Mary Magdalene in the “Speculum Sacerdotale” (2 of 2)

Here is the second (and final) part of the Mary Magdalene story from the “Speculum Sacerdotale“. As I have mentioned before, I’m not a professional, so if there are errors, I do apologize. Please keep in mind that the medieval Mary Magdalene would also take on the contributes of other women/Marys of the bible.

And after time of her passage, there was such a savour smell that it lasted for five days.  And then the priest respectfully buried her holy body, and after his death, he made it that he should be buried with her.

Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who Christ raised from the dead, and also sister of Martha, who did much attending to Christ, as it is read in the Gospel.  But Mary chose the best part, for she set by the feet of our Lord and heard his holy words, and she followed him to the cross, and she walked on the day of Passover to his burial tomb to anoint him.  And after that, he had risen up, she was the first that saw him.  And therefore in our litany, we take her before all virgins except the mother of God, which not only is set and prayed before virgins, but also before all other saints after her son.
 
And our Lord had showed for Mary such a miracle.  A raging river that caused a flood, there was a ship filled with men and women.  So it happened that there rose up a wind and such a storm, that the ship filled up with water and sunk.  And then all that were in the ship were so troubled with the fear of death, that they were no prayers to God or to any other good saints.  But as many were in danger, it came into the mind of a certain woman that she should cry and speak with as high a voice as she might, in these words: “O’ Saint Mary Magdalene, so well beloved with Christ, I prayed thee by thy bitter tears that thou wettest Christ’s feet with, for to deliver me from this peril of death.”

And this same woman was pregnant with child, and she made a vow to God to give her child, if it should be a man, to be made a monk in an abbey nearby.  Within a moment there appeared to her a woman of gentle shape, who put her hand onto the woman and took her by the chin and brought her up to the bank, safe and sound.  And so the woman was delivered, through the help of God and of Mary Magdalene.  So afterward, when the woman had became pregnant, she was advised of her vow that she had made.  She offered the child to God and to Saint Mary Magdalene, and he was her servant for life.

Also there was a knight slayed in battle, who had made yearly pilgrimages to the sepulchre of Mary Magdalene.  As his friends wept and sorrowed for him, beholding him on the ground, they were angry with Mary Magdalene and asked why she let her servant die without confession, penance, and contrition.  Suddenly the dead body, to great marvel to all men, rose from the dead and made a priest come to him.  And when he had confessed to him and received God’s grace, he passed again to rest.

Also there was a clerk of Flaundres who fell into a stream of multiple crimes, and he was in such vices that he would neither do good nor hear of it.  Nevertheless he had great devotion to Mary Magdalene.  He worshiped her on her feast and fasted for her devoutly.  So in time, he had visited her sepulchre.  As he lay in his devotion, he had fallen into a half awake, half sleeping state, Mary Magdalene appeared to him.  She appeared as a celestial body, appearing in between two angels.  She said to him “Answer me now.  Why does thou act so wickedly against the prayers and merits that I make for thee?  I make for thee great instance and speak to my Lord, that thou should not perish, and thou will not amend, for I have prayed for thee to God, for the great devotion that thou has had for me.  Therefore, rise and amend it, and I shall never leave thee until thou be reconciled to God.”  And at that moment, this clerk felt the grace of God and Mary Magdalene, that he forsake the world and entered into religion and was of an exceptionally perfect life.  At the time of his death, Mary Magdalene was seen standing with angels besides his bed.  She took up his soul, like a white dove, to heaven.

Here is the original text I used: https://d.lib.rochester.edu/teams/text/reames-middle-english-legends-of-women-saints-mary-magdalen-speculum-sacerdotale

2021 translation/modernization by Bill Piper.

Published by bP

A gnostic wanderer

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