Whom Her Heart Loves — July 22 – St. Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene in today’s gospel shares obvious parallels with the woman in the first reading from the Song of Songs. The woman in the Song of Songs rose to find him whom her heart loves. Mary Magdalene rose early in the morning and came to the tomb. The woman in the Song of Songs sought her beloved but did not find him. Mary Magdalene reported to the apostles, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” The watchmen came upon the woman in the Song of Songs. As Mary wept, she saw two angels in white. The woman in the Song of Songs asked, “Have you seen him whom my heart loves?” Mary said (unknowingly to Jesus), “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” The woman in the Song of Songs had hardly left the watchmen when she found him whom her heart loved. Jesus said Mary’s name; she turned and said to him, “My rabbi!” The woman in the Song of Songs goes on to say, “I took hold of him and would not let him go.” Jesus had to say to Mary Magdalene, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.”

So what is the reason behind this providential parallel between Mary Magdalene and the woman in the Song of Songs? I have heard it said that the Song of Songs is the book of the Bible on which the saints have written about most. Perhaps God gave us Mary’s example so that we would not interpret the Song of Songs merely as a description of the corporate love between Yahweh and the people of God, or between Jesus and His bride the Church, but so that we would also see in it the love affair between Him and every person individually.

Our faith is not based upon feelings alone. (Feelings are too fickle to be our foundation.) Yet, feelings of the heart are an important part of our relationship with God. As Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all you mind, with all your strength, and with all your soul.” We must love Him with the intellect of our minds, with the strength of our bodies, and with the will of our souls, but we must also love Him with the emotions of our hearts. Stir up your affections for Christ, pattern the emotions of Mary Magdalene, who showed true devotion to Him whom her heart loved.

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