The actual conversion of Mary Magdalene recorded in Luke chapter 7 shows her going to the house of Simon the Pharisee of her own volition.
By her own instinct of penance she chose a most public moment and place to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and wipe them dry with the hairs of her head. While no mention is made of any personal approach of Jesus to Her, He does turn to her and say, “Woman, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” With such words Jesus shows that she believed in His Divinity by His power to forgive her sins. What we know directly of this evangelical fact is that the Grace of God moved the penitent woman. But what moved the Grace?
To answer this question, let us look at other examples of grace moving people in the Gospels. For example, grace transformed Peter from fisherman to apostle. After Christ chose Peter’s boat for a sermon He commanded Peter to launch out into the deep for a catch. When the miraculous catch of fishes occurred, Peter fell at Our Lord’s feet and said: “Depart from me O Lord, for I am a sinful man!” And Christ responded “henceforth, thou shalt catch men!” (Lk 5:10) The boat represented the Church, the Community of Faith and prayer. Thus, what moves Grace is the Faith and prayer of the Church.
This truth is found even more explicitly revealed in the resurrection of the Widow of Naim’s only son. As this lad was carried out of town to his burial on a stretcher, preceded by his weeping mother, Christ bade the boy arise “moved with mercy” at his mother’s sorrow. (Lk 7:13) Thus, in the eyes of Jesus, the sorrow of that mother represented the prayers of His Church, and especially, those of His own Mother. Those prayers merited the grace of that boy’s resurrection.
Again, the Caaninite woman said thought within herself: “If only I touch His garment I will be healed!” (Mk 5:28) She believed she would be healed without Jesus so much as looking at her, believing in the latent power that went out from Him, even through his garment. But those garments represented the Church, and so again, Grace has been given by Christ as the author but through the Church of prayer as the means.
And so it was in the case of Mary Magdalene’s conversion. The Church prayed, and she converted. But where was the Church at that time? The Church during the time of the Gospel was more specially concentrated in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She believed perfectly, so could pray efficaciously. The rest of the Church was yet being formed. Today we find the Catholic Church in a stage of being unformed and disintegrated. Mary’s prayer not only sustains it but as we read in the Gospel, raises up souls who are to be its active members. Let us be the instruments of Mary’s efficacious prayer by the daily Rosary for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of souls.