"The last thing I ask of you—and I ask it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—is that you love him alone, that you trust implicitly in him and that you encourage one another continually to suffer for the love of him."
Today, May 25, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (1566-1607), the “ecstatic saint.” Mystic and visionary, Saint Mary wished for nothing more than to suffer for the love of Christ, and throughout her life was graced with extraordinary ecstasies, raptures, and communion with the Lord. Her life of devotion and suffering was carefully recorded by her Carmelite sisters, and Saint Mary was canonized only sixty years following her death. Pope Benedict XVI wrote: "Sister Mary Magdalene had the gift of living communion with God in an ever more interiorized form, so as to become a model for the whole community, and even today she continues to be thought of as "mother". Purified love, which pulsed through her heart, opened her to the desire for full conformity to Christ, her Spouse, to the point of sharing with Him the 'naked suffering' of the cross."
"because you don't need them in order to serve him." In her eyes of this holy woman, God gave these gifts to those who were too weak to become holy otherwise—thus proof to herself that she was unworthy of the Lord. She is a saint because of her lifelong struggle to show love and gratitude to the God who gave her those graces, despite her feelings of doubt and despair.
"O Love, you are neither known nor loved."
“would not return it until it is wholly pure and filled with love.” Mary did not recover from her illness for nearly three months.
As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, Admonitions, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious.
"I called and you didn't care," Mary quickly answered back, "You didn't call loudly enough" and told him to shout His love.
“I will take away not the grace but the feeling of grace. Though I will seem to leave you I will be closer to you." Mary was just 19 when this period began, and she acutely felt desolate and sad. She was repelled by prayer and tempted by everything. Her heart, in her own words, was like a “pitch-dark room with only a feeble light shining that only made the darkness deeper.” So desolate was she, her sisters kept watch over her to prevent her from taking her life. Through all, she held onto prayer, penance, and service to her community. Mary’s period of trial ended in ecstasy, when the Lord presented her with the option to receive any gifts she desired. Saint Mary asked for two: to look upon any neighbor as good and holy without judgment, and to always have God’s presence before her.
“I wanted a hidden life, but, see, God wanted something quite different for me.”
Saint Mary, throughout her life, served as guide to many of her sisters, as well as popes and leaders of the Church. She wrote many encouraging letters to the clergy, seeking reform, and devotion to the Lord. Her ability to read souls and understand the interior lives of others gave her the opportunity to provide specific and perfect spiritual direction, even when such direction called for blunt commentary on the actions of other.
You love those who give themselves completely to Your service,
and You filled Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi
with heavenly gifts and the fire of Your love.
As we honor her today
may we follow her example of purity and charity.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
”Prayer ought to be humble, fervent, resigned, persevering, and accompanied with great reverence. One should consider that he stands in the presence of a God, and speaks with a Lord before whom the angels tremble from awe and fear.”
“Come, Holy Spirit. Spirit of truth, you are the reward of the saints, the comforter of souls, light in the darkness, riches to the poor, treasure to lovers, food for the hungry, comfort to those who are wandering; to sum up, you are the one in whom all treasures are contained.
Come! As you descended upon Mary that the Word might become flesh, work in us through grace as you worked in her through nature and grace.
Come! Food of every chaste thought, fountain of all mercy, sum of all purity.
Come! Consume in us whatever prevents us from being consumed in you.”
“A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest contemplation.”
“Trials are nothing else but the forge that purifies the soul of all its imperfections.”
“You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward.”
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."