|Having Reflected on What She Had Done, She Did Not Wish to Set Bounds on What She Should Do.
[Lessons from Matins.]
The Sixth Thursday of Lent.*
The Otdanije of the Annunciation;** and, the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel.
1:21 PM 3/26/2015 —
Whenever I ponder the penitential spirit of Mary Magdalene, I feel more like weeping than like speaking. For the tears of this sinful woman will soften even a heart of stone towards the idea of doing penance. Having reflected on what she had done, she did not wish to set bounds on what she should do. She came in, univited, after the meal had begun, and brought her tears to the banquet. See with what grief she must burn, when she is not ashamed to weep even at a banquet.
This woman, who Luke calls "a sinful woman," is called Mary by John (11: 2). We think she is that Mary from whom, according to Mark's testimony, seven devils were driven (16: 9). What would be designated by seven devils but the totality of vice? The number seven is a fitting figure for a totality (for example, all time is perceived in terms of the seven days). And so Mary had seven devils, because she abounded in all the vices.
But note that she looked at the stains of her sinfulness and then ran to be washed at the fountain of mercy. The diners did not embarrass her. For since she was inwardly so deeply ashamed of herself, she considered the outward embarrassment as nothing. What should we admire, brothers: Mary's coming or the Lord's receiving her? Receiving, should I say: drawing her to Himself and receiving her. For there is no doubt that He who in His gentleness received her outwardly was in His mercy drawing her inwardly.