Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 13

This chapter picks up another three months down the line, so Mary is six months pregnant and St. John the Forerunner has been born and is three months old.

Joseph returns home from where ever he has been building houses. I know some might think, 'hey, wait, how's he gone for six months? isn't he just a carpenter?' True. But keep in mind that there's no modern transportation. People walked everywhere. If they were lucky they had a donkey or a horse to ride, but most of the time they hoofed it. Settlements and cities are separated by large distances, even in small countries. Joseph had to go where there was work, and he had to walk there, stay and complete the project and then walk home. It's not so crazy when you think about it that way.

He comes back and finds Mary very, very pregnant. Joseph strikes himself in the face, dresses in sackcloth and weeps, throwing himself to the ground. He cries out, "How can I lift up my face to the Lord God? What prayer can I make about this girl? I received her as a virgin from the temple of the Lord, and I have not protected her. Who has deceived me? Who did this evil in my house, and defiled the virgin? Is not the history of Adam repeated in me? In the very house of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone - the same has happened to me."

Joseph blames himself for not guarding Mary well enough so that some 'snake' snuck into the 'garden'. *waggles eyebrows*

He rises and asks Mary why she has betrayed God. Why she has humiliated her soul and forgotten all that God has done for her?

Mary, weeping, swears to God that she has done no wrong. That no man has touched her.

Of course Joseph asks, basically, well then how'd *that* happen?

Mary responds that she doesn't know how it happened. She doesn't understand how the baby came to be in her womb. The author's note holds that "An element of Mary's tradition holds that she did not try to explain or justify her condition. Instead she 'kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Luke 2:19), keeping private her experience of a mystery that is fundamentally inexpressible."

But I was thinking. Maybe she really meant that she didn't understand how the pregnancy had happened, mechanically speaking. She knows that the angel (Gabriel) told her that she would be overshadowed and bear a child, but not in the manner of all women. And so it was. But *how*? She has no idea. All she knows it that it did not happen in the normal fashion.

Not as poetic or meaningful a thought, but I find it interesting.


  1. Yes, what you say IS interesting. I remember reading a book declaring the Holy Spirit essentially raped Mary. :-/

    I love the waggles eyebrow sentence. I literally laughed out loud!

    Keep that snake outta the garden! Ha! You're too cute!

  2. Wha-? REALLY? REALLY? I don't even. WHAT?

    That's just messed up. Even if, in some insane alternate reality where GOD, who is the ultimate and absolute definition of good was capable of performing an evil, which is all that rape is, Mary gave consent. The Annunciation was a choice. If Mary hadn't said 'let it be done to me according to you will', she would not have borne Christ. So...yeah. I'm left with, WHAT?

    Hee. Irreverent brain powers, activate! I couldn't help myself with that snake/garden reference.

  3. On the Holy Spirit raping Mary - That was one of the interpretations of a movie we watched in a class I took. It's called Agnes of God, and it's about a nun who gives birth (and accidentally kills the baby) w/o understanding what happened. She doesn't know how babies are made, is scared of her period because she thinks it must be sinful, and swears when they try to explain it to her that she has never been with a man. Weird stuff.

    The interpretation of Genesis, where it's Adam's fault for leaving Mary alone, is interesting. Is it weird that I find it sort of more sexist? :D But at least it sort of spreads out the blame.

  4. Huh. That sounds like an interesting movie. *makes note of it*

    No, you finding that explanation of Genesis more sexist isn't weird at all. After all, it basically says that women either can't be trusted on their own or are too weak to resist/defend themselves at all, ever. Without her big strong man to tell her right from wrong or take out the threat, she's easy prey. So no, not weird. But yeah, at least there's no 'It's all Eve's fault!' there.


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