Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spiritual courage


Mary kissing Jesus´feet (14th century Italy)
Coming back to the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, it is interesting to notice the attitudes that Peter and Andrew show towards Mary, after her mystical discourse, part of which we saw on Thursday:
"How shall we go to the gentiles and preach the gospel of the kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?" Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, "Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for his grace will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather let us praise his greatness, for he has  prepared us and made us into men." When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the [Savior]. 
 Peter said to Mary, 'Sister, I we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember - which you know (but) we do not, nor have we heard them." Mary answered and said, "What is hidden from you will proclaim to you."

(…) [See her discourse on the whole text]

When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her. But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, "Say what you (wish to) say I about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas." Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: "Did he really speak with a woman without our knowledge (and) not openly? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did he prefer her to us?"

Then Mary wept and said to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?" Levi answered and said to Peter, "Peter, you have always been  hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why he loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as he commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said. When [ ...] and they began to go forth [to] proclaim and to preach.
The fragments of the Gospel of Mary seem to indicate that she not only became a good teacher herself, but took responsibility to pass down the core of the teaching, encouraged by Jesus, his spiritual consort, who already let her speak at ease in presence of other disciples, as other Gospels indicate.
Curiously, Peter and Andrew seemed not happy with accepting the authority of a woman, what might be the reason why Chrisianity split; although in the catacombs of Italy there are Christian frescoes showing feminine figures in the middle of groups of listeners, what reveals the difference between the first Christianity (centuries I and II) and that of the later Church.
Interestingly enough, Andrew and Peter became two pillars of the institutional Church.
On the contrary, John and Mary focused “exclusively”, on the spiritual and transformative message of Yeshua, preaching with the example, rather than with words and obsolete laws. Precisely, if there is someone how embodied the teaching of Jesus, apart from him, are John and Mary Magdale, who were the only disciples who remained beside Jesus at the foot of the cross, together with his mother. Their love for him was strong enough to overcome the fear to be murdered as well, something that cannot be said of others. Peter, in particular, denied being a disciple three times, according to the Gospels. If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?", they thought. To which Mary adds: "Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for his grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
In conclusion, both the canonical Gospels and Apocryphal texts like this one, seem to point to a different story, the one written on the hearts of Wisdom lovers, rather than on pillars of stone.

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