Feast of St Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin
Catarina de’ Pazzi was born in 1566 to the famous Tuscan noble family who were influential bankers in Florence, Italy, throughout the fifteenth century. She entered the Carmelites in Florence at the age of sixteen, taking the name Mary Magdalene, and held various offices within the convent. Throughout her religious life she was devoted to prayer and experienced many visions which were recorded by others in the convent. She worked for reform within the Church, a task she did not want but realised that it was essential to do so in order to secure the salvation of souls. She died in 1607 and was canonized in 1669.
Songs 5:4b, 8:6-7; Psalm 17; Luke 10:38-42
The first reading for today from the Old Testament Song of Songs speaks about love and the fact that love is as strong as death. The image is of a deeply powerful and abiding love which can never be purchased for it is genuine and everlasting rather than transient.
In the gospel we have the familiar story of Jesus’ visit with Martha and Mary. As we know, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he had to say, while Martha fussed over the small details of hospitality. The Lord tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part because she gives time to the Lord and listens to his word – hospitality is not dismissed but it does not replace time spent with the Lord and listening to his word. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi’s love for Jesus Christ was a love which could not be quenched and for which she underwent many acts of penance and purification. With the example of this Carmelite saint before us we are challenged to look at our own lives and to see if we genuinely love Christ, even unto death.