I have been reading Mary, Called Magdalene by Margaret George for a few weeks now. I would have finished sooner, but it is an older library copy and prone to loose pages. I didn’t want to carry it on the airplane rides to and from Seattle or risk it getting pulled apart inside my luggage. So I left it behind and read a Kindle book on our trip.
Last night, I had less than 100 pages till the end of the book, so I sat in bed reading until around 1 o’clock this morning. I was curious about Ms. George’s decision making process, leading me to read her author’s note which was printed at the end of the book.
In the note, she explains the legend that Mary was martyred at Ephesus and buried there. She wrote of pilgrimages to that sacred spot and other such things. Then, she listed the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene…
My brain went foggy for a moment. I kept thinking it was the 20th, but no, because my older sister had a birthday on the 20th, and that was at least a day earlier. I walked downstairs to ask Corey if it was July 20th or 21st. Seeing as, it was past midnight, he shook his head and told me, “Today is July 22nd.”
I don’t really believe in coincidence, so this gave me a bit of a start. What are the odds I would finish the book on the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. I had no idea there even WAS such a day until I read it on that page. I stood in my kitchen a while, wrapped up in the warmth of a tiny arrow sent from God. There is something I felt was happening but wanted assurance. Now, I have that assurance.
I started 2012 with a theme, as I have done each year since 2007 or 2008. I can’t remember for sure. Maybe it was 2006, even. Regardless, this year was different than those that went before. Usually, my theme comes in the shape of a word or phrase I feel God pressing into my heart. This year, my theme came in the form of a person. Mary, mother of Jesus. I have been reading a devotional that offers snippets of writing about Mary. I read Showing Mary and left my Willow Tree Holy Family out where I could enjoy it all year, instead of just at Christmas. Black Madonnas wove themselves into the book I was writing.
Then, I picked up Margaret George’s fictional biography of Mary Magdalene. I was feeling very grateful for Margaret, as I referenced one of her books (Memoirs of Cleopatra) in my tornado-themed novel, and sent it off to be read by her very own agent, though I had not realized he represented her. He and I got a laugh out of that “coincidence.” So, I was reading the book and opening my Bible to verify things Jesus said. Then, we began packing for a mission trip to Seattle and, suddenly, it hit me that we would be serving at Mary’s Place. I assumed this referred to Mary the mother until we arrived for worship with those wonderful women on Saturday morning. The church there is called Church of Mary Magdalene.
I have felt God is steering my theme in a new direction. When I was given my theme, The Year of Mary, I assumed I would be dealing with Our Lady of Heaven, with her willingness to just “let it be,” and I’ve been dealing with just that. But also, I’ve dealt with other things, things so vague I have no words to tell you about them. But Mary Magdalene has taken up residence to help me deal with them. She and the Blessed Mother are holding hands and watching me with a smile.
At least, I hope it’s with a smile.