THE DEATH OF THE MAGDALENE
Taken from the Poem Of The Man God (Old Title)
Also available in a booklet form from Maria Valtorta Australia)
(The scene is a cavern in a rock, containing a bed of piled-up leaves on a frame of interwoven branches, and a large stone and a smaller one which serve as a table and a chair. Protruding from the wall is a stone splinter, supporting a rustic cross of branches, encircled with ivy from a live plant on the ground. To complete the scene, there are two primitive vases with wild flowers, a giant shell with a little wild cyclamen plant, a jug of water, a sheaf of thorny branches, and a scourge made with knotted cords …)
A thin woman, wearing rustic, dark clothing, covered by a goatskin as a blanket, goes into the grotto, pushing aside the hanging branches. She looks exhausted. It is impossible to determine her age. If one were to judge by her withered face, one would say she was quite old over sixty. If one were to go by her flowing locks, still beautiful, thick, and golden -not over forty. Her hair hangs down in two braids over her curved, slender shoulders, and it is the only thing that shines out in that desolation. The woman must certainly have been beautiful … But her deeply sunken eyes no lower sparkle. Her two eyes reveal the many tears they have shed, (and the lines on her face reveal much suffering)…
The woman drags herself over to the mass of stone which serves as a table, and sets bilberries and wild strawberries upon it. She then goes to the altar and kneels down. But she is so exhausted, that she nearly falls in doing so, and must hold herself up with one hand on the stone slab. She prays, looking at the cross, and tears flow down her wrinkles to her mouth, which drinks them in. She then lets her goatskin slip down -remaining with only the rough tunic to cover her -and takes the scourges and the thorns.
She clasps the thorny branches tightly around her head and her loins, and scourges herself with the cords. But she is too weak to do so. She drops the scourge, and supporting herself against the altar with her hands and her forehead, she says, “I can’t withstand any more, Rabbi! I can’t suffer more, in memory of your pain!”
The voice brings me to recognize her. It is Mary Magdalene. Iam in her grotto as a penitent. Mary is weeping. She calls Jesus lovingly. She cannot suffer any more. But she can still, love. Her flesh, mortified by penance, can no longer withstand the effort of scourging herself, but her heart still beats passionately, and consumes itself in its final strength, by loving. And she loves, remaining with her forehead crowned with thorns, and her waist clasped by thorns. She loves, by speaking to her Master in a continuous profession of love, and a renewed act of contrition.
She has slipped, with her brow touching the ground. The same posture she had on Calvary before Jesus, when He was placed on Mary’s lap; the same one she had in the house in Jerusalem, when Veronica explained her veil; the same one she had in the garden of Joseph of Arimathea, when Jesus called her and she recognised Him and worshipped Him
(1). But now she is crying, because Jesus is not there.
“Life is fleeing from me, my Master. And will I have to die without seeing You again? When will I be able to take delight in your face? My sins are before me, and accuse me. You have forgiven me
(2) ,and I believe hell will not possess me. But how long will I be detained in expiation, before living by You! Oh, good Master! For the sake of the love You have given me, comfort my soul! The hour of death has come. For the sake of your desolate dying on the cross, comfort your creature! You begot me. You. not my mother. You raised me up, more than You raised up Lazarus, my brother
(3). For he was already good, and death could only mean waiting in your Limbo. I was dead in my soul, and to die meant eternal death. Jesus, into your hands I entrust my spirit! It is yours, because You have redeemed it. As a final expiation, I agree to experience the harshness of your dying in abandonment. But give me a sign that my life has served to expiate my sinning.”
“Mary!” Jesus has appeared. He seems to come down from the rustic cross. But He is not wounded and dying. He is as handsome as on the morning of the Resurrection
(1). He comes down from the altar, and goes towards the prostrate woman. He bends over her. He calls, her again, and since she seems to believe that of their time together, and ; the Voice is sounding for her spiritual senses, and remains with her face to the ground, she does not see the light which Christ is emitting. He touches her resting his hand on her head, and taking her by the elbow -as in Bethany -to lift her up again.
When she feels touched, and recognizes the hand by its length, she cries out loudly. And she uplifts her face, transfigured with joy. And she lowers it to kiss the feet of her Lord.
“Get up, Mary, it’s Me, Life is fleeing. It’s true. But I have come to tell you that Christ awaits you. There is no waiting for Mary. Everything is forgiven her. From the first moment it was forgiven. But now it is more than forgiven. Your place is already prepared in My Kingdom. I have come Mary, to tell you this. I did not order the angel to do so, because I repay a hundredfold for what I receive, and I remember what I have received from you. Mary, let us together relive a moment in the past….”
(In a beautiful and moving remembrance, Jesus recalls the events of their time together, and acknowledging her martyrdom of love from Him, He says:)
“I will recede you into glory. Kiss my hand and lie down in peace. Rest. It is time for you to rest. Give me your poor thorns. Now it is time for roses. Rest and wait. I bless you, blessed one.”
Jesus has obliged Mary to lie down on her couch. And the saint, with her face washed with tears of ecstasy, has cries out loudly. And lain down as her God has wanted her to, and now seems to sleep, with her arms crossed over her chest and her tears continuing to fall -but with a smile on her mouth.
She rises again to a sitting position, when a very bright radiance appears in the grotto, because of the arrival of an angel bearing a chalice, which he sets upon the altar and worships. Mary kneels beside her cot and worships,too. She can no longer move. Her strength is failing. But she is blessed.
The angel takes the chalice, and gives her Communion. He then goes back up to Heaven.
FROM GREAT SINNER -TO GREAT SAINT
(Jesus comments to Maria Valtorta -and to us all -about the visions she has seen of Mary Magdalene:) (The Poem of the Man God, VOI 3, p 622)
“Of all the resurrected people of My Gospel she is the greatest. She was raised from seven deaths **. She was reborn. You have seen her when she was a sinner, then when she repented, then when she was forgiven. Then you saw her as a lover, then as a pitiful woman bent over the slain Body of her Lord, then as a servant of My Mother, Whom she loves because She is My Mother. And finally you have seen her as a repentant soul, at the threshold of her Paradise.
0 souls who are afraid, learn not to be afraid of Me, by reading the life of Mary of Magdala.”
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