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Article: May 25 + Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

May 25 + Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - VENXARA®

May 25 + Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the “ecstatic saint.”

It would be easy to concentrate on the mystical experiences God gave this saint, rather than on her life. But Mary Magdalene is not a saint because she received ecstasies and graces from God. Many have received visions, ecstasies, and miracles without becoming holy. She is a saint because of her response to those gifts — a lifelong struggle to show love and gratitude to the God who gave her those graces.

In fact Mary Magdalene saw her ecstasies as evidence of a great fault in her, not a reward for holiness. She told one fellow sister that God did not give this sister the same graces "because you don't need them in order to serve Him." In her eyes, God gave these gifts to those who were too weak to become holy otherwise. That Mary Magdalene received these gifts proved, in her mind, how unworthy she was.

Catherine de Pazzi was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for her to have married into wealth and enjoy comfort, but Catherine chose to follow her own path. At 9, she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10, and made a vow of virginity one month later. At 16, Catherine entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there.

Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near, so her superiors let her make her profession of vows in a private ceremony from a cot in the chapel. Immediately after, Mary Magdalene fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into Divine Truths.

Mary Magdalene enjoyed great ecstasies of love and union with God. She also suffered great darknesses of soul, sicknesses and attacks by the devil. She endured a five-year period of great dryness and severe temptations against purity and of suicide. She received visions of the souls in Purgatory during her time of purification and also received the sacred stigmata invisibly, as she begged the Lord to keep it hidden. She offered all her sufferings to God for the conversion of sinners, heretics, pagans and unbelievers. She spent the last three years of her life in bed. Her motto was, “To suffer and not to die.” She died at the age of 41 and her incorrupt body is preserved in the Carmelite convent, in Florence, adjacent to the church there.

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