Lessons to Learn from the Marys of the Bible

…O more than virgin in thy penitent love!

And more than martyr in thy passionate woe!

Who knelt not with thee on the gory sod,

How should they not sit throned with thee above?

Or when the crown our worship could bestow

Like that long gold which wiped the feet of God?

(An excerpt from To St. Mary Magdalene, by Father Edmund of the Heart of Mary. C. P.)


When I read this poem, nearly a year ago, I almost immediately looked up Mary Magdalene’s feast day and put it on the calendar.  And seeing that her feast day is tomorrow, I’m here to talk about two of the Mary’s of the Bible, Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany.

Something about this poem, and the realization of the beautiful relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus, struck me that day.  And it still strikes me today.  Mary Magdalene was shunned by everyone around her.  She was possessed and likely living a very sinful life.  The other Mary, Mary of Bethany, was the “sinner”, the “woman of the city”, the tramp.  No good Jew would have had anything to do with her.  By Jewish law, she could have been stoned.

And, yet, these two women became some of the closest companions and disciples of the Son of God.

And while this poem mixes up the different Mary’s a bit, (Mary Magdalene was possessed by 7 demons, Mary of Bethany wiped His feet) I think it represents beautifully the deep relationship that Jesus sought out with those around Him.  Even women.  Even sinners.  So, let’s dig into this a bit…

+ Jesus wasn’t afraid to speak to people outside of His “circle”

Jesus, the Son of God, was criticized for spending time with sinners.  The leaders of the time thought He couldn’t be a Savior if He associated with “lower people”.  But what is a Savior anyway?  Someone who helps those in need and saves those who are in trouble!  As Christians, we, too, are called to reach out to those outside of our circle and show them the light of Christ.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can even be as simple as a smile.  But that smile, the Joy of Christ, means something!!

+ Neither of the Mary’s were afraid of being seen with Jesus

As women who “grew up” in dramatically different circles than Jesus, they could have easily steered clear of Him and His followers.  But instead, they threw themselves wholeheartedly into His loving ministry.  There must have been something inside of them that said, “He can make me whole again”.  What a beautiful thing to realize and something that we could all realize anew every day!!

+ They didn’t let their pasts stop them

I think one of the biggest hurdles that people have to overcome in accepting faith is their pasts.  People often look back on their lives and cannot understand how God could wipe their sins away and accept them.  How could God accept me, bruised and broken, when neither I, nor many I love, can?

The Mary’s of the Bible looked at it in a bit of a different way.  Imagine the strength that it would take for a prostitute to go in and wash a Prophet’s feet!  Imagine having the devil driven out of your life by Jesus and continuing to follow Him with such love!  These women did not let their past lives stop them.  Nothing could get between them and their Lord!!  As the whole world condemned them as unclean and demonic, Jesus simply called them “loved”.

+ They are the perfect “rags to riches” story

Think about a few successful people in the world.  People like Damian John, Casey Neistat, and Dr. Carson come to mind for me.  But it could have been any number of people.  You could have also thought of Taylor Swift, Tim Tebow, or the president.  But there is something special about those three men I mentioned above: They all started in rags.

Just as these men started their lives in very un-glamorous ways, the two Mary’s also started their lives in “rags”.  They were lost and didn’t know where to call home.  They were on the streets, constantly looking for someone to trust.  All they wanted was trust!  Imagine how relieved they must have felt when they finally found Someone they could trust.  Someone they knew wanted the best for them!!  After living years without Jesus, their devotion to Him was even stronger than one who had never lived without Him.  Jesus became their riches and all they needed!!

I hope this little post gave you some insight into these two beautiful women!!  Have a beautiful day!


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