Cynthia Bourgeault on Mary Magdalene #4

This post was originally published in Christopher Page’s blog, In A Spacious Place.

March 18 – 22, 2011: Poet’s Cove Resort on Pender Island BC, Canada – Contemplative Retreat with Cynthia Bourgeault

It is not our responsibility to improve the spiritual journey; this is because we think we are separated. Just stay present – be here now, curious, and open.

 The ego thinks the journey is a steeple chase (don’t like the word journey as it implies we have to get somewhere). Trying to control and improve is exhausting.

Bennett quote from “Resurrection” – 
Everyone who begins to study and know their own states is well aware that our experience is a constant dying and rebirth. We must not be frightened as we come to see this, although it really is a terrifying thing that we have no power to hold our life; that it has to be renewed or given back to us by something that does not come from ourselves.

 But even when we do see the helplessness with which we fall into oblivion, at that moment when we are most trying to hold onto ourselves, we must learn to trust that there is something that calls us back. And if it calls us back from sleep at night, it will call us back from that other sleep into which we shall enter, the sleep of death.

 ie. we have no control; we constantly lose ourselves. Ask who is it that calls us back?

We are always looking in the wrong places. We see loss of control as a failure. Trust the voice that is calling us back. The big things are not in our control anyway.

The Holy Saturday Vigil: least developed in terms of church liturgy.

The Vigil of the Heart of the Earth – the liminal space between tragedy and triumph. 
Jesus descended into the heart of the earth – earlier translation later became hell.

Traditionally guilt has been placed on Adam. Understood individually – someone screwed up, someone has to pay.

 Need to look at this cosmologically. Why is this creation here? Why did all this happen? And why are we in the midst of this? Why this way and not another? “

I was a hidden treasure and I loved (longed) to be known so I created the worlds visible and invisible.”

The only way you will be known is by taking the risk of loving.

 We yearn deep within ourselves for self-disclosure – to take off the veils. This can only happen through love.

 The heart’s desire is to know and be known.

Michael Brown says we say we want truth but what we really desire is intimacy.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God? What is most real in us?

 What is the primordial ache that moves everything from nothingness to something? 

What is the reason for all the realms? Paul’s mansions. Each realm is an individual expression speaking forth in love, God’s heart.

Tradition says that something is wrong with the creation.  Wilber says this is a gross plane – not value laden. This creation is dense, not messed up. We bear some residual memory of conditions that were less dense. We come under the law of time and gravity. This comes with rules. You can’t go back. Mistakes are made. These are the conditions of density. (molecules come together to form objects that require insurance policies.) 
Great traditions tend to dump on this – sin/maya – not the right way to go. Our conditions are perfect for manifesting a quality of the divine heart.

Constriction applied to love/ending/choice/fidelity/steadfastness/ Eucharistic love = the capacity to have your heart broken without going to bitterness.

 Preciousness comes from finality – this moment will not be forever. Love is tough here so it has a special kind of sweetness that is important to the heart of God. “For God so loved etc”

 How do we live in this world that is set up to break our hearts? We sometimes give up, numb out because it is so difficult. This is where Jesus comes in.

Jesus reaches out to the very brokenness of the human situation. We need help. 

How do we do this? Some people just focus on the light. Don’t like John’s “in him there is no darkness”. Can’t collapse the dualism. Infuse the situation with love by holding the opposites.


to order “Through Holy Week with Mary Magdalene” CD of this address see:

1 reply
  1. Holly Galgano
    Holly Galgano says:

    Would like to commend a book to you about Mary Magdalene for your reading.
    I found it “earth-shatteringly” profound, at least it shook the ground of my theological
    earth. “Anna, Grandmother of Jesus,” by Claire Heartsong.
    It is a ‘channeled’ piece of literature, so may or may not be true (it reads ‘true’ to me).
    Either way, it paints images of the women of the New Testament in rich and deep detail.
    It frankly has changed my personal ‘Christology’, and I feel especially compelled to honor
    Mary Magdalene, the ‘first apostle’ and perhaps the even Divine Feminine.
    BLessing to you for honoring her memory as well.
    The Rev. Deacon Holly Galgano

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