Women Can Be Priests
Reply to post

Hot!The Women Apostles, The Women Disciples

Page: << < ..678910.. > >> Showing page 6 of 14 - Powered by APG vNext Trial
Author
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/16 04:34:16 (permalink)
In Remembrance of Her
Mary Magdala Meditation Day Eight
 
 

Painting by Dieric Bouts in the Netherlands (1410-1475).
Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin.

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement

Studying the Picture
 
Dieric Bouts recreates a Gospel account in a medieval setting. The scene suggests a combination of the four versions of the anointing. Although Luke normally follows the narratives of Mark and Matthew, in the case of the anointing (Luke 7,36-50) he tells a somewhat different tale. John, however, who in general differs very much from the storytelling of the other evangelists, for once joins the others' way of looking at the event. These facts are evidence that this anointing was considered of very great importance in the last days of Jesus' ministry, but may have given rise to different interpretations.

The artist has given all of the people very individual features. The faces are eloquent and so are the gestures of the hands. Everyone, except maybe the Dominican friar in the doorway, has something special to tell. It is easy to recognise their roles. Remember what they are saying according to the Gospel. “If only he knew what kind of a woman…” (the Pharisee in green). “She shouldn’t have . . . ” (Judas and the other apostles, recognisable by their bare feet). “She has shown great love . . . Your faith has saved you . . . ” And also, “Wherever the Good News will be preached, the story must be told of what she has done in remembrance of her” (Jesus).
 
Reflection
 
What would we ourselves have thought if we had been there? What would our attitude have been towards Mary of Magdala? Would we have been equally embarrassed or hostile as the men? Or would we have understood, having followed the Rabbi through a number of years? Would we have felt sufficiently free to go against the judgement of the bystanders?
 
One may wonder if the Dominican has a function in the picture. He seems to be some figure with authority. He may have commissioned the painting and he came in handy to give the scene balance...Or does the artist say something more? The priest does not even look at what is going on... Is this holy indifference or do we see a smirk on his face?
 
Guest
Super Member
  • Total Posts : 14706
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2014/02/20 19:01:46
  • Status: online
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/16 17:54:04 (permalink)
  Thank you Sister Saers for your illustrious scholarship .  The meditations about Mary Magdalene are wonderful.
   If Mary Magdalene was indeed the spouse of Jesus, to me it would not diminish her importance at all. The devaluing of sexuality and parenthood and marriage should be ended.  The disciples were married and Jesus did not ask them to divorce or abandon their wives or husbands.
   Look at the remarkable attitude Jesus shows to the much remarried, living common-law Samaritan woman. Jesus accepts her as she is, Jesus shows no condemnation and no asking her to repent or to leave her relationship with her male companion.  Jesus therefore demonstrates a valuing of human sexuality as Jesus does not demand celibacy or repentance.
  Look at the acceptance and praise Jesus gives to the anointing of his feet unnamed woman.  Jesus does not condemn her and does not ask her to repent. Jesus praises her and says she must never be forgotten.
   Therefore if Mary Magdalene, who accopanied Jesus throughout his ministry, who like a wife had the duty to anoint his dead body and supervise funerary procedures, who like a wife  and disciple remained during his crucifixion, accompanied by what could be her mother-in-law, Mary Mother of Jesus, and look at the ambiguous figure of the unnamed young beloved disciple, who runs away naked when Jesus is arrested--to go and inform the women who love Jesus?--is this perhaps the child of Jesus and grandchild of Mary, Mother of Jesus? The identity hidden to protect and help the child's survival and to help hide the humanity of Jesus to promote his divine God like "celibate" status promoted by an anti-women anti-family view put forth by early misogynist "church 'fathers'"?
  Yet the child is too important to totally omit too, so a veiled reference is allowed to remain in the New Testament. 
   Sexuality and marriage are not deemed demeaning to Jesus and I believe we as Roman Catholics should also not discredit sexuality or marriage either. 
 What do you think?
 
 I believe it is crucial to the acceptance and valuing of women, and will help allow women to be ordained if this bias against sexuality and marriage and overemphasize on celibacy can be stopped--as stressing celibacy too much discredits too much the women and children of the world and does not follow the actions or teachings and words of Jesus.  See how he interacts with Samaritan woman, anointing women, hemorraging woman, Phoenician woman, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene and other women.    God bless you  from   Maria.
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 01:37:35 (permalink)
 
 




The traditional Roman Catholic feast day dedicated to Mary Madgalene celebrated her position as a penitent. This was changed in 1969, with the revision of the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar, and now there is no mention in either of Mary Magdalene the sinner.

Traditional Calendar:July 22 -St. Mary Magdalene - Penitent, Double.

Current calendar: July 22:Saint Mary Magdalene - Memorial
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 01:43:52 (permalink)
Scholars seek to correct Christian tradition, fiction of Mary Magdalene
By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com) 
5/2/2006
 
WASHINGTON – The fanciful fictions about Mary Magdalene in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code are not the only errors about the biblical saint that modern scholars are seeking to correct. They are also trying to set straight centuries of erroneous Christian tradition regarding her that developed, especially in the West.

In A.D. 591 Pope St. Gregory the Great preached a sermon in which he identified as one person the New Testament figures of Mary Magdalene, the sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet and washed them with her tears, and the Mary who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha of Bethany.
Although he was only reflecting a tradition that had gained some ground in the West (and was resisted by many of the church's early theologians), the sermon became a reference point for later scholarship, teaching and preaching in the West, Father Raymond F. Collins, a New Testament scholar at The Catholic University of America, said in an interview.

The Greek Fathers – the great theologians of the early church in the East, who wrote in Greek – consistently maintained that Mary Magdalene, the unnamed repentant sinner and Mary of Bethany were three distinct women. That remains the tradition in the Orthodox churches.


ST. MARY MAGDALENE DEPICTED IN WINDOW
– St. Mary Magdalene is depicted in a stained
-glass window in Boston's Cathedral of the
Holy Cross. Modern scholars are trying to set
straight centuries of erroneous Christian
tradition that developed about the saint,
especially in the West. (CNS/The Pilot)
 
The identification of Mary Magdalene as a repentant sinful woman was solidified in the Latin Church for centuries by the use of that story, reported in the seventh chapter of Luke, as the Gospel reading for Mary Magdalene's feast, July 22. In fact, in the Roman Calendar before the Second Vatican Council, the day was called the feast of "Mary Magdalene, penitent."

Father Collins noted that this changed in 1969 with the reform of the Roman Missal and the Roman Calendar. Since then the gospel reading for Mary Magdalene's feast has been chapter 20, verses 1-2 and 11-18, of the Gospel of John.
 
The first two verses tell of her coming to Jesus' tomb early Sunday morning, finding it empty and running to tell Peter and John that someone has removed Jesus' body. The second part of the reading tells of Mary staying behind, weeping, after Peter and John leave, and the risen Jesus speaking to her and telling her to announce to the rest of his followers, "I have seen the Lord."

Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a theologian at Fordham University and a Sister of St. Joseph, said the version of Mary Magdalene as "the prostitute to whom Jesus forgave much and who loved him... took on a profound Christian ideal of a sinner who repents and therefore is a model for Christians in that way. But what got lost in the process was her actual role as a leader of witnessing to the Resurrection in the early church."
 
Of the repentant prostitute version of the Magdalene, she said, "What a lot of us who've done some work on her say is... it's a wrong one and in the process it's robbing us of (appreciation of) women's leadership at a crucial moment in the early church. In other words, in a way it's easier... to deal with her as a repentant sinner than as she emerges in the gospels in her own right."

So who is the real Mary Magdalene? Father Collins, who wrote the "Mary Magdalene" article in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, said "Luke describes Mary Magdalene as a woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons, and that characterization of Mary Magdalene is repeated in the longer canonical ending of Mark's Gospel."
 
But he noted that in Jesus' time it was not uncommon to attribute physical or mental afflictions to demonic possession and this did not imply that the possessed person was sinful. "Whatever affected Mary Magdalene was considered to be the effect of demonic possession so she would not have been considered a public sinner the way the medieval legends have made her out to be," he said.
 
He said she is called the Magdalene because she comes from Magdala, "a fishing village up in northern Galilee."
 
He said one also learns from Luke "that she supported Jesus from her resources," suggesting that she was a woman of some means, and that she was one of several women from Galilee who were disciples of Jesus and followed him.
 
Luke's Gospel is the only one that mentions Mary Magdalene by name in the narration of Jesus' public ministry. But all four gospel writers place her as a witness to Jesus' death on the cross, a witness to his burial and the chief witness to his resurrection, making her one of the most significant female figures in the gospels apart from Jesus' own mother, Mary.
 
Sister Johnson said that when one looks at the Magdalene's biblical role as the one the risen Christ appears to and commissions to announce the good news to the others it has "many implications for how we tell the story of the origins of the church. There is the typical story of where Jesus chose the Twelve and put Peter in charge and the women, you know, were accessories. When you put Mary Magdalene into the picture, you can't tell the story that way so simply anymore."
 
When asked for her own view of what that should mean for the church today, she said, "I would draw the implication that if the risen Christ saw fit to ask a woman to go and preach the good news of his resurrection, the church should do no less nowadays."

- - -

Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 01:48:58 (permalink)
A Shameful Waste of Talent
Mary of Magdala, Meditation Day Nine
 
 

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

Studying the Picture
 
Another picture of Mary of Magdala teaching a crowd. We see the harbour in the background, a reference to the reputed exile of Mary and her companions on a rudderless ship and their reception by the people of southern France. Mary has climbed some steps which may have been there for the town-crier in order to bring the Good News to those who wish to hear. We remember the crowds drawn, first by John the Baptist and later by Jesus. Apparently in this case too both men and women come flocking to hear Mary of Magdala.

A very important man has brought his wife, and has been granted pride of place. Martha seems to be in the audience, for there is another woman with a nimbus. In the outer circle a monk seems to be explaining things to the person (a woman?) sitting beside him. Everybody seems to be very receptive. Apparently the artist must have felt that for a woman like Mary it is simply impossible not to share the spiritual food she herself received from Christ. Nor the streams of living water that were flowing from her own inner self as soon as she had turned to him (John 7, 38).

Reflection
 
Somebody may argue, “You quote the Lord correctly, but you do not draw the correct conclusion, for in John 7,38 the text implies that Jesus is speaking to men”. I will answer him, - for only a man could say such a thing-, “Shame on you, read Jesus’ discourse with the Samaritan woman (John 4,1-42) and change your thinking.” It is such an unforgivable waste of talent that for 20 centuries with arguments like this, women were barred from what is rightly theirs: sharing the waters of grace they too have received from the Fountain of Life and the Spirit in whose Name they too have been baptised and confirmed.
 
In Christian art Mary of Magdala shows the silent protest in the imagination of believing Christians: their regret at what women could have done if only they had been allowed to share in the priestly ministry.
 
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 01:50:24 (permalink)
Thank you Sister Saers for your illustrious scholarship .  The meditations about Mary Magdalene are wonderful.
  If Mary Magdalene was indeed the spouse of Jesus, to me it would not diminish her importance at all. The devaluing of sexuality and parenthood and marriage should be ended.  The disciples were married and Jesus did not ask them to divorce or abandon their wives or husbands.

 
Dear friend,
 
I will be sure to pass your message on to Sister Theresia!
 
with love and blessings,
~Sophie~
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 02:34:17 (permalink)
Dear friend,

In a concurrent exploration of the meaning of 'apostle,' (see:RE: Women Priests as Viewed from the Authority of the Magisterium)  we join Harvard Divinity School Professor and theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza as she challenges the the Vatican's assumption that the Twelve and the apostles were essentially one and the same group of people. In her article The Apostleship of Women in Early Christianity, she examines the question of whether women received apostolic charge even though they were not among the Twelve. In looking at the function and office of an Apostle, Schussler Fiorenza explores:
  • Apostleship based on the resurrection appearance of Jesus Christ
  • Apostles -- charismatic missionaries
  • Apostles of the Churches
  • The Lukan understanding of Apostleship

Her conclusion?

Women accompanied Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, they were the primary witnesses of the resurrection, and they were outstanding missionaries in the early Church. On biblical grounds it would be easier to prove that Paul was not entrusted with the “apostolic charge” than to demonstrate that women were excluded from apostleship.

A copy of her article is available here: The Apostleship of Women in Early Christianity.  If you have any questions, please let me know.

with love and blessings,
~Sophie~

*Elisabeth Schuessler Fiorenza studied at the Universities of Wuerzburg and Muenster, earning a Licentiate in Pastoral Theology and a Doctorate in Theology. Her books include Die Getrennte Schwestern, and many books since then. An Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, she was at the time associate editor of the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Journal of Biblical Literature, and Horizons.
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/17 18:24:45 (permalink)
ORIGINAL: Guest

  Thank you Sister Saers for your illustrious scholarship .  The meditations about Mary Magdalene are wonderful.
  If Mary Magdalene was indeed the spouse of Jesus, to me it would not diminish her importance at all. The devaluing of sexuality and parenthood and marriage should be ended.  The disciples were married and Jesus did not ask them to divorce or abandon their wives or husbands.
  Look at the remarkable attitude Jesus shows to the much remarried, living common-law Samaritan woman. Jesus accepts her as she is, Jesus shows no condemnation and no asking her to repent or to leave her relationship with her male companion.  Jesus therefore demonstrates a valuing of human sexuality as Jesus does not demand celibacy or repentance.
Look at the acceptance and praise Jesus gives to the anointing of his feet unnamed woman.  Jesus does not condemn her and does not ask her to repent. Jesus praises her and says she must never be forgotten.
  Therefore if Mary Magdalene, who accopanied Jesus throughout his ministry, who like a wife had the duty to anoint his dead body and supervise funerary procedures, who like a wife  and disciple remained during his crucifixion, accompanied by what could be her mother-in-law, Mary Mother of Jesus, and look at the ambiguous figure of the unnamed young beloved disciple, who runs away naked when Jesus is arrested--to go and inform the women who love Jesus?--is this perhaps the child of Jesus and grandchild of Mary, Mother of Jesus? The identity hidden to protect and help the child's survival and to help hide the humanity of Jesus to promote his divine God like "celibate" status promoted by an anti-women anti-family view put forth by early misogynist "church 'fathers'"?
Yet the child is too important to totally omit too, so a veiled reference is allowed to remain in the New Testament. 
  Sexuality and marriage are not deemed demeaning to Jesus and I believe we as Roman Catholics should also not discredit sexuality or marriage either. 
What do you think?

I believe it is crucial to the acceptance and valuing of women, and will help allow women to be ordained if this bias against sexuality and marriage and overemphasize on celibacy can be stopped--as stressing celibacy too much discredits too much the women and children of the world and does not follow the actions or teachings and words of Jesus.  See how he interacts with Samaritan woman, anointing women, hemorraging woman, Phoenician woman, Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene and other women.    God bless you  from   Maria.

 
Dear Maria,
 
I passed on your comments to Sister Theresia who was pleased to receive feedback!  She asked me to pass on this message to you.
 
with love and blessings,
~Sophie~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Dear Maria,
 
I am always pleased to find that people derive some inspiration from my writings. I wrote these meditations a while ago, but they still seem to have that power.
 As for your comment on the Day Eight Meditation: One day a woman said to me: The talk about whether or not Jesus was married, simply is irrelevant. I agree.His teaching was not about sexuality at all, but about love for God and for one another. However, I appreciate your reasoning. I totally agree that many in the Church have looked down on marriage, and still do. How on earth could Jesus have thought of sexuality as some thing inferior? Did not God create humans this way? Must we look down on creation as being less than holy? Sometimes I feel that theologians and clergy would rather teach God a lesson about holiness.... I am going to keep in store with other interesting texts what you argue in defence of the possibility that Jesus.was married. Keep trying to explore the Way. Wishing you all the best, Theresia Saers 
  
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/18 16:14:50 (permalink)
Arguments
Mary of Magdala
Meditation Day Day Ten
 

This painting is from the South of France,
painted on wood. Late Middle Ages.
Artist unknown.

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

Studying the Picture
 
France has more of these paintings. The scene is not as peaceful as the one we saw before. Mary of Magdala is teaching again. We know that Mary is meant because we see the harbour in the background and the abundance of free flowing hair. Somehow she is a different type of woman than the earlier two. It is as if she is hardened by adversity and by the recent hardship out there at sea. In her appearance she looks authoritative, wild and free.

Actually there are only men in what we might call the audience. If only these men had been shown in a listening attitude! But they are not. Rather, except for the young man with his hand on his heart, they are arguing amongst themselves.

Evidently the woman is the cause of the controversy. Five men in the foreground are debating rather loudly one would say, the three to the side are whispering. By contrasting the response of the young man nearest to Mary, the artist comments on how the others receive her testimony -- the testimony of a woman.

Reflection
 
Men love to argue. It seems to come so natural to them. How are we affected by arguments and debates? What does it mean to be a woman in a man’s world? Do I dare meet them on their own terms?

Am I always looking for a favourable response? Am I able to face doubt and opposition? Where does the strength of my testimony lie?

 
Guest
Super Member
  • Total Posts : 14706
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2014/02/20 19:01:46
  • Status: online
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/18 19:23:33 (permalink)
  The strength of your testimony is because it is based on the teachings and actions of Jesus. Christ is truth and that is why it will not fail. Mary Magdalene was sanctified by Jesus as his apostle from the beginning of his minstry on earth in Galilee, until the very new beginning of Christianity, as  Mary Magdalene is chief witness of his crucifixion and his resurrection.  She is the most important apostle because Christianity would not exist without her witness of both the crucifixion and the resurrection.  Her humility and kindness and tireless witnessing of Jesus and the Gospel is recorded in the New Testament. Other ancient texts also shed additional information about Mary Magdalene and the early history of the church too.
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/20 23:58:20 (permalink)
You are the Light of the World
Mary of Magdala
Meditation Day Eleven
 
 
Copperplate relief by unknown artist in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

Studying the Picture
 
There must have been moments like this, when Jesus spoke with the women who followed him throughout his ministry. We see a picture of Mary and Martha in Bethany. Was this Mary the same person as Mary of Magdala? Traditional artists just equated these two Maries. Through the ages scholars have argued about the question whether or not Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany was the same woman. However, for a person looking for inspiration the matter is unimportant. If the two Maries are one person, the woman's example of faith is even stronger; if not, there is enough inspiration to be found in either.

In the above picture, which somebody in Indonesia has patiently hammered into a plate of copper, we see a conversation between Jesus and Mary, and Martha listening in. We remember how one day Mary had sat down at the feet of the Master, in the classical posture of a disciple paying attention to the teacher. Remember what is said about Paul of Tarsus. Scripture tells us that he had sat at the feet of Gamaliël. Exegists tell us what that means: Paul had been Gamaliël’s disciple.
 
 
Reflection
 
We know how Jesus reacted to Martha’s protest. “Mary has chosen the better part.” Paul will write at a later time: “Be ambitious for the higher gifts (1 Cor 12,31). Nobody needed to tell Mary. Her heart and her soul knew.
 
In the picture we see some surprise in Mary’s gesture. “Me, Master?”, she asks. What important word of Jesus could have surprised her? Maybe this: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of people, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5,14-16). Jesus calls himself the light of the world. But he gives the same commission to us. To you and to me.
 
post edited by Sophie - 2007/07/21 22:52:14
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/21 23:49:01 (permalink)
Woman with a Mission
Mary of Magdala
Meditation Day Twelve
 


Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

Studying the Picture
 
History itself seems to have understood the mission Jesus gave to Mary of Magdala. A mission which the official Church does not seem to have taken seriously so far. As for ourselves it would be as well to meditate on what the picture has to tell us. Mary was called. She had a vocation. She knew what the Lord wanted her to do. We women have been kept away from the ministry which Jesus established, but the time has come for things to change.

Indeed, we realise deep within us that we do not need any longer the capital letters and historical fittings in which the sacraments have come to us and which none could alter with impunity. We have been told that sacraments are outward signs through which grace is indicated and given. A very good definition. There are seven sacraments only? Wait a minute.

Reflection
 
There are many more. What to think of this? A chapel full of religious sisters. A group of young women are being sent on a mission. What began as a spark in their hearts will now become an active mission. The Superior is standing on the steps of the altar, thus facing the congregation. One by one the young sisters are called to the altar. Each time the whole community, at the Superior’s request, stretches their hands towards the missionary to join in the blessing and the commission which send them on their way. You can almost touch the grace flowing out from this community gathered before the Lord. It is an event that is totally feminine. Nevertheless a sign through which grace is indicated and given. A sacrament.

 
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/22 01:20:18 (permalink)
Who framed Mary Magdalene? How the first witness to Christ's Resurrection was made into a prostitute, and how women today are restoring her reputation.
Heidi Schlumpf

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE RESURRECTION. Twenty centuries of Christianity—and the faith of billions—rest on this singular event. And who is the primary witness to this momentous miracle, the first person to whom Jesus revealed himself? It would seem that fact would be such an essential element of the faith that all Christians should be able to respond without even thinking—as they do to similar questions, like "Who is Jesus' mother?" or "Which apostle betrayed Jesus?"

 

Reducing one of the most important leaders
of the early church to a prostitute has
exacted a price for women by feeding into
the notion that women are either madonnas
or whores.
 
But the first witness to the Resurrection—as all four gospel writers agree—was a woman whose name and reputation have become so misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misconstrued over the centuries that she is more commonly, though erroneously, remembered as a prostitute than as the faithful first bearer of the Good News.

That woman is Mary of Magdala, and, finally, her centuries-old case of mistaken identity is being rectified.

Now that scripture scholars have debunked the myth that she and the infamous repentant sinner who wiped Jesus' feet with her tears are one and the same woman, word is trickling down that Mary Magdalene's penitent prostitute label was a misnomer. Instead, her true biblical portrait is being resurrected, and this "apostle to the apostles" is finally taking her rightful place in history as a beloved disciple of Jesus and a prominent early church leader.

"We're trying to right a 2,000-year-old wrong," says Christine Schenk, C.S.J., executive director of FutureChurch, a Cincinnati-based church-reform organization that launched nationwide observances of Mary Magdalene's feast day (July 22) two years ago. The idea quickly grew from a handful of celebrations to nearly 130 prayer services last year at Catholic parishes, Newman centers, schools, retreat houses, hospital chapels, motherhouses, and in small faith communities.

"People see this as a positive, constructive way to show they support women's equality," says Schenk, who believes reclaiming Mary Magdalene's reputation as an early church leader will have implications for women's leadership in the church today, including the ordination of women.

As part of a Women in Church Leadership project cosponsored by FutureChurch and Call to Action, the feast day celebrations were created to accomplish two goals: to provide opportunities for visible liturgical roles for women and to disseminate current biblical scholarship that counters the myth of Mary Magdalene as public sinner.

Badgered witness

Many cradle Catholics are shocked to learn that there is no biblical evidence that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute or public sinner. She is mentioned 12 times in the New Testament—making her the second most mentioned woman, after the Virgin Mary. Most references are found in the Crucifixion and empty tomb narratives, where she is portrayed as a loyal disciple at the foot of the cross and as one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection.

Unlike other women in the Bible, Mary of Magdala is not identified in relation to another person; she is not anyone's mother, wife, or sister. Instead, she is called Mary of Magdala, a title that implies some prominence in the city, a center of commercial fishing on the northwest bank of the Sea of Galilee. She left her home to follow Jesus, and it is believed she was among several well-off, independent women who financially supported Jesus' ministry.

These female followers of Jesus—disciples, really—became central when everything started to fall apart. While others fled, the women were faithful, and they were led by Mary of Magdala.

Details differ in the four gospel accounts of the Resurrection as to the number of heavenly visitors at the tomb, which women accompany Mary Magdalene to anoint the body, and whether or not the women are believed when they run to tell the news of Christ's Resurrection. But on this all four gospels agree: Mary Magdalene was faithful until the end, and her faithfulness was rewarded with an appearance by the risen Lord.

"It's really remarkable that all four gospels have the same story," says scripture scholar Mary Thompson, S.S.M.N., adjunct professor of religious studies at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and author of Mary of Magdala: Apostle and Leader (Paulist, 1995). "You can be sure that if it had been possible to eliminate those women who went out from the empty tomb, [the gospel writers] would have done it" because of the prevailing attitude toward women in those times, she says.

Despite the fact that legally a woman's testimony at that time was considered invalid, the authors of the four gospels all make women the primary witnesses to the most important event of Christianity. That leads Thompson and others to believe that detail has historical validity.

In Matthew's version (28:1-10) Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" first learn of Jesus' Resurrection from an angel at the tomb, who tells them to "go quickly and tell his disciples." As they leave they are met by Jesus, who also instructs them to spread the Good News to the others.

Likewise in Mark's account (16:1-8) Mary Magdalene is accompanied by Mary, the mother of James, and Salome to anoint Jesus' body. But inside the empty tomb they find an angel who tells them Jesus has been raised from the dead. Again, Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene, but when she tells the disciples, they do not believe her.

Luke (24:1-12) says the three women are Mary Magdalene; Mary, the mother of James; and Joanna and that they first find the stone rolled away and are told by two men "in dazzling clothes" that Jesus has risen from the dead. The other disciples do not believe their "idle tale," and Peter runs to the tomb to see for himself the burial cloths.

In John's Resurrection account (20:1-18) Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb alone, sees that the stone has been rolled away, and runs to get Peter. What follows are parallel stories: Verses 3-10 describe how Peter and the disciple Jesus loved witness the burial cloths, but "they did not understand"; while verses 10-18 tell the story of Jesus' appearance to Mary of Magdala.

"Woman, why are you weeping?" Jesus asks his beloved friend, who is lost in her grief. Mary Magdalene initially mistakes Jesus for the gardener who had just asked the same question of her. But then she turns and in her recognition calls out, "Rab-bouni" (meaning "rabbi" or "teacher"). Then Mary of Magdala goes to tell the disciples, "I have seen the Lord."

A Mary mixup

If Mary of Magdala is consistently portrayed as a crucial player in arguably the most important event of Christianity, why is she not remembered for this role?

"Unquestionably and clearly, Mary of Magdala was the primary witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and our whole Christ-ianity depends on that," says Thompson.

The problem lies in the alternate image of Mary Magdalene as the fallen and redeemed woman, as the epitome of sensuality and spirituality—an image that has become ingrained in the imaginations of centuries of Christians and one that continues to be fostered through depictions in art, literature, and even movies.

So how did Mary of Magdala become a prostitute some several hundred years after her death?

The short answer is that Mary Magdalene has been confused with several other women in the Bible, most significantly—and ultimately problematically—with the unnamed sinner in Chapter 7 of Luke. In that story, a woman bathes Jesus' feet with her tears, anoints them with ointment from her alabaster jar, and dries them with her hair. When the Pharisees object, noting that she is a known sinner, Jesus admonishes them and forgives her "because she has shown great love" (Luke 7:47). Nowhere does it say that this woman was a prostitute, and nowhere is she identified as Mary of Magdala.

The confusion may have come from the proximity of that passage to the one that identifies Mary of Magdala by name as a follower of Jesus who had had seven demons cast out of her (Luke 8:2). Although previously interpreted as referring to sexual sin, the mention of seven demons is now believed to mean illness, most likely mental illness.

The waters get even muddier when this unnamed sinner gets lumped in with another Mary—Mary of Bethany, Martha and Lazarus' sister—who also anoints Jesus' feet and wipes them with her hair, as described in Chapter 12 of John's gospel. An earlier version of this story in Matthew refrains from naming this woman. In Matthew this woman is a close friend of Jesus—not a stranger with a reputation as a sinner.

Some believe the conflation of Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala results not just from their shared name but also from the presence of the alabaster jar of perfumed oil. It's easy to see why the sinful woman who anoints Jesus' feet is confused with Mary of Bethany, who does the same. It's possible that the shared symbols of incense and tears have historically united these women with Mary of Magdala, who was among the women who brought jars of perfumed oil to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body.

Sister Barbara Bowe, R.C.S.J., New Testament professor at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, says a similar thing happened to several "Johns" and the unnamed "beloved disciple." It was a tendency, especially in the earlier period, she says. "Characters get blended together and homogenized in ways that don't preserve the integrity of the texts."

Although the decline of Mary of Magdala's reputation as apostle and leader most likely began shortly after her death, the transformation to penitent prostitute was sealed on Sept. 14, 591 when Pope Gregory the Great gave a homily in Rome that pronounced that Mary Magdalene, Luke's unnamed sinner, and Mary of Bethany were, indeed, the same person.

"She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark," Gregory said in his 23rd homily. "And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices? ... It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts..."

Few ascribe malicious intent to Gregory ("Although I have a hard time with the 'Great' part," says Thompson), who most likely wanted to use the story to assure converts that their sins would be forgiven. Indeed, the gospel passage is a powerful one—and can still be, without being inaccurately attached to Mary Magdalene.

"I have people who tell me, 'I liked her as a prostitute,'" says Schenk. "That story spoke very deeply of the profundity of forgiveness."

But Christians deserve to hear about the multiplicity of women in scripture, argues Schenk. And reducing one of the most important leaders of the early church to a prostitute has exacted a price, especially for women, by feeding into the notion that women are either madonnas or whores.

"This fans the flames of the stereotype of women as sinful," says Bowe. "For women today who look to the Bible for inspiration and liberation, their choices are limited enough. When we suddenly cut Mary Magdalene off at the knees and turn her into some evil sex pervert, we deprive men and women, but especially women, of a figure with whom they can identify."

Mary Magdalene's story and that of Luke's unnamed sinner need to be separated, Bowe says. "Then you can take them each in their integrity," she says. The passage in Luke is powerful, she says. "But it's not Mary Magdalene."

Lead us not

While no pope or other person deserves the singular blame, many feminist theologians have no doubt that Mary Magdalene's reputation was deliberately altered to suppress women's leadership in the church in those early centuries. Given the gospel accounts, her importance could not be denied—but her character could be changed to be less threatening.

"To have silenced and suppressed the tradition with respect to the most prominent woman in Christian circles isn't an accident," says Jane Schaberg, a professor of religious studies and women's studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy who is writing a book on Mary of Magdala.

Schenk admits she wouldn't use the word conspiracy, but she says, "It's clear there wasn't much resistance to changing her image. I'm not sure we can understand the degree of resistance and anger and determination on the part of male leadership to put female leaders back in their place. Unfortunately, that continues today."

That women were leaders in the early Jesus movement is becoming clearer and more commonly accepted among scholars. Not only do several biblical passages describe them, but apocryphal, noncanonical writings also portray women as apostles, deacons, and co-workers. Studies of ancient burial inscriptions also have confirmed these titles—as well as the feminine presbytera—for women in the first centuries.

Women play a prominent role in the so-called gnostic gospels—writings that, though not included in the official canon, provide important historical evidence about the church of the first centuries.

For example, in the Gospel of Mary—the only apocryphal text named for a woman—Mary Magdalene is depicted as a visionary who receives secret revelations from Jesus, much to the chagrin of Peter. "Mary Magdalene, by virtue of her encounter with Jesus in John 20, was regarded as someone who was a special channel of secret knowledge," Bowe says.

A more egalitarian, shared leadership was practiced among gnostic sects, with Mary of Magdala and other women figuring prominently. But as the early Christian church struggled for legitimacy, a male-dominated, hierarchical style of leadership prevailed. "The gnostic materials are full of the theme of opposition to Mary Magdalene's leadership," says Schaberg. "To put it simply, the people who opposed her won out."

Others believe the characters of Mary of Magdala and Peter represent not the actual historical people but rather are used as literary devices in many gnostic writings.

"Peter is the symbol of what he is today—the power structure—while Mary Magdalene represents the pattern for the role of women in the early church," says Thompson. "Two competing visions of church were jockeying for position, and it's obvious which one won out. Women were already being subordinated. Patriarchal forces were trying to quell them."

Thus the stage was set for Mary of Magdala to become denigrated as a sexual sinner and to lose her legacy as the first evangelist of the Good News of Jesus' Resurrection.

Thompson and other feminist Christians associate some of the loss of Mary Magdalene's legacy with the rise of a celibate clergy in the fourth and fifth centuries. "This seems to have been a creeping effect of patriarchy," says Thompson. "I think we have to ponder the enormity of what happened to Mary Magdalene. The implications are still with us today."

Interestingly, the Eastern church took a different tack with Mary Magdalene. "They never fell for the prostitute fallacy," says Thompson. "She is honored according to the biblical portrait."

A legend in the Eastern tradition has Mary of Magdala traveling to Rome and appearing before the court of Emperor Tiberius. When she tells Tiberius about Jesus' death and Resurrection, he challenges her story, saying no one could rise from the dead any more than an egg in a dish on the table could turn red.

With that, according to the legend, Mary picked up an egg and it turned bright red in her hand. To this day, icons of Mary Mag-dalene often depict her holding an egg, and Eastern Christians still color their Easter eggs a bright red.

In the West, however, the image of Mary Magdalene as sensual temptress is deeply entrenched. Even today the prostitute continues to be reinforced by popular culture.

Few can forget Mary Magdalene's character sensually singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in the '60s musical, and later the movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Although the portrayal poignantly depicted the depth of her devotion and deep love for Jesus, it unfortunately tainted it with an oversexualization of her character.

The sexy saint stirred up even more controversy in Martin Scorsese's 1988 movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. Based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, the film includes a sex scene between Mary Magdalene and Jesus, actually a dream sequence of what might have happened if Jesus had not been crucified. The film also erroneously identifies Mary Magdalene as the woman stoned for adultery in John 8:3-11.

But 20th-century artists aren't the first to be misled into using the image of Mary Magdalene as temptress. In paintings throughout history, she is often pictured bare-breasted, and more often than not, clothed in red, the color of passion.

The vamp revamped

Today, reclaiming Mary Magdalene's rightful role as apostle and leader remains an uphill battle, her supporters say. "The biblical scholarship is still relatively new," says Thompson.

The news is just beginning to filter down to people in the pews. The feast day celebrations sponsored by FutureChurch and Call to Action are one way many Catholics are getting reintroduced to Mary of Magdala.

"I've long been an admirer of Mary Magdalene," says Janelle Lazzo of Kansas City, Missouri, who once chose "sinner1" as her computer password because of her strong connection to the story in Luke.

"I thought if Jesus loved her that much with her various shortcomings, my own might not look so bad to him either. Once I realized what a pivotal role she had in his ministry, I was more than hooked."

Through the local Call to Action chapter, Lazzo helped organize and presided at a Mary Magdalene prayer service on her feast day at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City. The service featured a proclamation of the Resurrection account from John, inclusive-language hymns and prayers, and time for personal sharing among the 60 or so gathered. Storyteller Sister Lillian Harrington, O.S.B. read a "Letter from Mary of Magdala," in which a fictionalized Mary describes her true role in Jesus' ministry.

In Indianapolis, Call to Action leaders organized seven observances last July. Organizer Lynette Herold, who attended several, including a Mass at her own parish, says the mood was energizing.

"It was very freeing, especially for the women," she says. "It can be hard to relate to women in the Bible. So many of the stories are so negative. With Mary Magdalene, we're finally getting another side of the story."

Although she noticed that some participants wanted to hold onto the image of the penitent prostitute, Herold believes the "woman as temptress" monopoly must be broken. "We just don't hear the women who were leaders and disciples proclaimed very loudly. Many people can't admit that women had a key role in Jesus' time. Because if we admit that, we have to ask why it isn't happening now."

It's precisely that connection between the reinterpretation of the Mary Magdalene story and contemporary calls for expanded roles for women in the Catholic Church that has some Catholics concerned.

Although nearly all modern scripture scholars agree that the prostitute label is mistaken, not everyone is comfortable with the way her story is being retold. Some say feminists are hijacking Mary Magdalene's story to serve their own agendas.

A 1998 article in the ultraconservative Catholic newspaper The Wanderer compared the new scholarship about the "historical Magdalene" to the "historical Jesus" movement in biblical studies. The church reformers—blatantly described as "heretics"—are said to be "distorting the historical figure of Mary Magdalen[e] in their crusade for a laywoman-run church."
While feminist theologian Schaberg certainly isn't in the same camp as The Wanderer, she nonetheless cautions against contemporary legend-making that is not grounded in serious biblical scholarship.

"I hope the efforts to reclaim Mary Magdalene will look more carefully at her tradition," she says. "These efforts have to take into account the serious struggle New Testament scholars have with this material."

But Schenk and others insist they are merely trying to right a centuries-old wrong—a correction that happens to provide a positive role model for contemporary women in the church. "I just think this has been a terrible injustice," says Schenk. "I think of all the Christian women who need positive role models from scripture."

With the prostitute baggage properly disposed of, Mary of Magdala can emerge as a model of a faithful, devoted follower of the Lord, as well as a strong, independent leader in the early church. Her leadership can motivate women of the 21st century, says Thompson.

"Mary of Magdala didn't ask anybody whether or not she could lead. She simply led," she says. "And that's what women have to do today. Just do it."

Heidi Schlumpf is Managing Editor of U.S. Catholic. This article appeared in the April 2000 (Volume 65; pages 12-17) issue of U.S. Catholic
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/22 23:40:45 (permalink)
 
 
 





Today July 22 is the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles.
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/23 19:50:12 (permalink)
'Make your home in me'
Mary of Magdala
Meditation Day Thirteen
 

Christ in the house of Martha and Mary.
Painting by J. Vermeer in the Netherlands (1632-75).
Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.
 
Studying the Picture
 
The Gospel story of Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha is here presented as an intimate scene by Jan Vermeer. Like other Dutch painters of his time, Vermeer chose to depict familiar scenes in the homes of ordinary people. Christ and the two women disciples form a close-knit family. They love each other’s company.
 
Christ said: “Make your home in me, as I have made mine in you” (John 15,4). Living in each other. He in you, you in him. Nestling in each other’s arms, in each other’s bodies. A deeply moving image, or a reality? I do not know how many down-and-outs there are in your neighbourhood. Have you never wondered when you draw the curtains on a stormy night or when the temperature drops way below zero, where these people would have to pass the coming night? To have a home to return to. Living not only with each other but in each other. Finding someone at home waiting for you. Who has prepared supper. Who says: “Take a rest, you need it.” And you have the same attitude towards him. When he comes home tired. When he comes with a request for help. When he wants you to be still and listen.
 
Reflection
 
“Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty . . . .
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father
that you will bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.” (Jn 15,5-9)
 
Guest
Super Member
  • Total Posts : 14706
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2014/02/20 19:01:46
  • Status: online
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/24 06:20:44 (permalink)
Lest the female apostles doubt the angels, Christ himself came to them so that the women would be apostles of Christ and by their obedience rectify the sin of ancient Eve...Christ showed himself to the [male] apostles and said to them...,"It is I who appear to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as Apostles."


  • Hippolytus, Early Christian Bishop and Martyr of Rome (c. 170-236)

Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/24 15:44:20 (permalink)
What kind of woman do I want to be?
Mary of Magdala
Meditation day Fourteen



Mary Magdalene by Piero della Francesca (1415-1492), Florence.
Click here for an enlargement.

Mary is the personification of womanhood, a woman of regal and heroic idealism, her head betrays intellect and character.



La Madelena by Donatello (1466), Florence.

Click here for an enlargement.

Mary is the personification of the repentant woman who will never be allowed to forget her sinful status.

Reflection
Artistic tradition in the Middle Ages had looked on Mary of Magdala as the woman who could do what only men were allowed to do at the time: be Jesus’ close disciple, preach his Gospel, exploit the full range of her talents for her Master. With the Renaissance Mary began to be represented again as clerical preachers often preferred to see her: as the image of sinful womanhood, pitied, forgiven and repentant.
 
For centuries we women have been forced to adopt a self image imposed on us by men. What kind of woman do we want to be?
 
Therese
Super Member
  • Total Posts : 1816
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2006/01/26 12:56:16
  • Location: Canada
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/25 17:17:08 (permalink)
Hello,

Though I live too far away from Montreal to have attended the Mary Magdalene celebrations that were held there, I enjoyed reading a copy of the homily that was delivered at it by Virginia Lafond. I share it here. (I posted part 4 in our Tool Kit thread...something inspirational!)

as we make the Way together,
Therese

```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

In Celebration of Mary Magdalene:
A Homily for 'Called by Name' / Celebrating Women in Ministry
Terra Nova Centre, Dorval, QC. July 22/07
Virginia Lafond

'As women we should not have to reject the Christian faith and tradition, we have to reclaim women's contribution and role in it. We must free the images of Mary Magdalene from all distortions and recover her role as apostle.' (E. S. Fiorenza., 'Feminist theology as critical theology' p. 165)

1) Introduction:

Greetings to each and everyone of you!

I want to thank Beth LaRocque for encouraging me to speak at this celebration of Saint Mary Magdalene. To tell you the truth her request both surprised me and had me feeling very nervous because unlike many of you, and many thousands upon thousands of other women, some of whom we are naming in this celebration today, I have never given a homily before. I promise you that I will though get to the job of 'opening The Word' as, I understand, it is the job of all good homilists to do, and I will also emphasize what we are here about today - celebrating women in ministry - and at that point I would also like to invite at least a few of you to share a story of a woman you know or know of who has personified the face of Christ by her ministry.

But first I am going to tell you why I am here.

I chose to come here not just because of my profound reverence for and admiration of Mary Magdalene - certainly that - but also because I am so radically against patriarchy wherever it shows its unjust, oppressive, arrogant head that I take whatever opportunity presents itself to add my opposing voice.

Frankly, I am especially appalled and embarrassed by the continuing practice of patriarchy in the Roman Catholic Church together with its simplistic underpinnings, the so-called theology / often just put in a nutshell as 'the teachings of the church.' Statements against women's ordained ministry made by bishops, priests, popes often point simply to the quote/unquote "teachings of the church" - without explaining what these teachings really say. Now, I assume that we who are gathered here to honour Mary Magdalene this evening are aware of a great deal of what's contained in these teachings but I will remind us of two of these official teachings.

1. Men (read: males), sheerly because of their maleness, better represent the Persona Christi, as men, not women, are "a clear and unambiguous sign of the Person of Christ" (ref: Paul VI)

2. The Apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: (May 1994): Citing first the constant tradition/practice arguments made by Paul VI, John Paul II declared "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

So you and I have been told by the late pope that that's the end of it and, really, don't think of this, just 'definitively hold it.' I will nonetheless act in accord with my conscience and speak my dissent. My dissent arises from my observation that these conclusions and others have been arrived at in spite of:

(1) what we find in scripture:

- perhaps the most oft quoted is from St. Paul's epistle to the Galations: ". there is no longer male or female for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28);

- personally, every time I hear: "Take this, all of you, and do this in memory of me" (VL: Side bar story: Ruth Ross Residence)

- and, in spite of the examples of the myriad women disciples of Jesus we find in canonical scriptures.

(2) the landmark position in 1976 of the Pontifical Biblical Commission that there are no scriptural impediments to the ordination of women.

End of Part I; end of my rant.

2. 'Opening the Word'


In this part of my homily, I am going to open the Word, first, by referring to the account of the resurrection of Jesus in Gospel of John that we've just heard and then I am going to open the Word a bit further . to the Gospel of Mary.

This evening we have read from the Gospel of John an account of the first witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. This is of Mary of Magdala, who, along with Mary, his mother, another woman, named Mary, and John, had stood at the cross with the dying Jesus. We see her near the tomb, sorrowful and frantic, searching and asking the first person she sees for clues as the whereabouts of the body of Jesus. And then we hear Jesus calling her by name. And, she immediately responds to him with "Rabboni" (which I have read recently means not just teacher but 'beloved teacher'). And then, perhaps the clear pinnacle point: Jesus commissioned her to go and tell the others, that "I'm ascending to my Abba and your Abba, my God and your God." And, as that scripture reading from John tells us, Mary of Magdala went to the disciples, men and women, holed up together behind locked doors because of fear of the authorities, and she told them that she had seen the Teacher and what he had told her. (John 20)

I wonder now what happened next; that is, just after Mary had finished telling them. Now, in light of my study of the Gospel of Mary I'm inclined to think that her words may well have fallen on protesting ears, protesting because Mary, in spite of her message of the Resurrection, was not a man but a woman.

A few years ago I became familiar with the Gospel of Mary through my reading of The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene by Jane Schaberg. The Gospel of Mary which can found in its entirety on the internet is but 10 pages long (i.e., that all that so far has been found). Lost for centuries and only recently rediscovered - and this accidentally - it was found in 1896 and only published in 1955. I am going to take a minute or two to read to you part of Chapter 9 of the Gospel of Mary.

1) When Mary had said this (told what Jesus had told her), she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.

2) But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.

3) Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things.

4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us? (Emphasis added.)

5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?

6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.

7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.

8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. (Emphasis added.)

9) That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.

What can be pondered about and learned from this passage? For perhaps obvious starters, that Mary Magdalene was told by Jesus the Christ things he did not tell the male apostles. And, the close second, that patriarchy and the struggle against it existed at the centre of Christianity from the beginning. Third, I, for one, can surely claim Mary Magdalene as one of my heroes in facing patriarchy; to be regarded from now on as a woman who stood up to the patriarchs about her and modeled for us participation in adult faith conversation, now so blocked in present day Christianity.

Mary of Magdala, your gospel shows us clearly that you and what you said were dismissed by men, Peter and Andrew no less, simply because you were female. . Help us, women and the men who support us, to continue to realize and actualize the power of our baptism and to understand what it means that we, like you, are called by name.

Part 3.Naming and celebrating women in ministry:

Before asking at least a few of you to name and share a short story about women you care to tell about, I'd like to mention ­5 women:

a. Marie Bouclin and Michele Birch Connery, priests and active participants in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. I celebrate their effort to discern their callings to ministerial priesthood, their ordinations (two months ago and two years ago respectively) and the conscientious careful way they are now carrying out their vocations.

b. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, an American, called to ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. Recognizing that she is one of thousands of activists, tonight I want to celebrate her unfaltering courageous and generous commitment to make change happen. (For those of you who may not know of Janice, I have brought a few copies of a recent article by her.)

c. I also want to celebrate Thérèse of Lisieux, canonized saint, who has received of course much adulation far and wide for her "little way." She has been a model for me since my childhood because of her little way - i.e., of the importance of doing little things well for God/de. Tonight, however, I want to honour her for her profound longing for ordination to the ordained priesthood.

d. Finally, I celebrate Joanna Manning, teacher, author, fearless critic of the patriarchy. While I celebrate all of those things about her, tonight I want to particularly celebrate the magnificently constructive way she takes us beyond our necessary and justified rant against patriarchy to The Magdalene Moment. The fly-leaf of her latest book, called The Magdalene Moment, reads in part:

Drawing on Mary Magdalene as an inspirational model of 'justice from the heart,' Manning calls for the reinstatement of women in religious leadership, for the integration of the erotic and sensual into the spiritual, and for the acceptance of sexual diversity. She demands the reconciliation of Creation with the empirical truths revealed by the cosmology of our time, and she maps out a Magdalene vision for an equitable social and economic order, which incorporates respect for religious pluralism.

The Magdalene Moment is a sweeping call for a new Chrisianity that points the way to worldwide peace, justice and love.

And, now I'd like to invite some of you to name a woman whom you'd like to honour for her ministry .

4. Thank you and one last word:


A few weeks ago on a Saturday morning at my parish church I, the lector, read from the book of Genesis the story of Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. That story always touches me profoundly. It's the one about Abraham, when he noticed that he had three guests, ran and asked his wife Sarah to help him serve his guests. Their efforts worked so well that by the end of the meal one of the visitors prophetically pronounced that when he returned "in due season" Sarah would have a son. Sarah, a very post-menopausal woman, laughed and asked: "Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?" Then, we're told about what God said to Abraham and Sarah about Sarah's laughing and her questioning. God said:

Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14)

Really is anything too wonderful for the Lord? I believe we ought to carry this God/de- spoken question in our Christian feminist tool boxes so that despite all manner of deliberate patriarchal efforts everywhere, including the church, we can sustain our spirits and unleash our imaginations in our efforts to live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sophie
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 14275
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2007/01/18 01:57:27
  • Status: offline
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/25 19:22:44 (permalink)
"You shall do the same works that I do."
Mary of Magdala
Meditation Day Fifteen
 
 
Mary of Magdala
Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464)
Viennese tableau of the crucifixion altar.
Click here or on the picture for an enlargement.

Studying the Picture
 
I like this painting of Mary of Magdala. The Flemish artist presents her as a mysterious person, an individual, thoughtful, capable of both contemplation and action. And look at the flask of ointment in her hands. She wears it carefully because she knows its purpose. She will anoint the Lord’s feet with it -- and the feet of others to whom she will minister. For Mary, once healed, will become a healer herself.
 
“My time is up”, Jesus said. “I am going to the Father. If you believe in me, you will do the same things I do. You will do even greater things than I do” (Jn 14,12). Jesus is positive. First: ‘the same things’. As Mary of Magdala, we remember him first of all as the Great Healer. He healed a blind man along the road, a lame man in a bathhouse, lepers on the outskirts of a village and the woman at the well in Sichar. At other times they came to him. Sick people, people thirsting for spiritual food. We have our own families to think of, our jobs, our careers. Can we still do the things he did? Heal people? Indeed we can.

We need not go out of our way to meet people. We come across them naturally in the course of the day. We can help make them whole by showing them respect, seeing them as the human beings they are, not as objects. So many people feel as if they are just that in this world, objects, things. An opening for us?
 
Reflection
 
“You will perform even greater things”. Was Jesus thinking of the enormous number of generations that would follow in his way? Of the power that would be generated if his followers put all their little talents together? It was not only Jesus’ world that needed redemption. So does ours. Working on it seems to be an impossible task. Still, we could take our clues from those people who in a few years’ time have changed the world into that vast place we know as the world wide web. They, too, started from very small beginnings. But hundreds of thousands of people interested in the possibilities of a computer network each added a little bit to the thing that was developing. An enormous multitude took up the idea, improved it, added their little bits of information, clues to problems, overcoming them. They changed our world. And why did they succeed? Because they believed it could be done.
 
Sr. Theresia Saers
Guest
Super Member
  • Total Posts : 14706
  • Reward points : 0
  • Joined: 2014/02/20 19:01:46
  • Status: online
RE: The Women Apostles, the Women Disciples 2007/07/27 20:43:35 (permalink)
ORIGINAL: Guest

Lest the female apostles doubt the angels, Christ himself came to them so that the women would be apostles of Christ and by their obedience rectify the sin of ancient Eve...Christ showed himself to the [male] apostles and said to them...,"It is I who appear to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as Apostles."
  • Hippolytus, Early Christian Bishop and Martyr of Rome (c. 170-236)



 
Hippolytus is not an intelligent source of information to draw from Because Hippolytus wrote in Greek, the bulk of his works was lost and his history became confused in the Latin West. Saint Damasus I, for example, believed that Hippolytus was a follower of Novatian, and in later writings Hippolytus is represented as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence. Both Eusebius of Caesarea and Saint Jerome made reference to him as a prolific author and a bishop, but they were unable to identify his episcopal see. The most famous of the works attributed to Hippolytus is the Refutation of All Heresies, although many scholars now doubt that this and other writings traditionally associated with the name of Hippolytus can be considered the work of the Roman priest and antipope
 
 
Page: << < ..678910.. > >> Showing page 6 of 14 - Powered by APG vNext Trial
Guest
Quick Reply: (Open Full Version)
  Enter the random characters shown
Submit Post
Jump to:
© 2020 APG vNext Trial Version 4.6

This website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Visitors to www.womenpriests.org since 11 January 2014

Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research