The very mention of St. Mary Magdalene can set off a religious war the likes of which would singe the nose hairs of even the most pachydermal of theologians. And yet, every 22nd of July, charges of heresy, misogyny and conspiracy are coupled with that kind of knowledge that religious and political zealots can produce in copious amounts: The one and only truth!
Personally, I prefer to celebrate the memory of one of our most beloved saints by being grateful for her life in this world and in the world that we cannot see through the haze that men have so long called their truth. Whether St. Mary was a prostitute or priestess, sage or salacious courtesan, doesn't really matter. What matters to us now is that Mary showed up, sought after the knowledge of the Divine, and once she had her change of heart, followed the Love of Christ on earth.
What matters about Mary is that she understood the magnitude of the Incarnation, and she gave her best to honor the indwelling Divine with her life, her tears and her ointments.
In response to the theological peashooter skirmishes surrounding this great, healing woman, I recommend that we light a candle and say a prayer for all those people out there, in this very cruel world, who are taking potshots at one another because they think they have the truth. You know where they are. They’re in the Ukraine, they’re in Gaza; they’re in your neighborhood, and they're in your mind.
Take the first candle that you lit for the problems of the living, and use its flame to light another candle in memory of a strong, human, and therefore, imperfect saint; a myrrh-bearer, a princess of the Church, Apostle to the Apostles, and a reminder to all of us that errors are forgiven and that Love is eternal.
Two candles, one flame.