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WOMEN OF THE CROSS ARE NOT TIRED YET!


Linda Harrison

 Happy Easter - Celebrating Ressurection Sunday


So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put Him.”

(Jn. 20:1-9)

 

Having witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary Magdalene was distraught.  Her savior, who had driven seven demons from her, had been tortured, nailed to a cross, and had died, and she was powerless to stop any part of it. John, Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mary of Clopas, also helplessly watched Jesus’s life slip away.  Afterward, Jesus’s mother bathed His body.  Then, the Son of Man was wrapped in cloth and laid in a tomb, and a large rock was rolled across the front. Roman guards stood ready to shoo nosy people away.  So Magdalene returned to their abodes with John, Mother Mary, and Mary of Clopas.

 

No one traveled to the tomb the next day, the Sabbath. However, Mary Magdalene made plans to get there as early as possible the following day. That night, I bet she didn’t sleep a wink. Although most women would have feared traveling alone in the long shadows of the earliest light of day, Magdalene ventured out without thought for her safety.

 

Arriving at the tomb, Magdalene sees it open; the stone rolled to the side. Her breath is taken away once her eyes adjust to the darkness inside. Jesus’s body is not there. Unbridled sorrow drowns her. She likely would have fallen to the ground and cried her heart out. Then, standing up on unsteady feet, she ran off. Women at that time didn’t run, for good reason. Her long garment quickly tangled about her legs, causing her to fall. Her loose sandals, not made for running, made her stumble.  But she kept going. No one witnessed her struggle to reach where Simon Peter and the other disciples were. To them, she frantically shouted, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb. Where have they taken him?”

 

As I’ve walked the path of Mary Magdalene, witnessing Jesus’s death on the cross year after year, I’ve grown closer to her and Him.  However, my trials and tribulations pale in comparison to what she witnessed and experienced as a woman of the cross.

 

She went from a life of sin to becoming a devoted follower of Jesus, showing that all people can change and find redemption.  My conversion to Catholicism was such a story, going from a jumble of beliefs to redeeming my soul through living a God-centered Catholic life.

 

The story of Mary Magdalene led me to understand God’s unwavering love and forgiveness, which is truly freely given to all, no matter the sin. When going through a divorce, I dwelt on who was at fault and why it was happening to me.  The stress caused an eating disorder, and it wasn’t until I was able to forgive my ex-spouse that my healing took place.  The power of forgiveness was brought home to me. I was no longer the victim but the victor.

 

The Church, led by the Holy Spirit, has given women the privilege to fulfill many special roles.  After all, God chose the three Marys and John to be the major witnesses of Jesus’s death, the first step to our Easter salvation.  And Mary Magdalene was honored to witness Jesus’s resurrection first. In his 1995 letter to the World Conference on Women, St. John Paul II heralded “…the importance of women in the Church and the special roles in which only they can contribute, in the realms of the family, the Church and the world.” God has led and honored me with many extraordinary responsibilities that have showered me with graces. One has been my role as a Regional Coordinator of the Lay Carmelites of Georgia. Through this opportunity, I have had a chance to grow and enhance the spirituality of the people who are devoted to four Georgia communities.

 

Being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021 drew me even closer to the foot of the cross, on my knees with Mary Magdalene. As I went through chemo and other treatments, I drew strength from helping Jesus carry his heavy cross.  It brought me to my knees.  I bled. Ignoring my loose sandals, I kept running and stumbling until the strength of my faith tightened them. Like Magdalene, I had to shout the testimony—in my case, of God’s healing grace --to others. I’m still running, and the rest of my life will be dedicated to praising and glorifying He who saved me.

 



My life’s mission is now to share my faith-filled testimony with others. I am not tired yet!


Author: LINDA HARRISON, Holy Family, 3401 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, GA. 

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Linda, keep shouting your testimony of God’s healing grace. To God be the Glory forever!

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