Apostle to the Apostles

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 

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