Softly, silently, she prayed.
Her heart throbbed in her ears on her flushed face while her breath caught in her throat. This feeling again. It was so familiar.
She was desperate as she pried open the door, flickering her long lashes at a few lingerers in the entry, shyly from beneath her mantle, yet knowing the response her upturned eyes would evoke, so trying hard to keep them cast downward at the floor. Under her cloak, she hid a precious bottle sealed up in the East with the finest of perfumes, worth more than any of these men’s livelihoods for a year. She wished she could hide her shame the same way, beneath a cloak, but a woman could not possibly hide in a room full of men. Perhaps they would mistake her for the servants? Still breathless, despite protests, she burst into the room where she had heard He was dining.
There He was!
His back was to her, but his radiance was unmistakable.
The first man since her childhood days with her father who had ever really looked upon her. The first man who had ever known her. The first man who had ever loved her. The first man she had ever truly loved.
Bravely, and determinedly, she went to him. She stood directly behind him at his feet, now weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears. She didn’t know when the tears had begun. Perhaps she had been weeping before she even entered the residence. She bent, courageous and embarrassed at once, and wiped the tears from his feet with her hair, kissed them, and finally broke the hidden flask. The oriental alabaster took some force to break, and as it cracked with the power of her love, she poured it over his feet and anointed them with the ointment. The relief she felt pouring out this expensive gift was ineffable, like the scent of the spikenard. The perfume filled the whole room and she knew some were gasping at her presence, her behavior and the cost of her gift.
He would not stop staring into her eyes. Looking deep into her, past her shame, and into her heart.
…as the owner of the house muttered under his breath about who and what sort of woman she was, such a sinner, and how this Man could not possibly be a prophet if He allowed her to touch Him.
The feeling washed over again. Who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him…that she is a sinner… It was true. It was all too true.
The room was whispering, and finally fell silent. She feared her heart would stop for grief.
The Man spoke into the silence to her accuser:
“I have something to say to you. Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?”
The other man said, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
The Man said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Suddenly, He turned to her,
but spoke to the other man.
“Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment.
So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”
He then said to her: “Your sins are forgiven.”
All around her, the others at the table asked themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
But He said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
He turned His luminous countenance upon hers,
and her face flushed again, this time in the glow of his loving gaze, and the corners of his mouth were turned up slightly, in appreciation of her beauty, beauty she could feel and sense and know through those eyes and that smile at this moment…
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Pieces of her precious alabaster jar had fallen and strewn upon the floor, broken yet poured out and purposeful, like her life. She picked a few of them up and set them in a fold of her robe…in memory of this moment. Her faith, His grace, had saved her. She departed, and there was peace.
St. Mary Magdalene, Pray for Us
The Lux Sancta Alabaster Candle is where we weep, bathe, kiss and dry the feet of Jesus with each and every prayer and promise, and where His Love and Grace flow into our hearts, blessing us and guiding us to go in His Peace.