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Mary Magdalene: A guide for the hour of trial

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 07/22/22

Mary Magdalene's strength during the hour of darkness came from her love for the Lord.

The feast of Mary Magdalene is one of those feasts that put us in touch with the feminine genius that underlies the entire Gospel. For it is a woman who makes salvation history possible, Mary, and it is a woman who bears witness to having the first experience of the Resurrected Jesus, Mary Magdalene.

If Mary of Nazareth is the Queen of the Apostles, Mary Magdalene is rightly the apostle of the apostles.

Today’s gospel reading bears full witness to this because it shows us how we must live in the hour of darkness, the hour of trial. Any of us can be tempted to become discouraged by contrary circumstances, especially when they have the flavor of finality, but Magdalene stubbornly remains in the garden of the tomb and inexplicably continues to hope against all hope.

“And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.’”

Not even the angels upset her, or impressed her, or moved her from her grief. This woman is the emblem of fortitude.

“When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ She thought it was the gardener and said to him, ‘Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.’”

A woman alone feels that she has the strength to carry the full weight of the Lord’s body. It is the strength that arises in her from love. But she needs to discern that sorrow and fortitude are not enough; we need to let Jesus speak to us and reveal what we have not yet understood.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher.” What an immense lesson comes to us from this woman. How could the Church live without all this? We would find ourselves living Easter without realizing it and continuing to think as if we were still on Good Friday. 


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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