The first was that I was very busy.“Magdalene — The Seven Devils,” Marie Howe (2008)
The second — I was different from you: whatever happened to you could not happen to me, not like that.
Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, for it was to her whom Jesus first appeared after rising (John 20:10-18). We meet her today in Luke 8:1-3.
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.Luke 8:1-3 (ESV)
In his reflection along with this morning’s prayers, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, observed that women supported Jesus throughout his ministry. Women are ever-present in the gospels, doing what we would today call invisible labor: the necessary work of care. These three rather wealthy, well-connected women, and many others, “provided for them out of their means.”
Because they had been freed of their demons.
The world then was demon-haunted, much as it is today, full of afflicting spirits. Marie Howe in her poem imagines Mary Magdalene’s seven devils.
Some are familiar to me. What relief this cure of the soul must have been!
Thank you, Pádraig Ó Tuama, for drawing my attention to this poem.