St Mary Magdalen Church

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One morning when I was going for an early morning swim at Bentley pool, at the same time as what would have been morning Mass, I almost passed by a hidden narrow dirt-track. I noticed a little white wooden sign which appeared to be pointing me down the lane.  It was drawing me to St Mary’s.  I decided to take the turn down the track.  I of course assumed it would lead me to the church of Mother Mary.

I turned the bend past the farm outhouses and for several minutes this adorable flock stopped me in my tracks.  It was a delightfully playful family of mischievous goats, four of them kids which had me smiling from tip to toe with their almost hopping, and skew-wiff skipping animation.

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I was momentarily captured by the mother who so lovingly nurtured just one of her kids.

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Just past the goats the lane opened out wide . . . . and there standing poised, as if waiting for my arrival, nestled on the edge of nothing but secret farmland was the most beautiful church.   Just simply waiting there.  I got out of the car and went to the  gateway only to discover it was not a Mother Mary  Church waiting to nurture her child.  No God had other plans – He led me right to St Mary Magdalene.

This particular mornings timing meant that I could not stay, but having found my treasure I planned on coming back as soon as I could. 

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This was my first vision upon returning to St Mary Magdalene Church in Thorington that evening.    She is beautiful.

And now I have found a sanctuary here in the sunshine – in her garden – in the morning – in the evening – and in the afternoon, on no set days at all, just when the spirit calls me here.

A deeper sanctuary which is utterly compelling.  A sanctuary which I stumbled upon just at a time when I needed to stumble upon her.  You see a little while back I stopped going to morning Mass, because I was struggling with intense feelings of over powering sadness and sorrow – from lack of reconcilliation every time I received the Eucharist.  You see one day when I was studying Matthews Gospel I happened upon the below passage and I can not seem to get past it.

Matthew 5:23-26

New International Version (NIV)

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

It’s a difficult passage to pass by once its been digested, how can I pretend other.

I can not lie.  I will not lie.  I refuse to lie because to lie would be to pretend a truth which God  knows to be absolutely other, I can not bear false witness.   I refuse to lie before Him.  And so I pray that He will find some way to free me from my burden.  I am desperately missing morning Mass, I am desperately missing the Eucharist, but I can not live in such deepest sadness because of un-reconcilliation every single day.

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The first early evening that I came back here was so magical, the day long sun was slowly setting and was absolutely radiant.  The blinding rays penetrated my being as if radiating my bones with his healing rays.  I let the intense heat engulf me whole.

I entered inside the warm red brick wall, through the old wooden gate with all the wonder of a child.  The Spirit of the Chuch and my spirit seeped into each others presence.   We each explored each other – savoured each other and yet in the same instance full of abandonment – and the hot sun meld us together.  Or maybe it was the Son who meld us together.

I discovered her ancient doorways – who without passing through I seemingly passed through – enticed – invited and welcomed without any question.  She took me in – in to a place that I will return to again and again – without even entering the building.

 †

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And I was absolutely overcome when in the whole of the deserted churchyard I looked up and there was just one solitary pink rose next to the lamp, just like in my bud poem,  T’is here from bud, I became.

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One can only orbit around the exterior of this deeply holy place at present.  It is closed for worship for the next few years at least, because much money needs to be raised for her restoration. It is a Church of England, but first and foremost it would of course have been Catholic.

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I since have come back here for Magdalene inspiration many times, to sit in the churchyard and pray, and to write down the words that I am gathering in prayer and contemplation for the Charism that I will live by.  A Charism that I believe Mary Magdalene left for us; me, and all men and women, by the way that she lived her life, her Faith and above all her Love.  Loving without self-consciousness, without fear and almost with a blindness to others criticisms.  Probably without even realising how she would so inspire others to follow in her courageous footsteps.

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I come back here on wet dewy mornings, when the sun is newly risen.  I come here on long slow hot days, when there is a languid restful balmy peace.  I come here when the grass is fresh and green from the rains, and the sky is pencil grey with words.  And I will come here still in the hazy Summer, in the burnt Autumn, in the crisp Winter, and then I will come again in the newly awakened spring.

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And I will offer up all my gratitude to Mary Magdalene for her Beloved legacy of Love, and for her Beloved Christ who dared to Love her back in the face of such criticism.

And I will endeavour to continue to Love and to live in Truth, with the same deeply profound and ever enduring Love that I have also come to recognise in her.

Love unconditional.               Love supernatural.              Love Bestowed by God.

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About mags

Beloved apostle of His Soul x
This entry was posted in female discipleship, Love. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to St Mary Magdalen Church

  1. Tonia says:

    What a great find! God always seems to reveal Himself that much more clearly when you need Him. I remember speaking to a Carmelite friar about not being able to receive the Eucharist, he reminded me that “man does not live on bread alone”.

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