Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday of Holy Week

This is from Women of the Passion, A Journey to the Cross, which I wrote some years ago for a women's retreat. This is Mary Magdalene speaking.


V: And I know if my grief were a river.

R: The whole earth would drown.


I watch them stretch his naked body out on the cross. Even in this moment of complete vulnerability, he is magnificent! As I look at him through eyes blurred with tears, he is no longer just one man, but seems instead to embody all of suffering humankind. Could any human endure such a burden?

I would die in his place without a moment’s regret. That they should touch one hair on that adored head, hurt one inch of that beloved body, sickens me with grief and rage. I have loved him forever, it seems, even though I met him only three years ago, when he was teaching near my home in Magdala. I knew from the moment we first spoke that he had loved me from before I was born. I would have loved him even if he had not cured me of my affliction, taken from me that deep-seated sadness that had clouded my days ever since I had achieved menarche. For me, becoming a woman had meant confinement in a prison of sadness. I seemed always to walk in darkness. I yearned to end this soul-eating pain.

Then I met him, and the sun rose in my life. With a glance he removed the pall of sadness that had dragged my life in the dust. With a touch he lifted me into a realm of spiritual brightness that dazzled my eyes and delighted my soul.

He called me “beloved disciple,” and when the inevitable rumors began, I went crying to him. He gentled my tears away and said, “Mary, feel my hand on your face. I am touching the image of God. Nothing they say can change that, not in my eyes, and certainly not in the eyes of the One who made you.

“And know this,” he said. “Though they may try, they will never be able to cast you into the darkness. My peace is upon you forever.”

“My peace is upon you forever . . . ” I cling to those words as they stretch him out upon that dreadful cross. I brush tears from my eyes, and see more clearly what they are about to do. Oh Holy One, help us! They are nailing him to the cross!

I turn to shield his mother from the sight, but it is too late. She lets out a low guttural sound, like that of woman in labor. I put my arm around her shoulders, and feel her slight body shudder with every blow of that accursed hammer.

When they pull the cross upright and drop it into a hole in the rock, I think the jolt will tear his arms from his body. And for a terrible interminable time we wait, as he slowly weakens. Finally I hear him give himself to his father. Without looking, I know he is gone from me.

And I know if my grief were a river, the whole earth would drown.

1 comment:

Elena M. Cambio said...

This is beautiful and heart-wrenching. Thank you for posting this.