Mary Magdalene: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Mary Magdalene: Weekly Summary

Mary Magdalene

Saturday, July 25, 2020
Summary: Sunday, July 19—Friday, July 24, 2020

Mary Magdalene is the icon and archetype of love itself—needed, given, received, and passed on. . . . Jesus’ appearance to her first and alone is the clear affirmation of the wonderful message that we do not need to be perfect to be the beloved of Jesus and God. (Sunday)

Like myself, a great many Christians have absorbed most of what they know about Mary Magdalene through the dual filters of tradition and the liturgy, which inevitably direct our attention toward certain aspects of the story at the expense of others. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Monday)

What if, instead of emphasizing that Jesus died alone and rejected, we reinforced that one stood by him and did not leave? —Cynthia Bourgeault (Tuesday)

Mary Magdalene and the other women were the first witnesses to the resurrection because they remained present for the entire process. (Wednesday)

Great love is both very attached (“passionate”) and yet very detached at the same time. It is love but not addiction. (Thursday)

I painted Mary Magdalene and Christ seated side by side as visionaries and spiritual teachers with their hands open in the universal gesture of prayer—gifts offered and received—as icons of the sacred. —Janet McKenzie (Friday)


Practice: Bride and Beloved

Today’s contemplative practice is inspired by the life of Mary Magdalene and her role as an icon and archetype for the full partnership of women in the divine. Psychotherapist Joan Norton offers a meditation in which we can all participate.  

I’m grateful for the stories of Mary Magdalene because she fully lived a woman’s life of love and relationship, while also being a source of special spiritual knowledge. In her we find guidance for both the inner life of the spirit and the outer life of love. That has always been the role of the feminine face of God. I’m grateful for the pathways to self-knowledge that Mary Magdalene’s stories provide. . . .

Forever we have been told to seek the Kingdom within. Now . . . we seek to understand the feminine energy of God, which we can call the “Queendom within.” Together they are a whole known as the Divine. . . .

She Brings Goodness upon the Land

Close your eyes and feel your feet on the floor. Breathe a simple breath . . . and another breath even slower than the first one . . . and now another breath . . . still so slowly.

            You are safe here in this room, with your feet on the floor and the floor upon Mother Earth . . . your feet are feeling the warmth of the earth, so secure and so safe . . .

            Breathe again deeply and slowly . . . your feet are heavy now and comfortable on the floor . . .

            Once upon a time it was foretold that the Bridegroom would have a Bride and that goodness would be upon the land and healing would come from their union . . .

            Breathe . . .

            It was foretold that the two halves of God would be together as One . . .

            Wholeness is our birthright . . . Breathe deeply and remember your whole and sacred self . . .

            There was a time when we women knew ourselves to be in sacred partnership, knew ourselves to be the Sacred Complement to the Bridegroom . . . knew that masculine and feminine God meet within each human being . . .

            Breathe again slowly . . .

            Breathe into a place within your heart, a place of knowing yourself as Sacred Partner . . . as soul partner . . . as Bride and Beloved . . .

            It was foretold . . . and let that time be now . . . and let that sacred vessel be me . . .

            Sit in silence for a while and let images or feelings surface within you.

            (Allow 5 or 10 minutes.)

            Open your eyes and come back into the room, as you are ready.

What were your experiences during this meditation?

Joan Norton also offers this journal question, which is an important one for both women and men to reflect on.

In the Song of Songs (5:7) the bride says, “They beat me and wounded me and stripped my mantle from me.” In what ways do you feel women have been treated disrespectfully by your religion?

Joan Norton and Margaret Starbird, 14 Steps to Awaken the Sacred Feminine: Women in the Circle of Mary Magdalene (Bear & Company: 2009), 17–18.

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity (Shambhala Publications: 2010).

Diarmuid Ó Murchú, Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate (Orbis Books: 2015).

Susan Perry, ed., Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: The Art of Janet McKenzie, (Orbis Books: 2009).

Richard Rohr, The Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013).

Image credit: Mary Magdalene with Jesus the Christ (middle panel of the triptych The Succession of Mary Magdalene) (detail), Janet McKenzie, 2009, Collection of Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois. Used with permission of the artist.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Mary Magdalene is the icon and archetype of love itself—needed, given, received, and passed on—and Jesus’ appearance to her first and alone is the clear affirmation of the wonderful and astounding message that we do not need to be perfect to be the beloved of Jesus and God. —Richard Rohr
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