St. Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene is a religious figure in Christianity. She has been called the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She was present at Jesus' two most important moments: the crucifixion and the resurrection. Mary wasn't always a follower of Jesus up until later in her life. Mary Magdalene that lives in our memories is quite different. In art, she's often semi-naked, or an isolated hermit repenting for her sins in the wilderness: an outcast. Her primary link with Jesus is as the woman washing and anointing his feet. But we know her best as a prostitute. The whole story of Mary as a prostitute, who is fallen and redeemed, is a very powerful image of redemption a signal that no matter how low one has fallen, one can be redeemed. Powerful as this image may be, it is not the story of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene is mentioned in each of the four gospels in the New Testament, but not once does it mention that she was a prostitute or a sinner. At some point Mary Magdalene became confused with two other women in the Bible: Mary, the sister of Martha, and the unnamed sinner from Luke's gospel (7:36-50) both of whom wash Jesus' feet with their hair. In the 6th Century, Pope Gregory the Great made this assumption official by declaring in a sermon that these three characters were actually the same person: Mary Magdalene, repentant saint. The Catholic Church did later declare that Mary Magdalene was not the penitent sinner, but this was not until 1969. After so long the reputation still lingers. Not only has Mary been marked as a prostitute, she allegedly had the devil come out at her 7 times. “Could anything else in Mary's life have made her an outcast? The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary.” (Luke 8:2) At that time, people believed that the demons possessed people who had done something wrong, and...
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