February 14, 2021
Nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad. Luke 8:17
Funny that statement above, basically, it means that there are no secrets that shall not be made public. The problem with that is too often people use shades of grey to describe whatever truth. As we delve in to the mystery of who Mary really was, we will find not a shade of grey, but a huge deception. Mary, the wife of Christ has proved to be a non-ending thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. Repeatedly she sneaks out of obscurity and gets in to the face of the church, most recently in Dan Brown’s novel/film, “The Da Vinci Code”.
Though Brown’s account is fictional, it is premised on fact; yes, the Magdalene was the wife of Christ and did indeed bear him children. The film was inaccurate in that the Grail does not reside in just one person, but rather resides in families and throughout the generations since the time of Christ, it has disseminated throughout the populace. Brown would have been more correct to say that the strongest claim to the Grail resides with the family that can claim descent back to both Jesus’ and Mary’s lineage combined.
In the gospels, Jesus had various female companions, seven are cited; in all but one, the Magdalene is first named, in the other, it’s his mom Mary. We are introduced to Magdalene as a woman who “ministered unto him”; she makes her last appearance as the first person to speak with JC after his resurrection. In the first centuries of the first millennium A.D., the literature states clearly that Magdalene had a special place in the heart of JC and his followers. As time progressed, the church decided that Mary must have been a whore because a biblical reference classifies her as a “sinner”. To the bishops of that time, this meant that she was a woman of loose virtues. This of course, being just one more instance of the church not knowing its own book, because in the next gospel verse, Mary is said to be a woman of substance and one of Jesus’s sponsors! In other gospel accounts, Magdalene is shown as a close friend and confidant of JC’s mother, who accompanies her to the crucifixion; as I’m sure that a grieving mother wants her son’s whoring prostitute at her side as her son is being tortuously murdered in front of her. So why did the church turn against this woman who Jesus loved more than all of his disciples? What are they trying to conceal?
In other non-canonical gospels her life was recorded, her clerical and academic status, she was known to have been endowed with knowledge, vision, and insight that not even Peter had. As we carry on we will discover what she has come to mean in the world of fine art, how she is still relative to today. Magdalene has been painted, sculpted, been seen in stained glass, she is in fact one of the most depicted individuals. There have been portrayals of her at the cross, the tomb, and the “Do not cling to me” drama from John 20:17. Most of her depictions have nothing whatsoever to do with the bible; most scenes have her alone, either at a table or in a glen or grotto, most feature a mirror, candle, skull, jewelry, and a book.
Sometimes when she is depicted with other women, there is an ointment jar. The mirror and jewelry is symbolic of her rejection of the vanities of life (ego). The candle and book of course represents the movement from ignorance to enlightenment, the skull, only the inevitability of death and she of course represents the cup of life, her womb. Mark 16:1 says that when she and the others arrived at JC’s tomb, they brought sweet spices in an ointment jar so that they might come and anoint him. The real importance of the ointment is this though, when Mary anointed the head and feet of JC at the house of Simon in Bethany before the crucifixion.
The church has always said with some vehemence that Mary the whore was not the person who performed the anointing, they insist that JC would not be anointed by a sinner. (Funny that considering he died for us sinners) Luke 7:37-38 states clearly that Mary performed the anointing at the house of Simon the Pharisee. The gospels tell us that two anointing’s took place, John 11:2 assures us that they were both done by Magdalene. Pope Gregory I (590-604) A.D. argued this, and finally 1,306 years later, in 1910 the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledged this fact.
Magdalene was finally made a saint in 1969, which is a church feast day on July 22. In the west this pagan feast day has been the same since the 8th century, here we have another instance of the Catholic Church appropriating grail related rituals. Unsurprisingly the Roman Missal, which determines Latin Rite liturgy, still rejects the fact that the whore and Mary of Bethany is the same person. The change in 1969 to Mary’s canonical status is based on the presumption that she had repented, although nowhere in the scriptures does it say that she had repented from having been a prostitute!
So again, why did the church go to such lengths to vilify her? Obviously, there was something about her being such an important part of JC’s life that really irritated those early bishops. From day one, the church had been designed as celibacy based male prerogative institution, because somehow Mary’s influence undermined this new hybrid Pauline church.