Today, the 22nd of July is Mary Magdalene’s day. To celebrate, here’s a sonnet drawn from Malcolm Guite’s collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press .
XV Easter Dawn
He blesses every Love which weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
‘They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.
One verse in particular stayed with me in the early morning hours: “Why are you weeping?” John 20:15. The early Christian desert fathers and mothers had the highest regard for what they called “the gift of tears.” Remember a time when you wept or when you were tempted to say to someone, “Don’t cry!” Consider these questions:
- What is your relationship to tears, which I often refer to as “moist prayer beads”?
- How and why can tears - both of joy and sorrow - be a gift?
Image Source: Wikimedia.org
Eastern Orthodox icon of Mary Magdalene as a Myrrhbearer (14-17 сentury)