“Stoning Mary Magdalene.”

We see the world with our eyes and the eyes can see so much, even into the soul. But the eyes of man can deceive and the eyes can judge the heart…As it is written in Matthew 6:22-24, “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is clouded or evil, then your body will be filled with evil and dark clouds.” These eyes that can see so much, as with words that can make or break a person and the eyes which God gave us to see the light and goodness in others, we sometimes use for darkness even to the point of “stoning” a person’s character, purity of intention and sincerity of heart.

From the time I was a little girl and I received my first dose of ridicule and neglect, I carried with me the story of Mary Magdalene: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”~John 8:1-11~ Every cruel word, every time I was refused friendship , every time I sat alone, every time I felt that inner pain, every time those tears silently ran down my face, every false accusation I received, every act of calumny or detraction put upon me, I discovered the power of uniting this suffering to Christ. Every negative action made against me felt to me as every scrape, tear, cut and blow they would have put upon Mary Magdalene, a woman soaked in sin yet searching desperately for a savior.

And so that coworker we call “lazy,” maybe her father is sick and dying and though it would look on the outside that she has poor work ethic, perhaps she is suffering an interior emotional battle. That classmate we call a freak, he could grow to be a doctor, computer engineer or scientist. Our parents that we see as “annoying” may just be overprotective and that comes from concern and pure love from the heart. The “fat” girl who struggles with self confidence and fears no one will love her truly or see her inner value, must cry inside every day feeling she is not enough. The one we call “ugly,” may suffer from a skin disease… We don’t know people yet we act as though we know them. So whereas the world may have seen Mary Magdalene to be a dirty and promiscuous woman who committed adultery before God and therefore the law was to rightfully stone her, Christ bends down with compassion and offers her the immense love in the chance for repentance. How amazing it was that even in her lowest and most humiliating moment, the pure eyes of Christ looked deeply into hers and saw her for what she truly was: his daughter. Christ does this with us. He takes our hand and we arise from the mud, from the stain of sin and addiction in our lives, from the hurtful things of the past, from the harsh and untrue words that engraved themselves in our brains and we began to see it as our identity…Christ’s words to Mary Magdalene changed her life. He forgave her and said “go and sin no more.” So even though the memories of the past pain my heart still, I forgive those who have hurt me, neglected me, persecuted me and falsely judged me. Those words and those actions have made me the woman I am and I have become stronger because of it. But the truth remains that words are so powerful. When someone tells us we are ugly, we feel ugly. When we are told we are beautiful, we feel beautiful. When we are told we are fat, we feel fat. When we are told we are not smart enough or not good enough, we feel insufficient. We base our actions and our life decisions on these petty small words, on what others say. But what does God say? Let us look to the cross and we will find the answer. The pains from the past have paved my way to Christ and without those words, that bullying, that neglect, the harshness of those actions, I would not be as close and united to Christ. We share a heart and we share the same feelings because when we hurt, Christ hurts, when we are joyful, Christ is joyful, when we love others, Christ is pleased. May our words, our actions, our every decision, do nothing but be for the honor, praise and glory of God and may every word from our mouths, be what Christ would say to others. Let’s be a light in the world and be to others what Christ is to us. And perhaps though you have had a path filled with tears and thorns, as Mary Magdalene did, if you search for Christ with all your heart as she did and as I strive to do every day, you will find your ultimate happiness and you will be touched with the light of heaven so as to start a new life and begin again. Rise from the dust and the ashes, from the cruelty and painful memories of the past. The past is not a reminder of who you are completely, but must be used as a reference in hope for the future. Praised be Jesus Christ! St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us and all women who share your story.

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