Feast of Disciple Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

By Janet Blakeley, ARCWP

Our hearts are burning to bring you the essence of our recent ARCWP retreat – to impart something of the experience to you. But where to begin!?! I thought of going through today’s liturgy to look for main ideas. I didn’t make it past the opening prayer. That one sentence is packed with learning for us if we contemplate it. “Holy One, we celebrate You within us and within creation as we live your loving presence by working for justice, equality and inclusivity each day in the world.”

“Holy One” has become an acceptable name for those whose understanding of “God” has expanded beyond “God in the Sky” or even “God of the Universe”. It can serve to name the God who not only created everything but who continues to create – whose essence can be uncovered within everything. A God who doesn’t contradict scientific findings but who enlarges our scientific understanding. A God whom scientists can talk about as they recognize the mystery of the beginnings of the universe and whom they theorize created and is creating – even now – other universes. A God who encompasses us, our universe and more, and who is encompassed by us. A name that works even for those who have not encountered the One We Love but who seek something beyond themselves.

Is there anything wrong with the name “God”? No! But when we sit before the awesomeness of our God, the name doesn’t always convey enough of what we feel and see. Sr. Claire Labbee, CSJ. Used to say, “Well, there’s God, and then there’s (arms stretching way out) G-uah-ah-d!” In silence we come to know that our God is everything we know and everything we don’t know and still is our God. We can search for names and dream up names and still they are totally inadequate. We keep trying because each attempt makes us dig deeper and peer more deeply into the Divine. Today, the name “Holy One” speaks for some people – maybe you.

The next words of the opening prayer make us question ourselves. “We celebrate you”. Do we? Do we open our hearts and eyes to SEE this God, and then celebrate what we find?! If we don’t, we cannot BE God in the world because we don’t KNOW God. But the Divinity found within every single thing is waiting there, poised to be seen and celebrated!

If we have seen this Divinity, how do we celebrate? By joyfully BEING the living, breathing, loving presence of Holiness in the world. We ARE justice. We ARE equality. We ARE inclusivity – each day in the world.

Richard Rohr pondered all this just a few days ago. He said he thought a person really could not call herself a Christian if she did not KNOW the Christ within her. Because to be a Christian is to BE Christ. Not imitate, but BE.

This simple opening prayer gives us our questions for today. If we are to BE GOD, we have to first KNOW GOD who is hidden within each of us.

  • Why does Divinity hide itself?
  • What do I have to do to find it?
  • Have I ever found it?
  • What is it like?
    What we have talked about today may seem unrelated to Mary Magdalene. But the wondrous, expansive God we explored is the God of Jesus, the one Mary Magdalene loved. Next week we will look at this same Divinity found in the Man, Jesus.