Da: St. M. MAGDALENE OF FLORENCE
Creature delivered to the fire of the Spirit
The spiritual journey
in Horeb 1 (2007) pp. 83-89
In many circumstances d. D. Barsotti has argued that: "Today we can study Saints and perhaps we can study them more than they were ever studied before.
But very often in these studies their presence was not vivid enough to serve as an example for the life of faithful people... If the necessity to study the life of saints is for us undeniable today, it is even more important to use these studies living in a brotherhood: this is the most necessary spiritual doctrine.
The Saints are where we are. If Jesus is always present in each one of us as the giver of life, as he is the one who asks love and gives himself to, then the saints are where the Lord has willed that they were, that is closer to their brothers and sisters in need.
Recognizing her calling as a teacher and witness, it was decided to study S. Mary Magdalene’s life (1566-1607): this not just for love of dusty archives, unable to warm the hearts, but to discover it as a gift from the Lord and the Church in Carmel. In the letters she loved to sign herself "Your affectionate Sister" From this, you might see her both as a Sister and as a Teacher of spiritual life.
The bush is the heart that welcomes the Spirit
The whole spiritual adventure of St. M. Magdalene is placed under the sign of the Spirit, which was given by the Father and the Son, and that took her on a journey like a bride with her husband, even with a Church often resistant, if not closed, to her work.
The day of Pentecost of the year 1585 it was enshrined the 14th chapter of John's Gospel. The theme of the Word and Son of Peace donated her intelligence and involved her as she never felt before.
From the elevation of the Eucharist, Mary Magdalene become involved in the splendor of the Word. She argued: "And a heart that receives the Spirit is the bush that Moses saw burning and which does not ever consume (Exodus 3, 2-3)".
At nineteen her heart caught fire, and got involved in an experience very similar to that of the disciples of Emmaus. Mary Magdalene always offered her spirit and her being to the "God of communication" - as she testified, and she did so by "kissing" the extensive and mystical tradition from Origen to Bernardo.
For S. Mary Magdalene, it was a "kiss of peace" that generated the Incarnation of the Word, and the deification of the creature, of Trinity Mirror: "It was given her this heavenly peace by the throne of the Trinity, between divinity and humanity, the Word and Mary, between Mary and the Word, between the Word and the creature, between the creature and the Word".
For S. Maddalena the "kiss" became later on the overall figure of "the blessing" that was given by the encounter between God and humanity, and by the Word made flesh that then accomplished the whole history of salvation.
This encounter happened the first time with the Eucharist, while Saint Madgalene's spiritual maturity was the outcome of the kiss between her and God, and of her need to walk with God and on His footsteps.
The anxious desire
The experience in the convent - which was shorter than four years, opened crudely
Sister Magdalen’s idealist eyes. She saw a Church which did not respond, even distantly, to the freshness of the Gospel...
That‘s why from the beginning of summer 1586, she started writing and dictating several letters some of which were even unsent to avoid troubles for the author and her monastery. In them she wanted to speak with the Pope, Sixtus V, who was famous for his great economic wealth accumulated. She wanted to exhort the cardinals to "fall a little in love" with the Christ, believing that if the cardinals are "covered with the sweet Truth, then they will follow His footsteps."
To her archbishop Alessandro Medici who was as irresolute as irascible, she wanted to explain that women are not "useless" within the Church.
Even at cost of facing only misunderstandings, her experience with God "compelled" her to be communicative, to devote her life to the proclamation of the Gospel, and to build a slender but vital "plot" of communion.
She dedicated her life to this mission. Once she urged a sister "Be communicative, because if you do not make a use of the blessings that God gave you, while you attempt to communicate them to others, it could be that they will do it“. She gradually matured the prospect of a contemplative, prophetic and evangelizing life, which she could live together with a desire for a universal salvation.
Not to serve but to be married
In the last phase of St. Maddalena's life (1595-1607), it is possible to identify one more stage characterized by a deep outer discretion, but also marked by a significant outpouring of evangelization.
By the end of her life she experienced with ever more evidence, the need to
“become evangelically small”, to live the beatitude of the poor in spirit, because only the poor trusts and relies on the strength of the Spirit that works for them on the long term.
Unlike how the later tradition would have recalled this period ("naked suffering"), thanks to a recently rediscovered major promise of 1595, it looks she had a different perspective for this time:
"I Sister Evangelist, in honor of the eternal Father I recall how Sister M. Magdalene this day May 1, 1595, promised to God to be His bride and not His“maid” for His honor so that He would be pleased with her and most of His aid donation; she has promised to walk naked with only her God by her side, hear His voice and those who keep His place and when dubious thoughts would take place about anything, she promised to take advice before Christ by the nude and more naked soul will behold His eyes and her superiors".
She was able to welcome whatever God sent her, all God's 'payments' (so much wished by some new and old 'spiritual' personalities) and she did what God asked to His “bride” - as she signed herself in 1586. She focused on 'pure love' - a'bride love', 'dead' as the Son of God that could go through any barrier and compromise whether physical or psychological.
S. Mary Magdalene, in a debate with the Church caught in the "re-conquest" and defense of a
social space, testified 'with simplicity' the primacy of God and His Word, the revelation of the Holy Trinity which is communion, and which generates a dialogue. She fought for the
communication and acceptance between different people, men and women.
She was happy among
the young and the poor announced by the Gospel, and like the Virgin Mary she knew how "to bring out the hidden treasure" of the Word with courage and tenderness. She could bring up "the hidden
treasure" of the Word itself, the fire of the Spirit, even with the contradictions of her time, and was able to spread it to the world.