Christian doctrine tells us that Jesus saved us through his dying and rising, transmuting the “sin” of humanity through his sacrifice, thereby eliminating the separation between humanity and God. Whether or not we literally believe this to be true (personally, I have another idea of how Jesus “saves”), it is a metaphor that has informed and formed the development of Western civilization and that of any other culture touched by its influence. As a culture that has embraced sacrifice and death as the way to salvation, we have entirely missed the point of the human experience – the point being the human experience itself. In focusing only on sacrifice and death, we have forgotten how to live.
If Jesus saved us through his sacrifice, death and resurrection,
Mary Magdalene saves us through her living.
Enter Mary Magdalene. If Jesus saved us through his sacrifice, death and resurrection, Mary Magdalene saves us through her living. She lived the fullness of the human experience and unlike Jesus, was not released from her suffering by death. She suffered the pain of abuse, rejection, condemnation, ridicule, trauma, loss, homelessness, expulsion, banishment, and every other form of human pain. Death did not relief her of her suffering. Instead, she had to find a path through the suffering and to the liberation that was waiting on the other side of the challenge. In finding her way through the suffering, Mary was healed and transformed, growing in strength and courage because of her ability to find her way through the suffering. Mary Magdalene provides for us an example of human resilience. We do not worship her for her martyrdom, for she did not die for anyone’s sin. Instead, we see in her the way to make it through the inherent challenges of the human experience while paving the way for others to do the same.
Saving the World through Our Living
This is the call of the Magdalene – especially for those called into her service. We are not here to save others through our death. We are here to save ourselves and provide an example for others while transmuting the very path itself. This is the “magic” of the Magdalene priesthood. When we allow ourselves to be fully present to the challenges that life will hand us and use the tools we have been given to find our way through those challenges, we are strengthened, we grow in courage, we are healed of our wounds and we are transformed. In this transformation, we are better able to enjoy the sublime moments of life – appreciating the beauty and wonder, finding joy in the simple things, embracing the ecstasy of love, reveling in the banquet of life. We learn how to love, how to find peace, contentment and joy. And we are changed. As we are changed, and so are all those around us – our friends and loved ones, our family, and every single person we meet along the way. Through the example of the Magdalene and the tools she left behind, we learn how to live and in learning how to live we are saved and the whole world with us.