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Magdalene: Seven Devils

May 23, 2017

Amy Frykholm recently reviewed Marie Howe’s book, Magdalene: Poems, for Christian Century magazine. She wrote —

One of my favorite poems that mixes contemporary and ancient versions of Magdalene features her attempt to give an account of the seven devils that had once plagued her:

The first was that I was very busy.

The second—I was different from you: whatever happened to you, could not happen to me, not like that.

The third—I worried.

The fourth—envy, disguised as compassion.

The fifth was that I refused to consider the quality of life of the aphid,
The aphid disgusted me. But I ­couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The mosquito too—its face. And the ant—its bifurcated body.

Ok the first was that I was so busy . . .

Magdalene is every woman—with contemporary, devilish plagues. She cannot even conjure up the presence of mind to complete the list and keeps starting over, as if interrupted by the bleeping of her cell phone, drawn back to the demons she had sought to be rid of.

— It’s safe to say that not only is “Magdalene is every woman” but she’s every one of us, women and men alike, “with contemporary, devilish plagues.”

What’s one way you could do what Psalm 46:10 says to do? Quick refresher: Psalm 46:10 says to “Be still and know that I am God.”

What’s just one thing you could do…or maybe one thing you could stop doing…to be still and know?

Just one.

Start with just one. Or stop just one thing.

Because one is do-able.

Just one can create time and space for living into Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”



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  1. Bill Elving permalink

    Be still, what a concept……….bill


  2. You and me both: there’s so much to do, so many things on the list every day, and…but….

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Bill — greatly appreciate you and what you said as we were leaving last evening’s meeting!


  3. Turn off the phone! I must be the only person in the world that can leave home without thinking about whether the phone is with me or not. At least that is the impression others give me who are privy to me showing up without it or those who try to reach me when I don’t have it! Worse is to go to lunch with someone who doesn’t put it down the entire time they are believing they are giving their time to you. I love it when I leave home without it!


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