Before I even left for this wondrous and harrowing adventure, I was struggling with the idea that my spirituality wasn’t up to snuff. The struggle became more prominent after a mere two weeks. My devout classmates made me question my interactions with God. Was I only paying the bare minimum dues or was I not even close?
Through prayer, I ask for strength, then I try to remember to show gratitude. That’s the extent of our relationship. Sharing my spirituality is hard, so anything besides silent prayer makes me feel more awkward than usual. This will be the first time I publicly talk about my faith and quite possibly the last (depending on the response I get).
In Florence, I came face to face with Donatello’s Penitent Magdalene. She was wretched – nothing but skin, bones, and scraggly hair. She was pleading through her brokenness, pleading for someone to give her a chance. She was beautiful.
She helped me realize that I should not be ashamed to approach God as I am. My spirituality doesn’t look like my peers’, but why should that mean it isn’t valid? Mary Magdalene was readily accepted by God despite her sinful past. I had spent so much time worried that I would be barred from heaven for a whole lot less.
My spirituality is not less because it is private. I can praise God behind closed doors and not feel guilty because others sing for the world to hear. I’m not a bad Christian because I don’t have the Bible memorized. These are things I’m trying to believe. If Mary Magdalene found her own way to live faithfully, then I can too.