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Mary Magdalene: thoughts on her feast day

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Today 22 July is the feast day of St Mary Magdalene.

I love this image of a detail of a mosaic in the Resurrection Chapel in Washington National Cathedral, D.C in the USA. It shows Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Jesus Christ.

Mary Magdalene has been the subject of so much speculation, denigration, imagination and admiration over the last 2000 years, it's hard to sort truth from legend and fiction. I prefer to stick to what the 4 Gospels in the New Testament tell us about her and also notice what they do not tell us.

Here is who Mary Magdalene was not:Mary Magdale was not one of the other Marys in the New Testament e.g. Mary mother of Jesus or Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus of Bethany.Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, although she has been portrayed as such.Mary Magdalene was almost certainly not the anonymous sinful woman who annointed Jesus' feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee.Mary Magdalene was not Jesus' wife or mother of his child.Mary Magdalene was not the wo…

Eternal Trinity

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Eternal Trinity,
you are a deep sea,
into which the more we enter the more we find,
and the more we find the more we seek.
The soul ever hungers in your abyss,
longing to see you with the light of your light and,
as the deer yearns for the springs of water,
so our souls yearn to see you in truth. Amen

Catherine of Sienna

Image Credit: Philip Barrington on Pixabay, CC License

10 Years of Blogging

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Are personal blogs dead? Some people think so. This blog has been through several near death and resuscitation experiences, over the last 10 years. Yes, this month marks 10 years since I started my Seeker blog in May 2009. When I began, I had no idea what I was doing, not much idea of why I was doing it and no expectation of continuing beyond a few months.

As someone committed to life-long learning, I enjoy learning new skills. There are some things you can only learn by doing, cycling, swimming, marrying, praying, growing old - to name a few. 10 years ago, learning how to set up and use a blog was both easier and harder than expected. Clicking 'publish' on that 1st post was a leap in the dark. I had no idea where it might take me. That 1st post had no image, was only 77 words long. I assumed it would be of no interest to anyone else. At that stage I simply wanted to lurk in the 'blogosphere' for a bit while I worked out how my blog would work. I wanted to master floati…

Contemplating Julian of Norwich

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'Julian of Norwich' (not her real name) is commemorated today in the Church of England.

In 1373, an unnamed 30-year old Englishwoman, had a visionary experience during severe illness. After recovering, she meditated on what she had seen, writing first a brief account and later a series of deeper theological reflection, “Revelations of Divine Love”, believed to be the first book written by a woman in English.

We call that unnamed woman Julian of Norwich because by 1394 until at least 1416, she lived as an “anchoress”, in a cell attached to the church of St Julian, in Norwich. One of her cell windows opened into the church so she could share in worship. The other opened onto a street so people could come to her to seek her prayer and spiritual wisdom. In that cell she received more visions and contemplated God’s grace and love.

She lived in really hard times, which makes her emphasis on God’s love all the more remarkable. In Norwich in the late 14th century, the plague killed perha…

Ash Wednesday: grateful for ash

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Why am I grateful for ash today? It isn't something for which I usually feel gratitude.
Ash sometimes feels like a nuisance. I think of ash in a fireplace that has to be cleared out. Or ash carelessly dropped from a cigarette.
Ash sometimes makes me feel sad. I think of the ash that was the last mortal remains of my parents and grandparents.
Ash is certainly not something I usually use to decorate my body. I have never repented or grieved in sackcloth and ashes in the literal way I read about in the Hebrew scriptures.
So, why today will I welcome an imposition of ash on my forehead, accompanied by the words, 'Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return'?It's hardly designed to cheer anyone up on a cloudy and wet Wednesday morning. Why is it good to be told you are going to die, that you are not immortal? Because I know it is true, but need to be jolted into facing up to that truth from time to time.
For Christians, today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a seas…