“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. (Isaiah 1:18)
1-Who is our great saint?
- She was called the second Mary Magdalene, the repentant, the hermit.
- She is considered one of the most wondrous examples of repentance for all the faithful.
- She is a Coptic Saint and a very honored saint in the Eastern orthodox and Catholic Churches.
- The Eastern Orthodox church commemorates her on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent due to her recognition by the Church as a model of repentance.
- The Coptic Church commemorates her feast on Parmoute 6 (April 14).
2- Born and Raised:
- She was born and raised in the city of Alexandria about the year 61 A.M. (345 A.D.) from Christian parents.
- At 12 years old, she Lost her Parents. After that, Satan led her astray, in his wicked ways and made her his net through which he caught innumerable souls.
- She continued in fornication and prostitution for 17 years.
3- The turning point:
- At 29 y/o, she met people going to Jerusalem and she went with them. Since she did not have what to pay for the trip, she gave herself to the owners of the ship in return, until she came to Jerusalem. She also went on doing the same there.
- She wished to enter through the door of the church of the Resurrection, but she felt a hidden power pulling her from the back preventing her from entering the church. Whenever she tried to enter, she felt as someone preventing her from doing so, and right away she realized that was because of her uncleanliness.
4- The intersessions of Saint Mary the Mother of God:
- She prayed with a broken heart, asking St Mary the mother of God for interceding on her behalf before her Beloved Son to let her enter the church and she promised to repent.
- She felt that her prayers were heard from God and was encouraged to enter the Church again and nothing prevented her that time. Then She prayed to God in front of the Holy Cross asking Him to guide her for what was pleasing to Him.
- She stood before the icon of the blessed and pure Virgin and asked her fervently to guide her that she might save her soul. A voice came out of the icon saying: "If you cross the Jordan river you will find rest and salvation."
5- In the wilderness:
- She rose in haste and on her way, God sent her a man who gave her three small coins with which she bought bread. Then she crossed the Jordan river to the wilderness where she lived for 47 years.
- She was feeding all this period on the herbs of the desert, standing the hotness of the weather in the summer and Coldness of it in the winter.
- She strove strenuously for 17 years [Satan fought against her by the fornication that she repented from]. She overcame with the grace of God.
6- Who is Saint Zosima (Zosimus)?
- He is a saint and a monk Priest, who was living in one of the Monasteries close to Jordan river. He used to spend the Great lent 40 days in the same desert where Jesus Christ spent his 40 days fasting according to the custom of the monks there.
- During the holy Forty Days, while he was walking in the desert, he saw this Saint from far and he thought that she was a shadow or mirage. He prayed to God to reveal to him the fact about this mirage, and he was inspired that it was a human being. He went toward the shadow, but it fled from him.
7- Saint Mary and Saint Zosima:
- When she saw that he is insisting on following her, she called him from behind a hill saying: "O Zosima if you wish to talk to me, throw me a rag that I may cover myself for I am naked." He marveled for she called him by his name, he threw to her what she covered herself with, and she came to him.
- After the greetings and the metanias, she asked him to pray for her because he was a priest. He asked her to tell him the story of her life from the beginning to the present time. After she told him, she asked him to bring with him in the next year the Holy Eucharist to partake of it.
8- Partaking the Communion:
- In the next year, while he was waiting for her in the same place to give her the Holy Communion, he saw her coming from the other side of the river, and when she approached the water, she signed the cross on it and was able to walk on the water till she came to the land.
- He gave her the Holy Mysteries, then he gave her what he had from dates and lentils, she only took a handful of lentils, and she asked him to come to her in the next year.
9- Saint Mary’s departure:
- When he came to her in the next year, he found that she had departed, a lion standing beside her and writing beside her saying " Bury Mary, the poor woman, in the dust of which she was created."
- He marveled from the writing and from the lion that was protecting her body and while he was thinking how he was going to dig to bury her, the lion came and dug a grave for her. He prayed over her and buried her.
- When he returned to his monastery, he told the monks the story of the strife of this holy woman, and they all increased in steadfastness in the Divine Mercy and progressed in the spiritual life. All the years of her life were 76 years.
May her prayers be with us and glory be to God forever.