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18th-century Russian icon of
Saint Mary of Egypt

PLOGS BELOW (JML's Poetic Commentary)

O’ God Come to My Aid
O’ Lord Make Haste to Help Me

There are a lot of things happening globally
that are affecting our psychological,
emotional, and spiritual well being. I could
write, “don’t watch the news!”— but then
maybe you need some of the information to
navigate your daily life. We all have days
where we just don’t want to know what exactly
is happening because it’s new, uncertain, and

So, this week it’s been very important to me
to focus on faith in God. Maybe you are
congregating online to attend Mass or other
church services; and have doubts about why
you ever left home to attend any type of
praise service. While we are staying away
from each other and our typical activities
we all now get to experience the “God is in
us” witness of life. One of my friends joked
recently that this Lenten Season we are really
spending 40 days in the desert.

I was really moved by the story of Susanna;
which was also the Monday Mass reading.
Susanna, cries out to God soulfully from the
depths of an innate need for survival after
being wrongfully accused of adultery. And
God hears her cry— saving her life.

So, when I read the story of Saint Mary of
Egypt— I was really moved by how God
came to her forgiveness and conversion.
Saint Mary of Egypt was a promiscuous
woman in the 4th century. She wasn’t
necessarily a prostitute; she charged some
people and others she didn’t. Ironically, Saint
Mary of Egypt funded her pilgrimage to the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the feast of
the Exaltation of the Cross by prostituting on
the journey. When she finally arrived at the
church she couldn’t go in. It’s reported that
she was overwhelmed by a presence that kept
her from entering.

Let me just note— no men from the caravan
held Saint Mary of Egypt back. No men testified
against her and there is no report of men being
held back by a presence in this story. Yet, Saint
Mary of Egypt funded her trip by prostitution.

It’s reported that Saint Mary of Egypt had a deep
remorseful conversion because of the presence
that held her back. Saint Mary of Egypt begged
for forgiveness in front of an icon of the Virgin
Mary and promised to give up her life style of
promiscuity. After the interior, spiritual, private
confession—prayerfully expressing remorse, Saint
Mary of Egypt, tried to enter the church again
and was permitted. Her confession was heard by

In both of these stories, the story of Susanna and
the story of Saint Mary of Egypt, God hears the
private prayers that were said outside of churches.
Also, in both stories the prayers were said as acts
of faith and came out of the depths of their souls.

You do not need to be in a church to pray.

Below is the biblical story of Susanna. And below
that writing, I’ve attached a link to the story of
Saint Mary of Egypt.

Be well and stay safe! XOXO! JML

Susanna, Daniel Chapter 13

In Babylon there lived a man named
Joakim, who married a very beautiful
and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah; her pious
parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich; he had a
garden near his house, and the Jews
had recourse to him often because he
was the most respected of them all.

That year, two elders of the people
were appointed judges, of whom the
Lord said, “Wickedness has come out
of Babylon: from the elders who were
to govern the people as judges.” These
men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim. When
the people left at noon, Susanna used
to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every
day for her walk, they began to lust for
her. They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to
heaven, and did not keep in mind just

One day, while they were waiting for the
right moment, she entered the garden as
usual, with two maids only. She decided to
bathe, for the weather was warm. Nobody
else was there except the two elders, who
had hidden themselves and were watching
her. “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to
the maids, “and shut the garden doors while
I bathe.” As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are
shut, and no one can see us; give in to
our desire, and lie with us. If you refuse, we
will testify against you that you dismissed
your maids because a young man was here
with you.” “I am completely trapped,” Susanna
groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I
refuse, I cannot escape your power. Yet it is
better for me to fall into your power without
guilt than to sin before the Lord.” Then
Susanna shrieked, and the old men also
shouted at her, as one of them ran to open
the garden doors.

When the people in the house heard the
cries from the garden, they rushed in by
the side gate to see what had happened
to her. At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said
about Susanna. When the people came
to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
“Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all
her relatives. All her relatives and the
onlookers were weeping. In the midst of the
people the two elders rose up and laid their
hands on her head. Through tears she looked
up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord

The elders made this accusation: “As we
were walking in the garden alone, this
woman entered with two girls and shut
the doors of the garden, dismissing the
girls. A young man, who was hidden there,
came and lay with her. When we, in a
corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them. We saw them lying
together, but the man we could not hold,
because he was stronger than we; he
opened the doors and ran off. Then we
seized her and asked who the young
man was, but she refused to tell us. We
testify to this.” The assembly believed
them, since they were elders and judges
of the people, and they condemned her
to death.

But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they
come to be: you know that they have
testified falsely against me. Here I am
about to die, though I have done none of
the things with which these wicked men have
charged me.” The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,

God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy
named Daniel, and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him,
“What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without
examination and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified
falsely against her.” Then all the people
returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us, since
God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied, “Separate these two far from
each other that I may examine them.”

After they were separated one from the
other, he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age! Now
have your past sins come to term: passing
unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put
to death.’ Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered. Daniel
replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence
from him and split you in two.” Putting him to
one side, he ordered the other one to be
brought. Daniel said to him, “Offspring of
Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced
you, lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of
Israel, and in their fear they yielded to
you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate
your wickedness. Now, then, tell me under
what tree you surprised them together.” “Under
an oak,” he said. Daniel replied, “Your fine lie
has cost you also your head, for the angel of
God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as
to make an end of you both.” The whole
assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves
those who hope in him. They rose up against
the two elders, for by their own words
Daniel had convicted them of perjury. According
to the law of Moses, they inflicted on them the
penalty they had plotted to impose on their
neighbor: they put them to death. Thus was
innocent blood spared that day.

In honor of Saint Mary of Egypt
On her feast day, April 1, 2020


Stations of the Cross pdf

Divine Mercy pdf

Chaplet of Saint Michael pdf

How to pray the rosary pdf

The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
(audiobook) youtu.be/mTtMj9INlnE

Saint Theresa of Avila



Simone de Beauvoir


Death Comes For The Archbishop
Willa Crather



Plog Post: Wednesday, April 1, 2020