Mary Magdalene at the Tomb

From the GOSPEL of MARY TEXT

“Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.

Mary answered and said to them, “what is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, ‘Lord, I saw you today in a vision.’ He answered and said to me, ‘Blessed are you that you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is the treasure.’ I said to him, ‘Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?’ The Savior answered and said, ‘He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind which [is] between the two – that is [what] sees the vision…’

Mary goes to the tomb and finds the Christ but mistakes Him for the gardener. When she hears the word Rabbi, she is not reaching out to a resuscitated corpse because of curiosity or incredulity. She reaches out to touch him to affirm her love. According to Jewish law this was no casual gesture, women did not reach out to men. Christ responds with “do not hold on to me!” John 20:1-18. Mary Magdalene is told to go to the Apostles and tell them He has gone to His father and theirs.

In three separate biblical accounts Mary Magdalene and the other women by Christ’s side are the continual thread through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. They have not hidden themselves from the horror of death or wavered from Christ’s message. If we are to define the vocation of priest as those who stand in the place of Christ and speak of His continual active presence in our life, she is the first priest to proclaim the good news, ordained by the voice of Christ Himself.

After the Virgin Mary, Mary is named as the most purified woman mentioned in the bible. She was no doubt educated and perhaps quite wealthy. Presumably, as many think, she was the prostitute made “clean” when Christ healed her. Remember, the text which supports her ‘uncleanliness’ ( Icon:Casting Out the Demons page ??) does not specify what exactly she gets cleansed of.

At any rate, she is the prostitute made “clean” now kneeling before Christ possessing the corresponding virtues; Patience, Compassion, Humility, Ethics, Wisdom and Generosity. Imagine being completely restored and cleansed of old grudges, the fog of illusion, health issues and all selfish desires. Once healed, she would have been able to see the spiritual truth working in all things, as well as the barbarity of the human condition. Her heart and energetic centers were opened allowing her to communicate with Christ transfigured, resurrected (she is seeing His Spirit ) and administer His teachings in their fullness to anyone, in her time and ours.

When Christ says to her, “Mary” she responds with “Rabbini”. These two know each other by name through spirit. The idea of Mary having a discussion with the gardener is intriguing. The Bible tells only that she hears him say “don’t touch me” and “go and tell the disciples…” but here the Mary text offers us a more extensive conversation. She is speaking with her teacher. Either because of a vision or in a vision, her inquiry is not easy or simple and shows her vibrant questioning mind. A woman who thinks! After this encounter,(following icon next page) Mary will repeat to the disciples, “Where the mind is, there will be your treasure”. Mary tries to explain to Peter how the mind understands when it is filled with wisdom ‘He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind which [is] between the two…’

No one will deny what a glorious organ the mind is and its value for navigating through life. For me, mature faith must include permission to trust my mind and its capacity for understanding to see the truth. The doctrines and authority of the church are guidelines and support, but ones individual truth will only be known one mind at a time, revealed in wisdom and given to those who seek, knock and ask. It grieves me greatly that those common rights, to seek, knock and ask were in large part given only to men because of the power they have had over women. When Mary asks Christ how we see, through the soul or the spirit? Christ answers, we are asked to embrace someplace in between the soul and the spirit, in the mind. Why would He have said such a thing to a women if He did not want her to think?

It is God in me who thinks.

About Mary Jane Miller
Mary Jane Miller

Iconography, byzantine style contemporary art, catholic art in San Miguel Allende, Mexico. fine art and religion, spirituality and god
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