Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.
Song of Solomon 1:12
While the king sits at his table, she said, my spikenard sends for this fragrance over me.
I have been reading a couple of books to assist with my studies Secrets of The Eucharist by Vinny Flynn and Christ Acts through the Sacraments by A.-M. Roguet, O.P. I haven’t read much of the latter one but I am working my way in.
They obviously have been influencing my thinking, thinking that seemingly forever has been slowly steeping and brewing inside of me, but changing over time since I fell in Love in God. I walk for miles at a time. It is quite beautiful time. During this time I walk beyond the grind of life, it is a freedom that only prayer knows. I contemplate my love and how often it falls short. I contemplate my love and how it aspires to be Love, and how when it is Love it aspires to become LOVE.
For months now in deepest prayer, not prayer which is alone prayed aloud, not prayer which is only pondered, but prayer which is considered, dreamed, felt, stirred, moved, awakened, surprised, lived and is at times both challenging and revealing, I have prayed it. And then beyond all of those, prayers I have learnt to pray other, a deepest prayer. This prayer is quite different. It is still. It is emptied till empty. A prayer beyond even myself.
Several weeks ago I went to a talk on the Easter Resurrection with professor Tina Beattie, it was an inspiring paper and after the presentation we were to contribute our thoughts. I publicly raised a few of my own thoughts, thoughts which I hadn’t heard raised before, but are so very obvious to me. I am fully aware that I come from a background which leaves me without a deep impression of the Gospels, so I come to them new. Now that I have embraced them I can see things within which are so Alive to me, things which are just so very obvious to me. This is because in the moments of my life which I am living now, I can see some of the revelations. I feel and know all too well some of the emotions being lived, and the desperate grief, and the hopeless hope, and the Love and the faith, and the nothing else left but prayer for some of the Gospel people’s lives. These lives are seemingly living right before my very eyes, in the pictures read by my mind, every time I listen to the Word of God. After the presentation I very briefly went up and spoke to Tina, she said that my ideas were insightful and original and this encouraged me and gave me some hope to keep on. Inspiration is quite dry these days.
If you have been reading my blogs randomly for a while, you will know that I am captured by the undying Love that Mary Magdalene has for Jesus. I know of that Love, it is unbeginning and unending and ever-living. It is without self-consciousness, without fear, and as if with an innocent blindness to others criticisms. And within that Love are all the lessons Christ ever wanted to teach us. To live This Love is the only path we ever need to walk, any other path is irrelevant. The relationship between Mary and Christ is of Loving God beyond All else, and Loving each other as self. This Love openly expressed, shared and lived out infiltrates the lives of all others around them. It teaches the disciples the way to serve God and each other in gentle humble beautiful perfect LOVE. It is the trinity being played out in human time. The fruits of this Love Graced by God, intimately infiltrates the others who are taught by Christ and Mary’s example of Love. It is this Love that seals the new covenant today.
It is so full of clarity to me.
Last eve I fell to sleep thinking about Mary Magdalene. I was feeling restless in my absolute desperate tiredness, but I still kept thinking that her Love for Jesus and His Love for her should not go by misunderstood. I am absolute in my conviction that the path that she walks is the path that is The Way – Through Him. It is the only Charism to follow. Up until now Magdalene’s way has been so overshadowed by the emphasis of sin, or being a fallen woman redeemed, that ‘her way’ has been completely distorted, thwarted, blurred, else erased. Mary Magdalene has been wrongly held up as a sinner for having 7 demons cast out of her (but this actually indicates her 7 virtues within) She is graced. The number 7 in the bible represents Gods completed work.
Last night in my aloneness her story pre-occupied me.
I was so tired and so drained, and I just craved the still, calm, peace that I had experienced the night before in this very same room. I didn’t want to be preoccupied by anyone else’s story. I just wanted and needed to drift into deepest purest sleep, and so eventually I did sleep. But unlike the many times when I awake to nothing but the dropping off and the waking up, this morning I awoke to something, I awoke to a little treasure – a revelation of sorts.
I have taught before in a previous blog that at the Last Supper Jesus didn’t only wash the feet of His disciples, He left them with a gift of Love and service that mirrored the devoted Love that Mary Magdalene had taught Him. She on washing her Beloveds feet in such devotion was berated by the disciples before Jesus. At the Last Supper Jesus humbles himself to show the disciples that this very devotion is exactly the right way. The One Way. That perfect Love in devotion should be expressed in humility and in beloved service to others. This of course fulfills the two greatest commandments. Mary Magdalene far ahead of any other being, lived in the first Commandment. She Loved the Lord her God beyond All others. This I already understand, however this morning I awoke with such clarity . . . read on;
The books that I have been reading on the Sacredness of the Sacraments must have taken me deeper still. Last night when I eventually fell to sleep I had been thinking of Mary Magdalene and her journey, and I thought back to Mary and the anointing of Jesus’ feet with spikenard. This morning when I awoke I knew that Mary doesn’t merely clean, soothe and massage our Lords feet as a servant, for the reasons suggested by others that I have heard of in the past i.e) that she alone wants his forgiveness etc. No, I think it began with repentance and then became something far greater – This morning I was given this;
She is the one who by the Grace of God in all her devoted Love anoints His feet. She anoints His feet in the most expensive of ointments after showing repentance with her tears. She then after anointing Him by living out the Sacrament, dries His feet with her hair – thus her Lord’s anointed feet then anoint her head. This is an exchange of intimate Grace that seals them both, both blessed with the same Chrism ointment. Mary is anointed at the foot of the temple and sealed to it with spikenard. The rebuking disciples become the witnesses. The Gospel records the Truth. Whether this be the baptism of Mary Magdalene and latterly the Marriage between Bride and her Spouse Church, it is the greatest wonder. Christ then at the last supper continues to live out this Love before His disciples, the Love that He and Mary have lived before them – all along – except their feet are washed with water and dried on towels by Him, spikenard absent. Christ is trying to teach them by example to Live in this Love with each other, it was the spikenard that made the seal between Him and Mary Sacred. He teaches the apostles how to Love and serve in this way too, despite their blindness, their weakness and their human failings.
I Love Mary for her absolute undistracted, undiluted conviction, she lives her Love True, regardless of any rebukes, never ever taking her eyes off her Lord. I know this Love.
Her Charism is the Charism that fills me.