St Mary Magdalene -

      St. Mary Magdalene, Penitent

Of the earlier life of Mary Magdalene we know only that she was “a woman who was a sinner.” From the depth of her degradation she raised her eyes to Jesus with sorrow, hope, and love. All covered with shame, she came in where Jesus was at meat, and knelt behind Him. She said not a word, but bathed His feet with her tears, wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed them in humility, and at their touch her sins and her stain were gone. Then she poured on them the costly unguent prepared for far other uses; and His own divine lips rolled away her reproach, spoke her absolution, and bade her go in peace. Thenceforward she ministered to Jesus, sat at His feet, and heard His Words. She was one of the family “whom Jesus so loved” that He raised her brother Lazarus from the dead. Once again, on the eve of His Passion, she brought the precious ointment, and, now purified and beloved, poured it on His head, and the whole house of God is still filled with the fragrance of her anointing. She stood with Our Lady and St. John at the foot of the cross, the representative of the many who have had much forgiven. To her first, after His blessed Mother, and through her to His apostles, Our Lord gave the certainty of His resurrection; and to her first He made Himself known, calling her by her name, because she was His. When the faithful were scattered by persecution the family of Bethany found refuge in ‘ Provence. The cave in which St. Mary lived for thirty years is still seen, and the chapel on the mountain-top, in which she was caught up daily, like St. Paul, to “visions and revelations of the Lord.” When her end drew near she was borne to a spot still marked by a “sacred pillar,” where the holy Bishop Maximin awaited her; and when she had received her Lord, she peacefully fell asleep’ in death.


   Mass Propers – July 22

St. Mary Magdalen, Penitent 

   Double – White Vestments

  Missa ‘Me Exspectaverunt’

Introitus – Psalm 118: 95-96

Me exspectavérunt peccatóres, ut pérderent me: testimónia tua, Dómine, intelléxi: omnis consummatiónis vidi finem: latum mandátum tuum nimis. Ps. Beáti immaculáti in via: qui ámbulant in lege Dómini. Gloria Patri.


The wicked have waited for me to destroy me; I have understood Thy testimonies, O Lord: I have seen an end of all perfection: Thy commandment is exceedingly broad. Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.


Beatae Mariæ Magdalénæ, quæsumus, Dómine, suffrágiis adjuvémur: cujus précibus exorátus, quatriduánum fratrem Lázarum vivum ab ínferis resuscitásti: Qui vivis et regnas.


May we be assisted, O Lord, we beseech Thee, by the intercession of blessed Mary Magdalen for whom, moved by her prayers, Thou didst bring back her brother Lazarus, then dead for four days, alive from the grave. Who livest and reignest.

EPISTOLA – Canticles 3:2-5; 8:6-7

Surgam, et circuíbo civitátem: per vicos et platéas quæram quem díligit ánima mea: quæsívi illum, et non invéni. Invenérunt me vígiles, qui custódiunt civitátem. Num quem díligit ánima mea, vidístis? Páululum cum pertransíssem eos, invéni quem diligit ánima mea: ténui eum, nec dimittam, donec introdúcam illum in domum matris meæ, et in cubículum genítricis meæ. Adjúro vos, fíliæ Jerúsalem, per cápreas, cervósque campórum, ne suscitétis, neque evigiláre faciátis diléctam, donec ipsa velit. Pone me ut signáculum super cor tuum, ut signáculum super bráchium tuum: quia fortis est ut mors diléctio, dura sicut inférnus æmulátio: lámpades ejus, lámpades ignis, atque flammárum. Aquæ multæ non potuérunt exstínguere caritátem, nec flúmina óbruent illam: si séderit homo omnem substántiam domus suæ pro dilectióne, quasi nihil despíciet eam.

St Mary Magdalene - DOLCI, Carlo

St Mary Magdalene – DOLCI, Carlo


I will rise and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek Him Whom My soul loveth: I sought Him, and I found Him not. The watchmen who keep the city found me. Have you seen Him Whom My soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found Him Whom My soul loveth; I held Him, and I will not let Him go, till I bring Him into my mother s house, and into the chamber of her that bore me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor wake My beloved till she please. Put Me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is hard as hell; the lamps thereof are lamps of fire and flames. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it; if a man shall give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

GRADUALE – Psalm 44: 8

Dilexisti justitiam, et odísti iniquitátem. Proptérea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, óleo lætitiæ. Psalm 44: 5 Allelúia. Diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis: propterea benedixit te Deus in æternum. Allelúia.


Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity. Therefore, God, Thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. Psalm 44: 5 Alleluia, alleluia. Grace is poured abroad in thy lips: therefore hath God blessed thee for ever. Alleluia.


In illo témpore: Rogábat Jesum quidam de pharisæis, ut manducáret cum illo. Et ingréssus domum pharisæi, discúbuit. Et ecce múlier, quæ erat in civitáte peccátrix, ut cognóvit, quod accubuísset in domo pharisæi, áttulit alabástrum unguénti: et stans retro secus pedes ejus, lácrimis cœpit rigáre pedes ejus, et capíllis cápitis sui tergébat, et osculabátur pedes ejus, et unguénto ungébat. Videns autem pharisæus, qui vocáverat eum, ait intra se, dicens: Hic si esset prophéta, sciret útique, quæ et qualis est múlier, quæ tangit eum: quia peccátrix est. Et respóndens Jesus, dixit ad illum: Simon, hábeo tibi aliquid dícere. At ille ait: Magíster, die. Duo debitóres erant cuidam fœneratóri: unus debébat denários quingéntos, et álius quinquagínta. Non habéntibus illis unde rédderent, donávit utrísque. Quis ergo eum plus díligit? Respóndens Simon, dixit: Æstimo quia is, cui plus donávit. At ille dixit ei: Recte judicásti. Et convérsus ad mulíerem, dixit Simóni: Vides hanc mulíerem? Intrávi in domum tuam, aquam pédibus meis non dedísti. hæc autem lácrimis rigávit pedes meos, et capíllis suis tersit. Osculum mihi non dedísti: hæc autem, ex quo intrávit, non cessávit osculári pedes meos. Oleo caput meum non unxísti: hæc autem unguénto unxit pedes meos. Propter quod dico tibi: Remittúntur ei peccáta multa, quóniam diléxit multum. Cui autem minus dimíttitur, minus díligit. Dixit autem ad illam: Remittúntur tibi peccáta. Et cœpérunt, qui simul accumbébant dícere intra se: Quis est hic, qui étiam peccáta dimíttit? Dixit autem ad mulíerem: Fides tua te salvam fecit: vade in pace.

The Magdalene washing the feet of Jesus, surrounded by grisailles of other scenes from the life of the composite Magdalen, Frans Francken II, 1637


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 7: 36-50

At that time, one of the Pharisees desired Jesus to eat with him; and He went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that He sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; and standing behind at His feet, she began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited Him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee: And he said: Master, say it. A certain. creditor had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, He said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house: thou gavest me no water for My feet; but she with tears hath washed My feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed My feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much: but to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And He said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And He said to the woman: Thy faith has made thee safe; go in peace.


From the Sermons of Pope St Gregory the Great, 25th on the Gospels.

Mary Magdalen, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, through love of the truth, washed away in her tears the defilement of her sins, and the words of the Truth are fulfilled which He spake Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much. She who had remained chilly in sin, became fiery through love. When even His disciples went away again unto their own home, Mary still stood without at the sepulchre of Christ, weeping. She sought Him Whom her soul loved, but she found Him not. She searched for Him with tears; she yearned with strong desire for Him Who, she believed, had been taken away. And thus it befell her, that being the only one who had remained to seek Him, she was the only one that saw Him. It is the truth that the backbone of a good work is perseverance.

July 22 - Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene -  Pietro da Cortona

At first when she sought Him, she found Him not; she went on searching, and so it came to pass that she found Him; and this was so, to the end that her longing might grow in earnestness, and so in its earnestness might find what it sought. Hence is it that the Bride in the Song of Songs saith as representing the Church: By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth. We seek on our bed for Him Whom our soul loveth, when, having got some little rest in this world, we still sigh for the Presence of our Redeemer but it is by night that we so seek Him, for though our mind may be on the alert for Him, yet still He is hidden from our eyes by the darkness that now is. But if we find not Him Whom our soul loveth, it remaineth that we should rise and go about the city, that is, by thought and questioning, go through the holy Church of the elect seek Him in the streets, and in the broad ways, that is, walk anxiously looking about us both in the narrow and the broad places, that if we can, we may find His footsteps there for there are some even of those who live for the world, from whom something may be learnt to be imitated by a godly man. As we thus go wakefully about, the watchmen, that keep the city, find us; the holy Fathers, who are the watchmen of the bulwarks of the Church, come to meet our good endeavours, and to teach us either by their words or by their writings. And it needeth but a little to pass from them, but we find Him Whom our soul loveth (a little we must pass,) for albeit our Redeemer in lowliness became a man among men, yet by right of His Divine Nature He is still above men.

OFFERTORIUM – Psalm 44: 10

Filiae regum in honóre tuo: ádstitit regina a dextris tuis in vestítu deauráto, circúmdata varietáte.

Virgin and Child Enthroned with Sts Mary Magdalene and Catherine - RAFFAELLINO DEL GARBO


The daughters of kings are in thine glory: the queen stood on thy right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.


Munera nostra, quæsumus, Dómine, beátæ Maríæ Magdalénæ gloriósa mérita tibi reddant accépta: cujus oblatiónis obséquium unigénitus Fílius tuus cleménter suscépit impénsum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.


May the glorious merits of blessed Mary Magdalen, we beseech Thee, O Lord, render our gifts acceptable to Thee, as Thine only-begotten Son mercifully received the homage of the offering which she presented. Who with Thee livest and reignest.


Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Cœli, cœlorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti, jubeas, supplici confessione dicéntes.


It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

Christ Crucified with the Virgin, Saint John and Mary Magdalene - Van Dyck, Sir Anthony

Christ Crucified with the Virgin, Saint John and Mary Magdalene – Van Dyck, Sir Anthony


Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are full of Thy Glory! Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He Who cometh in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.

COMMUNIO – Psalm 118: 21

Feci judícium et justitiam, Dómine, non calumniéntur mihi supérbi: ad ómnia mandáta tua dirigébar, omnem viam iniquitátis ódio habui.


I have done judgment and justice, O Lord, let not the proud calumniate me; I was directed to all Thy commandments: I have hated all wicked ways.


Sumpto, quæsumus, Dómine, único ac salutári remédio, córpore et sánguine tuo pretióso: ab ómnibus malis, sanctæ Mariáe Magdalénæ patrocíniis, eruámur: Qui vivis et regnas.

Fra bartolomeo, God the Father with Sts Catherine of Siena and Mary Magdalen


Having received the sole remedy of salvation, Thy Body and precious Blood, O Lord, we beseech Thee, that, by the intercession of St. Mary Magdalen, we may be delivered from all evils: Who livest and reignest.


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