Monday, May 25, 2009

MAY 25 SAINT MARY MAGDALENE DE' PAZZI

“Our Lady of Mount Carmel
and Saints”
(Simon Stock,
Angelus of Jerusalem,
Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi,
Teresa of Avila),
by Pietro Novelli,1641
MAY 25

SAINT MARY MAGDALENE DE' PAZZI,
VIRGIN

Biographical Information about Saint Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi

Readings for the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi [1]

Readings and Commenary:
[2]

FIRST READING
1 Corinthians 7:25-35

In regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord,
but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy.
So this is what I think best because of the present distress:
that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.
Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek a separation.
Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife.
If you marry, however, you do not sin,
nor does an unmarried woman sin if she marries;
but such people will experience affliction in their earthly life,
and I would like to spare you that.

I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away.

I should like you to be free of anxieties.
An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord,
how he may please the Lord.
But a married man is anxious about the things of the world,
how he may please his wife, and he is divided.
An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord,
so that she may be holy in both body and spirit.
A married woman, on the other hand,
is anxious about the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
I am telling you this for your own benefit,
not to impose a restraint upon you,
but for the sake of propriety
and adherence to the Lord without distraction.
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Commentary on
1 Cor 7:25-35

St. Paul gives his opinion (“Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord”) as opposed to a definitive requirement. It is his feeling that the Christians are already living in the “end times” and that the Parousia, Christ’s second coming is eminent. The language he uses is quite similar to “the time of distress” mentioned in
Zephaniah 1:15 and Luke 21:23. His comments about “virgins” refer to both male and female and scholars question whether St. Paul is aware of what Jesus said in Matthew 19:12 concerning the gift of the marital vocation. The Apostle therefore tells the Corinthians that they should moderate their behavior (not immerse themselves), anticipating the final resurrection.

CCC: 1 Cor 7:26 672; 1 Cor 7:31 1619; 1 Cor 7:32 1579, 1618; 1 Cor 7:34-36 922; 1 Cor 7:34-35 506
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RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 148:1-2, 11-13, 13-14

R. (see 12a and 13a) Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


Praise the LORD from the heavens;
praise him in the heights;
Praise him, all you his angels, praise him,
all you his hosts,
R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


Let the kings of the earth and all peoples,
the princes and all the judges of the earth,
Young men, too, and maidens,
old men and boys,
Praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted.
R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.


His majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has lifted up the horn of his people.
Be this his praise from all his faithful ones;
from the children of Israel, the people close to him. Alleluia.
R. Young men and women, praise the name of the Lord.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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Commentary on
Ps 148:1-2, 11-13, 13-14

Psalm 148 is a hymn of praise. In this selection we find it singing of the omnipotence of God, His power and majesty, and His promise of salvation.

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GOSPEL
Mark 3:31-35

The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house.
Standing outside, they sent word to him and called him.
A crowd seated around him told him,
"Your mother and your brothers and your sisters
are outside asking for you."
But he said to them in reply,
"Who are my mother and my brothers?"
And looking around at those seated in the circle he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of God
is my brother and sister and mother."
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Commentary on
Mk 3:31-35

This passage, while affirming our own adoption as brothers and sisters in Christ, does cause some confusion among those who take scripture at face value without understanding the culture of the time.

“In Semitic usage, the terms "brother" and "sister" are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters.”
[3] Because of this, when Mary comes looking for Jesus in this selection, she is, as would be expected, joined by members of the extended family. Jesus extends the family even further though his adoption of those who, as those “seated in the circle” who listen to his word and believe.
 
Another possible explanation, although it comes from an apocryphal source from the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD, is that the Lord’s foster father, St. Joseph, had been previously married (and widowed).  According to “The History of Joseph the Carpenter” from this first marriage,  “[2.]… he begot for himself sons and daughters, four sons, namely, and two daughters. Now these are their names— Judas, Justus, James, and Simon. The names of the two daughters were Assia and Lydia.” These would have been the half-brothers and sisters of the Lord.
 
Because of this, when Mary comes looking for Jesus in this selection, she is, as would be expected, joined by members of the extended family. Jesus extends the family even further though his adoption of those “seated in the circle” who listen to his word and believe, telling those gathered that “…whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

CCC: Mk 3:31-35 500
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Reflection:

As St. Paul implies in his letter to the Corinthians, the call to be a Consecrated Virgin is that – a call. It is a special mark of dedicated faith and a symbol of unreserved love for Christ the Savior. St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi understood this vocation in a very special way. She heroically led a life dedicated to prayer and self denial; accepting the adoption of Christ completely. She was known to have received tremendous grace because of her dedication to the Savior and the Holy Spirit.

For us, her words of encouragement provide encouragement as we struggle to follow the Lord more closely. She wrote the following: “A little drop of simple obedience is worth a million times more than a whole vase of the choicest contemplation.” The obedience of which she speaks is obedience to God. He commands us, as his children, to follow the teachings of our Brother, Jesus who asks us to love God and love one another.

If we work diligently toward this end, we will surely find ourselves joining St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi with all the Saints in the Heavenly Kingdom in our time.

Pax

[1] The picture used is “Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saints” (Simon Stock, Angelus of Jerusalem, Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Teresa of Avila), by Pietro Novelli,1641
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] From the reference note on Mark 6; 3 in the NAB

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