Holy Week – Resurrecting the Magdalene Part V
This year, as we journey toward the cross, and later, the empty tomb, we not only prepare to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, who became Christ; we work together to resurrect the Magdalene from 2000 years of dismissal. Together we invite Mary Magdalene to rise from the dead – the death that was accomplished at the hands of a patriarchal and hierarchical world that could not imagine a woman as equal to the man they made into a god.
Through a re-reading of scripture, input, discussion and prayerful contemplation, we will take Mary off the cross upon which she suffered her death and restore her to her rightful place as co-equal with Christ. Like Jesus, Mary became fully self-actualized, living by and for the purpose of Love, and is now showing us how to do the same.
Good Friday Video Meditation Exercise
Set aside 30 minutes for today’s meditation exercises. The first, is a video reflection on the events of Good Friday – Jesus’ struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, Jesus’ trial, condemnation and crucifixion. Watch the following excerpt from the classic movie Jesus of Nazareth. As you are watching, imagine that you are witnessing the events as they are unfolding from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. Place yourself within her being as witness to Jesus’ suffering. The man she studied under, ministered with and perhaps even married was being killed. How might she have felt? Be conscious of what Jesus’ death would have likely meant for Mary. The life she had known was coming to an end. The man who empowered her, stood beside her, advocated for her (and other women) would be no longer. What thoughts might Mary have had related to this loss, to losing the life and love she had known, and what might she be thinking about her future without Jesus? Record your thoughts and reflections in a notebook or journal.
Scripture/Meditation Exercise I
Prayerfully read through the scripture passage below. Imagine that these are Mary’s words as she is accompanying Jesus to his trial, crucifixion, death and entombment. Imagine these are also Mary’s words in the face of her own grief, loss and dramatic life change. Write your thoughts and reflections in your notebook or journal. Reflect on the times in your own life where you have been invited to surrender your life into the hands of your Divine Parent.
(Lk 23:46) Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit. In you, O Mother, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O Mother, O faithful One. R. Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit. For all my foes I am an object of reproach, a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends; they who see me abroad flee from me. I am forgotten like the unremembered dead; I am like a dish that is broken. R. Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit. But my trust is in you, O Mother; I say, “You are my Hope. In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.” R. Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Divine. R. Mother, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Ps 31: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
Scripture/Meditation Exercise II
Prayerfully read the passage below that has historically been associated with Jesus and the promises of “goodness” in his death. But now, read it as a promise of vindication in the death of the Magdalene. How might the marginalizing of Mary and her story have served a higher purpose? How might we begin to realize the fruits of Mary’s “sacrifice?” How might we support the resurrection of the Magdalene in the same way that she supported Jesus’ resurrection?
See, my servant shall prosper, she shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at her so marred was her look beyond human semblance and her appearance beyond that of the daughters of man so shall she startle many nations, because of her kings and priests shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it. Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the EIVINE been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; She was a beauty to behold, Attractive beyond compare. Yet she was spurned and avoided by people, She suffered because of this and grew accustomed to infirmity, becoming one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and she was held in no esteem, because in her presence, all felt seen. It was our infirmities that she bore, our sufferings that she endured, while they thought of her as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. She was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins; upon her was the chastisement that makes us whole, by her stripes we can be healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the MOTHER lifted her up in spite of our guilt.
Though she was harshly treated, she submitted and opened not her mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, she was silent and opened not her mouth. Oppressed and condemned, she was taken away, and who would have thought any more of her destiny? When she was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten by the sin of the people, a grave was assigned her among the wicked, named “prostitute and whore” though she had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.
She gave her life as an offering for love, and she shall see her descendants rise, then the will of the Mother shall be accomplished through her. IS 52: 13 – 53: 10