Tag Archive | Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene – Apostle to the Apostles

Prostitute or Apostle? … Upgrading Mary Magdalene
A misinterpretation of the Gospels has contributed to the confusion surrounding Mary Magdalene, writes Fr Brendan McConvery CSsR
The change in status of a liturgical celebration from ‘obligatory memorial’ to ‘feast’ normally entails little more than the inclusion of the Gloria in the Mass and the requirement to use certain special texts in the Eucharist and the Divine Office. In the case of the upgrading of the liturgical celebration of St Mary Magdalene, July 22, it is much more than that.

As the explanatory statement by Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, states, “the Holy Father Francis has taken this decision precisely in the context of the Jubilee of Mercy to stress the importance of this woman, who shows great love for Christ and was very dear to Christ”.

By giving her the same liturgical status as an apostle, the change also restores to Mary the oldest title by which she was known, Apostola Apostolorum, “the Apostle to the Apostles.”

The earliest use of the title, “Apostle to the Apostles” is in an early commentary on the Song of Songs by a shadowy figure in the early Church called Hippolytus, dating from the early 3rd Century.


It has been suggested that at least part of this commentary began life as an Easter homily.

Using the text of the woman’s search for her beloved in Song 3:1-4 as a prototype for the search by Mary and the other women for the body of Jesus on Easter Sunday, the text comments, “they show us a good testimony of those who were made apostles to the apostles, sent by Christ. It is to these that the angel first said ‘Go and tell his disciples: ‘He goes before you into Galilee, there you shall see him’’ (Mark 16:7, Matt 28:7). So that the apostles might not doubt that these women were sent by the angels, Jesus himself comes to meet the apostles so that the women might be truly recognised as apostles of Christ and make good the failure of ancient Eve by their obedience.”

The New Testament does not limit the use of the term ‘apostle’ to the 12 chosen by Jesus. Matthias, for example, replaces Judas and Paul is very insistent on his apostolic status, “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” (I Cor. 9:1).

At the end of Romans, he greets a husband and wife, “Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was” (Rom. 16:7). Ephesians 4:11 lists apostleship among a list of offices and charisms for the work of ministry.

Mary passes the test for apostleship under several heads. When Peter invited the first Jesus community to select a replacement for Judas: “Out of the men who have been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was living with us, from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us, one must be appointed to serve with us as a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22 NJB).

As her name suggests, Mary had followed Jesus from her hometown on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and had been present at his death on the Cross (as none of the male disciples had been, bar the Beloved Disciple). She had also been a witness to the empty tomb (prior to Peter and the Beloved Disciple – John 20:2ff) and had been sent by the Risen Lord to tell his disciples that he had risen (John 20:17-18).

Mary’s title, ‘Apostle to the Apostles’, continued in use well into the Middle Ages. St Thomas Aquinas used it of her, because she announced to the apostles what they in turn would announce to the whole world.

Somewhere in the centuries that followed, Mary’s title got lost and she became the prototype of the repentant sinner and prostitute. Prostitution was as common in the land of Jesus as it was elsewhere. One of the marks of Jesus’ ministry was his ability to reach out to ‘tax collectors and sinners’ including women who were regarded as sinful.

A certain misinterpretation of the Gospels has contributed to the confusion surrounding Mary Magdalene. What we know about Mary from the Gospel evidence is relatively clear.

As her name implies, she was a native of the town of Magdala or Migdal on the shores of the  Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:2)

She had experienced some kind of dramatic healing or deliverance through Jesus (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2)

She became, along with other women, a member of the itinerant Jesus community, following him and the apostles from Galilee to Jerusalem (Luke 8:3, Mark 15:41)

She was a witness to the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus (Mark 15:40,47)

She was a witness to the Empty Tomb and encountered the Risen Lord (Mark 16:1ff, Matt 28:1, Luke 24:10, John 20:1ff).

An incident popularly associated with Mary is not included in the list above. It is the incident in the Gospels where “a woman who was a sinner” gate-crashed a party in the house of a Pharisee called Simon to anoint the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:37-38). That woman is unnamed.


To add further to the confusion, there are two similar stories in the Gospels. In the first, an unnamed woman anointed the head of Jesus in the house of Simon the Leper at Bethany a few days before his passion (Mark 14:3-5), but nothing is said about her sinful life. In the second, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed the feet of Jesus with costly nard (John 12:3) at a dinner party her family had prepared for him to celebrate the raising of their brother.

While it is likely that details in these stories feed into one another, they have also been interpreted by preachers as though they were referring to the same event. It should be clear that Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, is not Mary Magdalene and there is no evidence to call either of the other two women Mary.

Recent archaeological excavations of the Magdala/Migdal site prove it to be a settlement of some considerable size and prosperity.

From the Jewish historian Josephus, we know it was a centre for the fishing trade on the lake. Its Greek name, ‘Migdal of the Fish Salters’, suggests that preserving fish was a profitable local industry. Given that Mary is included among a group of women who provided for Jesus out of their own resources (Luke 8:2-3), it is not unreasonable to suspect that she or her family might have made their money from the fishing industry.

What made her follow Jesus was her own experience of his healing power. She was delivered from seven demons. Firstly, “seven” is not a literal number – seven demons implies a mighty destructive force, just as seven gifts of the Holy Spirit implies all the spiritual blessings of the Spirit.

What deliverance from such oppressive force meant in the days of Jesus we cannot say with certainty but Mary seems to have experienced a life-changing freedom that makes her a committed disciple of Jesus.

Archbishop Roche concludes his short commentary on the liturgical change by saying “it is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman should have the same level of festivity given to the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and that the special mission of this woman be highlighted, as an example and model to every woman in the Church.”

It is also good to see justice done to her memory after so long a time.

Brendan McConvery CSsR taught sacred scripture for many years in Maynooth and elsewhere. He is an author, with Ciaran O’Callaghan CSsR, of The Three Faces of Christ: Reading the Gospels in the Liturgical Year and is currently editor of Reality magazine.



Mary Magdalene, 1877, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Longing for God Beyond the Edges

I have spent years in the throws of an aching longing for God – about 17 years to be exact. Though not brought up Catholic, I was baptized Catholic and my husband and I returned to the faith when my third child was born and we decided they needed a faith tradition. We became immersed in the beauty of the Church, the mystery the saints, then our faith matured. I went on to delve into the mysticism, gobbling up John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, Catherine of Sienna and I  think that is when the longing started.  I felt I was endlessly being drawn into the depths of spirit and couldn’t get enough – I was in love with God and s/he with me. We meditated together, rested together, seemed to gaze at each other and like being in love, my last thought of the night was of God and my first thought in the morning the same. Thomas Merton and Teillhard de Chardin came next. brilliant men who expanded spirituality beyond the edges.

My yearning drove me to look and read and revel with delight at all I uncovered. My philosophical mind turned over all the details I would mine and look at all the nuance. And the yearning never stopped, I ached, I pined, I had brief respites of peace, but then the longing would begin again. When would I cease? When would I find what I was looking for? Months turned into years which turned into more years. Spiritual direction and exploration of the stages of faith – purgative, illuminative and unitive. Spiritual exercises of St Ignatius and understanding the shifts between stages of faith – we don’t stay in one stage, we vacillate between them.

Still the yearning, but now reality starts peeking in, seeping in to lift up the corners, shine light on the dark places. The yearning isn’t stopping, I am still being led – pushed – to continue searching. Time with the Redemptorists – a lovely nun told me God gives certain souls a long rope to go exploring, I found comfort in that, but my soul was still restless. Carmelites next, other Christian alternative Gospels – Buddhism – nothing satiated me. An Atheist friend pounding on the Church, pointing out her obvious flaws – defense mechanisms kick in – my defense of Catholicism bolsters my faith not his, interesting turn of events.

It doesn’t last. Patriarchy reigns, prayers changed to more “accurately fit the Latin vulgate,” sex abuse scandal continues, Pope Francis excuses the guilty priests. Churches close, priests ruin parishes and are left unchecked as they rule over their serfdoms, Pope Benedict says women priests would be a more egregious sin than pedophile priests….(Saint) John Paul II knew the extent pedophile epidemic and did nothing – except protect Bernard Law by bringing him to Rome and then giving him a cushy job there. No punishment for the guilty princes.

(what am I doing here?)

Pope Francis says something (though now I forget what) is as useless as a Grandmother.

(Really? Women’s only contribution is motherhood?)

Nothing is working the old prayers are stale, it feels like indoctrination, it feels robotic, cradle Catholics have no idea what they believe in – aside from the big three – 10 Commandments, no abortion and we are all sinners. It begins to feel like a cult. Women priests can not even be DISCUSSED, priests get excommunicated for supporting women in  the priesthood, pedophiles are still being hidden and sentenced to a “lifetime” of prayer.

I give up.

I meditate, I think about Yeshua (less baggage than Jesus). I think a lot about Mary Magdalene and the bad deal she has been given by the boys in the Church – no, she was not a whore ever. She was the Apostle to  the Apostles. I invite Yeshua and Mary to pray with me, I make up my own rituals – I write things on little pieces of paper that I don’t want in my life – debt, negativity etc. – and I burn them in a chalice made of pottery. I ask Yeshua and Mary to help me. I write what I want to bring into my life – greater spiritual awareness – on a piece of paper and bury it like a seed waiting to grow. I still research, but the aching is gone, I feel more peaceful. I find Mary Magdalene in France. A light seems to be going on and I realize, as many times as I went back to the church, the Holy Spirit was actually leading me away. I feel more at peace now, more clear.

The Holy Spirit led me away from the Church and then told me why – Biblical corruption (Yeshua wrote nothing down and said the Holy Spirit would lead us after he was gone), the Romanization of the Church, corruption and power mongers in the Church.

The Holy Spirit is no longer there, Christianity is not what Yeshua taught.

I’ll leave it there. For now. Our Lady of Pontmain (Good Hope) in Marseilles is smiling.

Our LAdy of Pontmain


Will the real “Jesus” please stand up.

What if in following “Jesus”, we are really following Satan?

The mere thought gives me pause, but what if it is true? Christianity was hijacked just a few decades after Jesus’ death, the Apostles were melding Jesus teachings into their own traditions – as anyone of us would likely do. The Gospels were written 50+ years after the death of Jesus and by the time we fast forward to the 4th century and Emperor Constantine things couldn’t have been worse for the actual teachings of Jesus.  Constantine Romanized the Church in order to save the Roman Empire, killed off all of his opponents and so went the rest of history. All of the early Church councils were convoked by the Emperors and many times the seated Popes didn’t even attend – when Church doctrine was being decided! Any Popes that were in opposition were also restrained, I am thinking of Pope Virgilius jailed for 4 and a half years for being unwilling to signed a proclamation drafted by Emperor Justinian denying that Jesus taught reincarnation.

Let me restate that  – the Pope wouldn’t support the Emperor in saying Jesus did NOT teach reincarnation, meaning: JESUS TAUGHT REINCARNATION! Origen, an early father of the Church, wrote extensively on reincarnation – as Jesus taught – but he was He was anathematised at the Second Council of Constantinople and his works destroyed. What political power can be gained if people think they have “do overs” in a next life?

Jesus name wasn’t even Jesus that is a Greek twist, Yeshua is translated as Joshua.

Joshua came to expose the pharisees and the sadducees and oppose the unreasonable laws they held over the people and to oppose the exclusion of anyone from the temple. Prophecy had waned and the High Priests gained in political power and religious authority as “interpreters” of the sacred books or interpreters and enforcers of the law. Judaism became a “religion of the book”  a religion of laws and that is what Joshua was fighting against.

Satan’s plan was to corrupt Joshua’s followers. We need to look carefully and insightfully at what we believe and make sure it makes sense. We too, need to fight against religions of the laws of men and fight even harder against years of indoctrination and corruption and make sure we have not been misled.

I think we have been misled.The mysteries of “faith” are beyond belief. We need to wake up and take responsibility for our beliefs. Churches of prosperity are churches of false gods, the catholic church is a church of false gods, bible based churches are churches of false gods.We need to look at the lessons of early Christianity and sift through the rubble -it is there we will find the “pearl of great value”.

Joshua appeared in my broken phone, here is a picture:.

Jesus in Cell Phone 2009


The Role of Women in Early Christianity

In the earliest development of Christianity, Mary Magdalene stood as the model for the role women would play in the early Church. Her status as “apostle” and even “apostle to the apostles” should have defined a new, elevated status for women. It should have been the opportunity for women to rise to equal status and men to accept that status afforded to women by the relationship Jesus had with the women he surrounded himself with.  What has transpired is quite the opposite, her relationship with Jesus was so threatening to the male hierarchy that it has allowed a false legend to define her which ultimately resulted in discrediting sexuality in general and dis-empowering women over all.

Mary Magdalene’s character was the source of confusion, either purposeful or through misunderstanding – or both  – which resulted in one power struggle after another. What should have represented a correction in the way women were perceived in society ended up the source of conflict in the Christian Church that continues today. The conflicts center around sexuality, the authority of an all-male clergy that began in the Gospels themselves. The Gospels were not written to be historical documents and as such are based on memories that were shaped by time. Sadly, the prevailing attitude toward women dominated the resultant doctrine and Mary Magdalene was relegated to being a whore, a repentant sinner, regardless of the fact that there is no indication that this was ever the case. It fit the political landscape of the time, the power brokers were once again able to use God to justify their maltreatment of women.

We should be looking to Jesus to see how he treated women and that should be the model going forward. Jesus treated women with respect, as equals in his circle of apostles and disciples. He refused to reduce women to only their sexuality. Jesus clearly loved Mary Magdalene and all women, found them worthy of his teachings and wanted to raise their status in society. And women responded and loved him back. They were his devout followers, they stayed with him at the cross, they witnessed his resurrection. They should be recognized for the role  they played in his life not relegated to an ancient predetermined mindset. Women were meant to be set free from the ties that bound them to a lesser status than men. Jesus demonstrated how he wanted women to be treated and society did not respond accordingly. Men then and sometimes now can only see women in a two-dimensional way – either as the Virgin, with Mother Mary as the Archetype or as  the repentant whore the role in which Mary Magdalene was unfairly cast.

It was Jesus who gave women three-dimensionality and it was he who rejected male domination. He empowered women and gave them full status through his teaching. The erosion of that status began as soon as the Gospels were written down decades after Jesus death and it is these Gospels that represent the attitudes of men of the time not those of the teachings of Jesus. Not surprisingly,the figure who most embodies the teaching of Jesus regarding women and at the same time, the conflict over which this takes place in the Church, is that of Mary Magdalene. And yet she should be our model for the correct way to treat women, what Jesus taught, a time when women and men would take their respective places as equals.

We all need to honor Mary Magdalene and bloom.





What Mary Magdalene experienced on a vibrational level

Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, a repentant sinner as Pope Gregory proclaimed. She was a growing, emerging person as is all of humanity. Jesus brought her through the 7 centers of spirit or chakras to be able to raise the level of all of humanity with him, but starting with her. She was the yin to his yang, his other half, his completeness. That may seem revolutionary to say, but isn’t that more likely? He was born male so as close as he can come to integrating the female side of himself still results in a dominant male side. He recognized his archetype needing a corresponding female component.

What did Mary Magdalene preach in the South of France? There was no “Gospel” at that time, just the lessons she learned from Jesus. She learned the lessons of the centers of spirit or chakras,  so she could evolve to be a fully enlightened being. As a fully enlightened being she would be able to remain in contact with him after he shed his physical body. He represented pure goodness in the world, unadulterated with no need to evolve – he had already evolved. He taught her that what she thought she manifested in the physical world – in her own reality and collectively with those around her. He taught her attachment to the physical gave rise to distorted thinking and images and being out of balance created manifestations of that nature.

Jesus taught her to see the centers of spirit for what they truly were and to be in balance:

Root center of spirit: innocence and acceptance

Sacral center of spirit: Awareness of self and correct interpretation of the feelings of others

Solar Plexus: Where physical energy and creativity flow, completeness and satisfaction reside here

Heart: The bridge, compassion, love, the true self

Throat: Speaking with knowledge of interconnectivity of all things

Third Eye: Forgiveness, compassion and spiritual awakening

Crown: Connective center to spirit, integrates all centers of spirit and their associated qualities.  Mary Magdalene mastered the lower vibrational aspects of her being and was able to reside in full spiritual awareness that bodies are like seeds that are outgrown and communication beyond the physical realm is possible.

How? Thoughts, disciplining our thoughts. Loving “love” first and always, is this a loving act? Is this a loving  thought? It this compassionate? Loving “God” is loving “love”. It is the compass, the true beginning and the true ending of our existence in the physical realm. It is from this point that all reality as we know it unfolds. The greater the percentage of love, the greater the beautiful and sacred aspects of life come into being. The darker lower thoughts manifest slower vibrations creating shadow demons we waste time chasing rather than changing our perception our own thoughts.

We raise our vibration by changing the way we think. Love “love” first and you will change your perception and the world around you. The true path lies right in front of you, yo need just walk it.


Messages from Mary Magdalene: Breaking Away from Indoctrination

We need to break away from indoctrination, from old habits that have been ingrained in us over years of use and abuse imprinted on our DNA. Fear imprinted, obedience imprinted, conformity imprinted and we need to break away from that which no longer serves us, no longer feeds our spiritual development.

It is hard. We are told Christ was “obedient” and we need to be “obedient” too, to the Church and to her ways. If we don’t follow the prescribed prayer and faith formula we may be misled and fall victim to influences that are outside the Church, outside her teachings that will are lead us down a destructive path. Or will they? Have we been misled all this time by people, by men, with an agenda? By Emperors seeing the value in partnering with the Church for their power and influence being sanctioned by “God”? By power brokers of today trying desperately to hang on to their power base?

Christ was calling people – men and women – to a higher level of spirituality and communion that went beyond obedience to external regulations. His ways were new and went beyond laws imposed by the religious leaders of the time. He called all people to connect directly, to be inline with, attuned to the higher reality of living, to live beyond our perceptions. He also instructed his followers to do what is right because it was the right thing to do, not because it was the law. To heal on the Sabbath, to feed others with Sabbath bread, all against the “law” of the time, but clearly what was “right” to do. He called others to commune with outcasts, women and people of low social standing, to elevate them, treat them as friends, help them.

What if we are sitting obediently in our pews, reciting our prayers as prescribed, waiting for something to happen and being passive because we are are told that is God’s will, when we are being called to be more of an active participant? An active participant in our own spiritual development and on our own path guided by the Holy Spirit?

Mary Magdalene is called now as then to instruct and guide those who will listen, so she can lead those who “have ears to hear” directly to the path. The way of the Holy Spirit, the true Way is sweeter, more hopeful, more full of love. Leave everything behind, false indoctrination, false obedience and follow her, she was  the “Apostle to the Apostles” and she is our leader, we need to follow her now as they should have then.

Wolf Moon

Tomorrow’s wolf moon represents the wolf crying out for food in midwinter.What are we crying out for? Can we unite our cries with the wolf? Can our cries unite us to bring about the change we need to see?

The full moon is a great opportunity to shed light on what’s hidden, to bring forth something that is veiled. The night is a quiet time of introspection and the full moon gives us the opportunity to see in the dark stillness and reflect on what happening underneath the day.

I always use the time of the moon to restart and rethink. I begin by burning sage and cleansing my space, I also play music at 432hz, it releases negative energy and “tunes” and aligns us with our connection to the Holy Spirit. I often play Tibetan Harp Music at 432hz, the link is below if you would like to listen:

I go out in the night and look up at the moon and see her looking back at me. I put a clear tea pot of water out all night to absorb the light and I use it in my tea for the next month – a blessing from the moon.

Wolves represent community, bravery, creativity and spirit. Maybe we can unite ourselves with the spirit of the wolf and see what insight we can bring to our lives in the sun.

I relate Mary Magdalene to full moons, she has remained hidden, but ever present, connected to the Holy Spirit in life and afterlife. We need to look for her messages in the veiled times, they are there, just quietly abiding.