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St Mary Magdalene

I don't know why so many people persist in thinking of Mary Magdalene as a notorious sinner. The gospels portray her as a woman of great character and resolve whose experience of being healed by the Lord Jesus was utterly transforming. But perhaps the popular view of Mary as a penitent is useful to us in the twenty-first century, who so rarely accept that we are sinners in need of repentance. We must acknowledge God's love and forgiveness rather than dwell on our own shocking ingratitude, but we must not pretend that sin is of no consequence. There are some lines of Phineas Fletcher (1580–1650) that I've always loved. The poet asks that his tear-filled eyes may become the way in which the Lord sees sin. There is a prayer in the paradox.
Drop, drop, slow tears
And bathe those beauteous feet
Which brought from heaven
The news and Prince of Peace;
Cease not, wet eyes,
His mercy to entreat;
To cry for vengeance
Sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods
Drown all my faults and fears;
Nor let His eye
See sin, but through my tears.