Monday, April 03, 2017

St. Mary of Egypt




The Fifth Sunday of Lent.

The Orthodox celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent in honor of St. Mary of Egypt, the penitent. (Her actual feast day is kept elsewhere on April 1, 2 and 3.) For those who have been addicted to sexual promiscuity - of any kind - St. Mary is a powerful intercessor and edifying example of penitence.  If they take away the title of penitent for the Magdalen, they can never do so for Mary of Egypt.

I was thinking of Mary of Egypt after Communion Sunday.  Briefly, the story of her conversion informs us that she was a 'dancer' and a harlot, on a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.  She also plied her trade on the way, 'turning tricks' as one might say today.  Our Lady's icon paralyzed her, keeping her from entering the church to venerate the relics.  She begged Our Lady for help, repented of her sins, and was able to enter.  Shortly after, instructed by the Blessed Virgin, she left everything and fled into the desert to do penance.  Penance.  We don't even know what that means today.  We don't even know how to flee the occasion of sin.

Yet many of us judge and condemn one another.  We claim to love the sinner but hate the sin, insisting we are only concerned for the salvation of souls, only to neglect our own in the process.

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