I have been examining the Gospel. I could spend my whole life doing this. I just Love looking at Jesus’ life so closely. That He could teach us to Love in such a profound way amazes me. I am sure that the Gospel will forever speak to me anew, and that that is the entire Divine magicalness of it. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, that in each stage of our lives, a new depth of understanding can be gleaned, for every situations that we are living through at any time. That Jesus should know such Love by 33, in such a profoundly perfect way – is supernatural.
My examination so far has involved going through my four little individual paper back Gospels, and highlighting in yellow light everything that at first spoke to me, namely Jesus’ every quote. Everything He said I highlighted. As a result of this I then looked deeper into different passages and themes. I looked up references and cross references, and different interpretations, I meditated upon different passages and visualised myself being present. Different readings would speak to me from different places over the following days, and they would all appear to magnify the same passages or subject or theme that had inspired me, this is surely the Holy Spirit at work. Lectio Divina coming to life, The Word made flesh.
Over the past two years at different times I have looked deeply into parts of the Gospel whilst sitting in my little room, whilst on the train to London Town, whilst in bed at night, and whilst in my favourite spiritual places, and still I open it today and there’s something I have missed or something new I discover, something I never previously noticed, a new depth of understanding or wonder.
I am but a working class uneducated woman who did a foundation degree in Pastoral Mission, because I wanted to learn about the Catholic Faith, and because I wanted to be received into the Catholic Church, as were my children. It is obvious that I am not an intellectual. I have a pants memory for facts, poor writing skills, and was never good at exams. All I can claim is that I am a mother of 5 children, I am 43 years old, and I Love.
I Love, and have been awakened because of that Love. And because of this I can see so much more in the Gospel than I have ever seen before, or than I have ever heard spoken. I have always known, and I have always taught my children that the most important thing in the world is Love, and if you were to ask any of them today ‘what is the most important thing in the world?’ without a doubt I would guarantee that each child would tell you that it is Love. It is in moments the easiest thing in the world to do. To Love. And in other moments it is the hardest thing in the world to do. To Love. I have witnessed that for some people it is easier for them to Love their neighbour else a stranger, than it is for them to Love their own kin, or to be Love to the people they Love.
It could be said that living within a family first, or a community, or even within the world at large, is exactly like the story of little jagged blemished pebbles, tumbling around in the machine that polishes stones. Pebbles thrashing together, chipping off the rough edges, smoothing the surface, tumbling away. But on being extracted from the machine, the pebbles are no longer dull blemished pebbles, but polished to perfection, a new brightness – like jewels. I could challenge this story as so often we see people in the world not like shiny bright new jewels; but dull, damaged, hurt, broken, cold, hardened and stone like. And sometimes it appears they have been broken purposefully so.
An interesting Richard Rohr meditation yesterday pinged into my inbox, about transforming our pain and our wounds from normal wounds into sacred wounds, so that we don’t project our pain onto others. It said that if religion couldn’t help us to achieve this, then it was a bad religion. Somebody a few days earlier on another blog that I read had asked this question, ‘I have a theological question that I would like an answer to, what is at the heart of Jesus’s Passion?’ I am no theologian but I know the answer. It is simple, but often these things are lost in long theological examinations and complex descriptions which don’t nail the point, especially when people just need to hear the simple truth. I knew the answer because I had been looking at scripture on forgiveness in the bible, for draft 2 of The Way of Love Charism, and so I answered his question.
The simple answer to the question is Love and forgiveness over and over and over again. In Luke 23:34 – Jesus upon the Cross says ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’
In Matthew 18:21-22 – in The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant it says;
21′ Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’
Seven is the number of perfection in the bible. So the number of 77 is the number of ten fold perfection. The number 10 being the fullness of Divine Order. 7 + 7 = 14 and there are 14 stations of the Cross. If Jesus, who in His last seven sentences (whilst being murdered upon the Cross) insists on asking God for the forgiveness of His persecutors, and if we ourselves are to learn to forgive as God forgives us, then it is vital that we understand that absolute forgiveness is an essential component of perfect Love. Just as it is to know that we are absolutely forgiven ourselves.
This is what Love is.
The theology of the Cross is Love and forgiveness over and over and over again. It is perfect Love. This is why the examine of our conscience before God in prayer is so important, and why the Sacrament of Reconciliation is encouraged and practiced in the Roman Catholic Church. It is how we know that Mary Magdalene was perfected in Love. The statement where Jesus was said to have cast seven devils out of her, in no way points to Mary Magdalene’s faults or sin, but points entirely to her perfect Love. If there is no darkness there is only light. She was perfected in Love, which is why she was the one chosen to deliver His Love to others. Just as a woman was inseminated by a male seed, and so gave birth to the whole of mankind, just as the Virgin Mary was inseminated by God, and so gave birth to God, so did Mary Magdalene give birth to The Good News, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Mary Magdalene † Jesus Christ Pray for us †