by Alan Altany
“Most of all I imitate the behavior of Mary Magdalene, for her amazing — or, rather loving — audacity which delighted the heart of Jesus, and has cast its spell upon mine.” – St. Therese of Lisieux
The Magdalene’s past drove her into a cold desert of seven demons until Jesus touched the rock of her soul and water gushed as the wilderness became a sea of new life and love’s forgiveness given without delay. She bore the Cross with Jesus that Jerusalem Friday afternoon with Jesus’ mother and John when the apostles had disappeared into their quicksand of scared despair. Mary Magdalene had known hell and would never go hopeless again in spite of that day’s catastrophe. On the 3rd day as the disciples continued to huddle and press together in their secret room, she walked to the tomb to anoint the savaged body according to Jewish tradition. What Mary saw and didn’t see would radically shake the world, as she ran back and told the others, with impossible words, that Jesus was up and gone, the tomb empty with angels, and she had seen the Master. The apostles disbelieved her and went to the tomb themselves, full of confusion and an invisible seed of unconscious hope; Mary, after all, had born witness to the resurrected Jesus, pure beauty with his scarred wounds. Nothing could remain ever the same as the Apostles would also see Jesus risen in body and soul, propelling and compelling them into the world to proclaim what Mary had first professed to those feeble apostles, now inspired by God to the death. Mary was faithful through her fear, courageous in her following Jesus to the end and to the beginning, knowing He was not a ravaged, resuscitated man limping stooped over into history, but her risen Lord confounding all the Apostles to life.
Dr. Alan Altany is a partially retired, septuagenarian college professor of religious studies and theology who is still teaching. He has been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance worker, high school teacher, small magazine of poetry editor, director of religious education for churches, truck driver, among other things. In 2020, he had published a book of Christian poetry entitled A Beautiful Absurdity: Christian Poetry of the Sacred