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3 Inspiring lessons for the modern Christian from St. Mary Magdalene’s life

Mary Magdalene

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov | Public Domain

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 07/22/21

This extraordinary saint was "the apostle of the apostles" and shows us how to live with faithfulness and courage.

Although she is mentioned several times in Scripture, there is some mystery around St. Mary of Magdalene, also called Mary of Magdala. For a long time, there was a popular legend that she had been a prostitute before she began to follow Jesus. More recently, it’s believed that this was a mistakenslander

What Scripture does establish is that Jesus cleansed her of seven demons (Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9), that she was one of the women who accompanied and aided Jesus in Galilee (Luke 8:1–2), that she witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, that she went with two other women on Easter morning to the tomb to anoint his corpse, and finally that saw the risen Christ and shared the Good News with his other disciples.

We also know that she was close to Christ and very involved in his ministry, both before and after his death and resurrection. This is why she is such a wonderful example of how to follow Christ.

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from her extraordinary life ...

1Faithfulness

The Gospel tells us, “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala” (John 19:25). St. Mary Magalene remained with Christ until the end of his life, even when most of his other followers abandoned him.

She shows us how to be faithful even when it’s very hard to do so. This faithfulness matters both personally and spiritually. 

On a personal level, she shows us how to remain with those we love when they are suffering. She did not leave Christ to suffer alone. This kind of accompaniment is vitally important when people we care about go through hardship.

On a spiritual level, she shows us how important it is to remain faithful to Christ and his Church. Applying her example to the bigger picture, she shows us not to leave when times get hard, but to stick it out with hopeful trust in God. 

2Courage

Remaining with Christ during his crucifixion took extraordinary courage. The situation was very dangerous for any of his followers. No wonder so many of them fled!

But even the risk of death could not deter St. Mary Magdalene from remaining at Christ’s side. She is an example of someone who was willing to face any risk for the sake of following Christ.

3Witness

Christ called all of his followers to share his death and resurrection with the whole world. But St. Mary Magdalene took it a step further. She shared the Good News with the Apostles themselves:

“Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ and what he told her.”

John 20:18-19

It is for this reason that St. John Paul II called her “the apostle of the apostles.” She was the first to proclaim the Gospel and to do the work God commanded her to do. 

She lived out her vocation to witness to the Gospel for the rest of her life. This brave, bold saint is someone all Christians can learn from and imitate today.

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Saints
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