The moment of the conversion of Saint Augustine
As a child I thought that all saints
were born saints! I thought that it could not be any way else! Of course this implied that they did not
sin; they were perfect; virtue was always there. I even thought that they probably did not
have to go to the bathroom, much less wash their hands. The saints were the epitome and essence of
Later I learned to my joy that saints
were not born saints! Quite the contrary saints were actually sinners. They were born with Original Sin. They had to
battle with these innate proclivities and at times fiercely! Still more the
saints would actually fall into sin and sometimes struggle to get out of it—as
in the long battle of Saint Augustine!
This thought brought me great hope that I can be a saint and should
strive for it. This one-liner says it
Church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital of sinners.”
Magdalene forgiven by Jesus
SAINT MARY MAGDALENE. One of the best examples of a great sinner
who became a great saint is SAINT MARY MAGDALENE. Every year we celebrate her Liturgical Feast
day on July 22.
Before her conversion Mary of Magdala
lived a very sinful lifestyle. She was
seeking for love in the wrong place.
She gave her body freely to false lovers time and time again. Until she finally realized that this was a
Not only did Mary Magdalene give in
to the flesh but she also had another very serious problem: she was possessed
by the devil, and not just one devil but actually seven devils lived within
her. POSSESSION! Mary Magdalene had
demonic possession! It was Jesus who
exorcised her of these seven devils!
Jesus casts out the devils
JESUS TRANSFORMS. Drawing close to Jesus with humility, a
spirit of repentance and good will results in TRANSFORMATION. The Biblical word is “Metanoia”—which means conversion or change of heart! Jesus showed
her the difference between false love – the idolatry of the sin of lust—and
true love which is Incarnate in the Person of Jesus the Lord. Once Mary
Magdalene became truly convinced in mind and heart that Jesus was the true
response, the true lover, she abandoned her sinful lifestyle, burnt the bridges
of the past, turned over a new leaf and gave herself to a totally fresh start! Our God is a God of second chances! No longer would she sell herself cheap and
allow herself to be treated like an
object to be used but she would give her love totally to the One who is worthy
of love—Jesus the Lord!
SIGNS OF THE RADICAL CONVERSION OF
SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
Jesus forgives always the repentant sinner
Jesus tells us that we can know a
tree by the fruit it produces. A rotten
apple is a sign of a bad tree. Likewise, we can be aware of the inner heart of
the person by the exterior fruits that become manifest. Mary Magdalene’s conversion was authentic
because of the exterior signs of her conduct.
First, FOLLOWER. With a group of pious women Mary Magdalene
followed Jesus during the course of His Public ministry. No longer would she
follow the false illusions of the world!
The Virgin Mary and Magdalene
Second, GIVING. Her following was not a passive, curious,
unfruitful dragging of one’s feet. Rather, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna
would provide Jesus as well as His Apostles with material means so that they
could dedicate themselves fully and totally to the preaching of the Kingdom of
God, casting out of the evil spirits, healing diseases and saving souls for the
Third, THE PASSION OF CHRIST. The movie, the Passion of the Christ, by Mel
Gibson presents the Blessed Virgin Mary accompanying Jesus during the course of
His Sorrowful Passion. Walking side by
side with the Blessed Virgin Mary is the person of Mary
Magdalene. Both Marys witnessed the brutal scourging of Jesus at the pillar.
After the profuse Blood of Jesus poured to the ground, both fell to hands and
knees to wipe up the pools of the Precious Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who
takes away the sins of the world.
Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross
CALVARY. On the hill of Calvary both the Blessed
Virgin Mary and Magdalene climbed the hill with the Lord, by their mere
presence, encouraging Jesus in the most sorrowful and painful moments of His
CRUCIFIXION. Both were there! They both stood at the foot of the cross
those long hours witnessing the last hours and the dripping Blood of
Jesus. This took great courage on the
part of both of them. COMPASSION is a virtue that means that one is willing to
suffer with and actually share in the suffering of one’s loved ones. One who
suffers for another alleviates the suffering of the one who suffers!
Magdalene embraces the cross of Jesus
DEATH. Both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Mary
Magdalene witnessed the last moments and death of Jesus on the cross and heard
the last words that the Savior uttered: “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.
It is finished.”
Fourth, THE RESURRECTION OF
JESUS. According to Catholic tradition
Jesus first appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary—even though this is not
explicitly stated in the Gospels. However, the first person that Jesus appears
to in the Gospels is Saint Mary Magdalene, early that Sunday morning that we call
Easter Sunday. Like many of us, Mary did not recognize Jesus. She actually
thought that He might be the gardener. Upon calling her name “Mary” her eyes
were opened and she finally recognized Jesus the Lord.
Jesus is risen alleluia!
Fifth, AN APOSTLE TO THE
APOSTLES! Mary Magdalene, overcome with
joy and emotion, scurries off to tell the good news to the Apostles that Jesus
was no longer dead but that he had truly risen from the dead. Therefore, she
shares her own experience of the Risen Lord.
The love of Jesus cannot be hidden under a lampstand but is meant to be
communicated to the whole world! The
last words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew are: “Go out to all the world and baptize all in the name of the Father, the
Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them all that I taught you. And behold I am
with you always even until the end of the world.” Mary Magdalene, overflowing in joy, could not
keep this joy to herself!
Saint Faustina and mercy
UNIVERSAL MESSAGE. The life of Saint Mary Magdalene teaches us
many important lessons:
SINNERS AND MERCY! Like the Magdalene we are all sinners but
God’s mercy and forgiveness is infinite.
As soon as we humbly beg for forgiveness Jesus forgives us in a
SEVEN DEVILS. Jesus cast seven devils from Mary
Magdalene. We all have to battle against
the seven devils that are called the Capital sins: Gluttony, Lust, Greed,
Sloth, Anger, Envy, and Pride. “Lord, free us from these devils!”
The Spiritual life is a battle
CONVERSION. An authentic conversion will only come about
through contact with Jesus. Jesus can
transform the worst sinners into the greatest saints if we allow Him to do His
work. Why not ask Jesus today to make
you into a saint?
We are all searching for love.
IDOLATRY! Is falling in love with the false god. Only Jesus can give us
a true, authentic love.
ACTIONS SPEAK. Mary Magdalene proved that her conversion
was true by her lifestyle. She followed Jesus, gave to Jesus both time and
treasures and her whole life.
The faithful three: Mary the Mother of God, John and Magdalene
FAITHFUL IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD. Magdalene followed Jesus in His bitter
Passion but also in the glory of His resurrection. We must not be “Fair weather
friends”—that means, to be with the Lord only in the sunny days and the party,
but to be with Him in the thick of it and in His most bleak, dark, painful
Mary is Queen of all the saints
HEAVEN. Now and for all eternity Saint Mary Magdalene
is with Jesus, adoring Him, loving Him and praying for us so that one day we
will be with Him for all eternity. Saint
Mary Magdalene pray for us!