it to be, for only in such broken words and
sighs can she convey a cause of grief as great as hers. The love Thou
hast inspired Thou didst not ignore.
indeed Thou knowest her well, the gardener, Who planted her soul in His
garden. What Thou plantest, I think Thou doth also water.
Thou water, I wonder, or does Thou test her?
fact, Thou art both watering and putting to the test.
now, good Lord, gentle Master, look upon Thy faithful servant and
disciple, so lately redeemed by Thy Blood, and see how she burneth with
anxiety, desiring Thee, searching all round, questioning, and what she
longest for is nowhere found.
she seest canst satisfy her, since Thou Whom alone she wouldst behold,
she seest not.
long will my Lord leave His beloved to suffer thus?
Thou put off compassion now Thou hast put on incorruption? Did Thou let
go of goodness when Thou didst lay hold of immortality?
it not be so, Lord.
will not despise us mortals now Thou hast made Thyself immortal, for
Thou didst make Thyself a mortal in order to give us immortality.
Lord calls His servant by the name she hast often heard and the servant
doth know the voice of her own Lord.
think, or rather I am sure, that she responded to the gentle tone with
which He wat accustomed to call, 'Mary'. What joy filled that voice, so
gentle and full of love.
could not have put it more simply and clearly:
'I know who thou art and
what thou wanteth; behold Me; do not weep, behold Me; I am He Whom Thou
how should I, in misery and without love, dare to describe the love of
God and the blessed friend of God? Such a flavour of goodness will make
my heart sick if it has in itself nothing of that same virtue.
once the tears are changed; I do not believe that they stopped at once,
but where once they were wrung from a heart broken and self-tormenting
they flow now from a heart exulting. How different is, 'Master!' from
'If thou hast taken Him away, tell me'; and, 'They have taken away my
Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him,' has a very different
sound from, 'I have seen the Lord, and
He hast spoken to me.'
in truth, Thou Who art very truth, Thou knowest me well and canst
testify that I write this for the love of Thy love, my Lord, my most
want Thy love to burn in me as Thou commandest so that I may desire to
love Thee alone and sacrifice to Thee a troubled spirit, 'a broken and
a contrite heart'.
me, O Lord, in this exile, the bread of tears and sorrow for which I
hunger more than for any choice delights.
me, for Thy love, and for the dear merits of Thy beloved Mary, and Thy
blessed Mother, the greater Mary.
my good Jesus, do not despise the prayers of one who hast sinned
against Thee but strengthen the efforts of a weakling that loves Thee.
my heart out of its indolence, Lord, and in the ardour of Thy love
bringest me to the everlasting sight of Thy glory where with the Father
and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, for ever. Amen.