Dear Friends,

 We pray you are safe and well.

 In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that in God’s economy of abundance, when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

Today is the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. As Today's Meditation, we bring you words attributed to her in The Gospel of Mary, a poem by Diarmuid O'Murchu about her, reflections about her by Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault. What does all this have to do with the world we live in today with Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter?

Mary Magdalene walked the walk, kept giving voice to her truth even when others did not believe her. All of this flowed from her intimate understanding of what Jesus' message and mission was. Today it is black and brown people, indigenous people, people with physical and mental challenges, people who are homeless and penniless who are not being heard, not being valued. We believe that the Gospel is still being written today in the lives and stories and wisdom of every person--we all matter. In the prism of Divine Energy, each of us is a face of the Divine who is incompletely reflected in our world until each of us stained glass windows let Divine energy flow through us and remake our world in the image and likeness of Divine Compassion, Peace and Healing.

 

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in healthcare, in the workplace, in the Church--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

 

We hope and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time.

 

In this "Season of Ordinary Time" in the Church Year, may this be a time of peace, of healing and hope, of the infusion of joy in your life!

 

With our love and care,

 

Ron & Jean

 

Meditation 102: In Celebration of Mary Magdalene

 

FROM THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARY 4:1 – 5:10, 10:15

A Reading from the holy gospel according to Mary:

"When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all, saying, “Peace be with you! Bear my peace within yourselves! Beware that no one lead you astray saying, ‘Look over here!’ or ‘Look over there!’ For the Child of Humanity is within you! Follow it! Those who seek it will find it. Go then and proclaim the good news of the realm. Do not lay down any rules beyond what I determined for you, nor give a law like the lawgiver, lest you be confined by it.” When he had said this, he departed.

 

But they were pained. They wept greatly, saying, “How shall we go to the nations and proclaim the good news of the Child of Humanity? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?”

 

Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, and said to her brothers and sisters, “Do not weep and be pained, nor doubt, for all his grace will be with you and shelter you. But rather let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us Humans.” When Mary said this, she turned their heart to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior."

The Good News according to Mary. (from A New New Testament)

 

MARY’S ESCHATOLOGICAL ANOINTING by Diarmuid O’Murchu

Leave her alone, she knows what she’s about!

My head with oil she does anoint,

She knows the game is up—time to appoint.

This darkest hour she can withstand.

And waver now I must not,

‘neath the empowering touch, of her firm, gentle hand.

 

Leave her alone, no money wasted in this precious time.

Embalming odor to fulfill,

A house so full, a death so chill.

She knows the wisdom to anticipate

And waver now I must not

Empowered I must go forth,

They’re waiting at the gate.

Leave her alone and spare her all the empty rhetoric,

She knows the score, this time of destiny,

And she’ll survive the cruelest felony.

As others flee, too scared to hang around.

And waver now I must not ‘cause by the cross she stands,

Anointing holy ground.

 

Leave her alone till Resurrection’s dawn

And watch the garden of her painful stroll,

The breaking waters of her birthing role.

Apostolic succession is hers to wield.

And waver now I must not

With wisdom so replete,

A faithful future is guaranteed.

(from Jesus in the Power of Poetry: A New Voice for Gospel Truth)

 

Cynthia Bourgeault reflects:

"[After seeing the risen Christ,] Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me” (John 20:14–18).

 

It is on the basis of this announcement that Mary earned the traditional title of “Apostle to the Apostles.” The first to witness to the resurrection, she is also the one who “commissions” the others to go and announce the good news of the resurrection. . . .

 

All four gospels witness to Mary Magdalene as the premiere witness to the resurrection—alone or in a group, but in all cases named by name. Given the shifting sands of oral history, the unanimity of this testimony is astounding. It suggests that among the earliest Christians the stature of Mary Magdalene is of the highest order of magnitude—more so than even the Virgin Mother (mentioned as present at the crucifixion in only one gospel and in none at the resurrection). Mary Magdalene’s place of honor is so strong that even the heavy hand of a later, male-dominated ecclesiology cannot entirely dislodge it.

 

All four gospels insist that when all the other disciples are fleeing, Mary Magdalene stands firm. She does not run; she does not betray or lie about her commitment; she witnesses. Hers is clearly a demonstration of either the deepest human love or the highest spiritual understanding of what Jesus was teaching, perhaps both. But why, one wonders, do the Holy Week liturgies tell and re-tell the story of Peter’s threefold denial of Jesus, while the steady, unwavering witness of Magdalene is not even noticed?

 

How would our understanding of the Paschal Mystery change if, instead of emphasizing that Jesus died alone and rejected, we reinforced that one stood by him and did not leave?—for surely this other story is as deeply and truly there in the scripture as is the first. How would this change the emotional timbre of the day? How would it affect our feelings about ourselves? About the place of women in the church? About the nature of redemptive love?

 

And above all, why is the apostle to the apostles not herself an apostle?"

 

Richard Rohr reflects:

"Let’s hold Cynthia’s questions in our minds and hearts that they might stir us to “epiphanies” of our own on the nature of steadfast love. Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus shows what it means to have one person hold fast to us in our hour of need, despite the apparent hopelessness of it all."

Diarmuid OMurchu reflects:

"Of all the Gospel material related to women, none is more enigmatic and empowering than the role of the women in post-Resurrection space . . . I [wrote of] the women on Calvary remaining faithful to the end. For those women, it was anything but an end. Even when the male disciples fled in fear, they remained to await a new frightening dawn that would propel them into a mission transcending all other missionary endeavors recorded in Gospel lore. The early church seemed unprepared for the archetypal breakthrough and proceeded to consign the women to historical invisibility."

 

Richard Rohr reflects: "I think this is a perfect example of how we cannot see what we aren’t told to look for. For most of history, Christians glossed over the presence of the women at Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. We weren’t wrong; we were simply paying attention to what we were told to look at—the men—by other men (priests, theologians, and even the Gospel writers themselves). We skipped over the faithfulness of the women and focused instead on the faithlessness (and the Easter morning foot race) of the men. Mary Magdalene and the other women were the first witnesses to the resurrection because they remained present for the entire process, from death unto new life, exactly what is necessary to witness resurrections in our own lives as well."

 

A Story from a member of The Contemplation in Action Community:

"During this global pause, I am navigating a life-threatening illness which brings daily suffering. As I consider the gentle, calm, lifegiving words from James Finley in [a recent] meditation, I am reminded of the power of the breath and each moment even while managing and moving through pain. Inhaling God's Love in each breath, exhaling love. The atmosphere changes. I am changed." —Michele R.