St. Mary Magdalene (cropped), c. 1500, Pietro Perugino, 18 ½×13 ½, oil on wood panel, Pitti Palace, Florence Gate, 1993, Patricia Wright 9 x 9 in, acrylic on paper, Private collection



Prayerfully reflect on the image of Mary Magdalene. Let her enigmatic expression speak to you. Mary Magdalene grieved the loss of Jesus and went through a process until the Resurrection. Using Dr. Kuebler Ross’ stages of grief and the artwork for inspiration pray with the following questions. What do you see in Mary’s face and what do you think the artist was trying to convey? What we see often reflects how and where we are.
Looking carefully at the painting and praying for insight may help us to understand ourselves and where we are better.
  • Denial – “This can’t be happening.” In what areas of your life are you in denial? Discuss this with the Lord asking for wisdom.
  • Anger – “Why is this happening to me?” Who or what angers you? Be honest with the Lord. Remember the prayer: Lord bless, (name of person) and transform me to set me free.
  • Bargaining – “I will do anything to change this.” What controlling or passive aggressive behaviors are you enlisting to cope with your current situation? Ask the Lord to reveal a healthier approach to your problems. How is the Lord guiding you?
  • Depression – “What’s the point of going on?” In what areas of your life are you feeling powerless, sad or lonely? Tell God. Who might benefit from you reaching out to him or her in their own depression? Take action.
  • Acceptance – “It’s going to be okay.” Acceptance does not mean liking a situation it’s being honest about the situation and recognizing what can and cannot be changed.
  • Pray the serenity prayer and reflect on it. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
  • How are you called to be light or a messenger of love to others? How will you express this?
  • What one action will you take to be an angel, light, or messenger of love for another person? Take the action.