Mary Magdalene is perhaps one of the most controversial figures of Christianity. Indeed, considered by some as a woman with a scandalous lifestyle and by others as a great initiate, a priestess consecrated to the highest, her personality and her role with Jesus remain a mystery to many theologians.
Was Magdalene’s lifestyle scandalous?
It had to shock, no doubt. That a woman is part of a group of men, that she shares with them the life of a rabbi, that she eats with him, that she shows herself with them and with him in public (without this means that she shares her bed), all of this was provocative. Surely, the presence of this woman around Jesus did not please.
In Jerusalem, she soon created the scandal: “Barely pubescent she was light, but for four years!” reports Judas.
After her divorce, she leads a dissolute life in Magdala, in the property she inherited from her parents. She burns her life in the company of successive lovers. This permanent scandal is also reflected on Lazarus, her elder brother. He deserted his palace of Zion, in Jerusalem to take refuge in the property of their sister Martha, in Bethany. (from “The Gospel as it was revealed to me” by Maria Valtorta)
But her encounter with Jesus leads her to evolve.
From that moment she joins the group of women-disciples who periodically follow the apostolic troupe and help with their goods. Her fiery character, hitherto placed at the service of dissolute life, turns to the service of Jesus with the same intensity. She knows the stripping after wealth: “I tell you what you do not know: that all the personal possessions of Mary (sister) of Lazarus are for the servants of God and for the poor of Christ”.
Also, her role in the stories of the resurrection tends to be ignored, as seen in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. In this text, written in the 50 AD, Paul quotes a tradition about the apparitions of the risen Christ. Among the people to whom he appeared, this tradition mentions Peter (Cephas), James and all the apostles. But it does not name Mary Magdalene, who, according to all the canonical gospels, was the first witness of the resurrection of Jesus. Undoubtedly, this revelation made to a woman, posed a problem in a masculine context.
The experience that has marked her whole life is her encounter with God through Jesus, who for her was God Himself.
Certainly, without her, Jesus could never have accomplished his mission on Earth …