Monday, March 26, 2007

Magdalene Monologue I: Luke 8:1-3

I will begin today posting a series of monologues I wrote a number of years ago from the perspective of Mary Magdalene, the patron saint of this blog. I wrote these before seminary, and they were performed in the context of worship by a wonderful local actress.

I was inspired to share these by More Cows, whose beautiful monologue from the perspective of *Martha of Bethany, is here; and by Cheesehead, who has contributed her own wonderful monologue by Mary of Bethany here. So many gifted women preachers out there... does the church know how blessed it is?

* corrected post; originally I incorrectly identified the persona in MC's monologue as Mary of Bethany. My apologies!


Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

Magdalene Monologue: Luke 8:1-3

They said this of me: "She has cracked," they said. Like an egg thrown at a wall. The smooth comfort of the home that was my own mind, gone. Instead, bits of what-was-me splattered, scattering, running down the wall and into the waste pile. Sharp-edged fragments lost in the dusty roads that run through my village.

I do not remember, you understand-- could not re-member my smashed and scattered self, even after I was once again, as if by the deepest magic, restored and whole. My mother had to tell me. She did not want to. "No, it is over. Forget if you can." But I demanded the details.

... lying in the alleys moaning, head uncovered, insects in my hair.

... screeching obscenities at the priests in their processions.

... following the children to their places of play, scuttling along in the dust like a crab, flinging back the stones they threw in fear.

... tearing my clothes and rolling in the dung.

... drawing a picture on my arm with my father's finest knife.

These things I do not remember. My mother had to tell me.

She told me also of the band of drifters, with their wandering sage. She told me this as the mists parted, and I awakened on her bed to find the last signs of my madness being bathed away. How he found me, frothing like a dog that ought to be drowned, filthy and grinning, chasing women from the well with my stench. How he studied me until I-- I returned his gaze, and then tried to run. How with his words-- words heard only by me, for no one else would come near-- he captured me and I paused in my flight. And how-- there were thirty or more witnesses, so this is true-- he touched me. He laid his hand upon my head and said one healing word.

Some say, I screamed a deafening scream, and they saw seven demons fly out of my mouth. Or that I writhed on the ground until they thought I was dead. Or that the old demons were replaced with a new one. But my mother tells me otherwise. She tells me that I stood still for a very long time. And people lost their interest and wandered away. And that eventually he turned back to his strange fishy smelling band and walked on through town. And that I quietly, very quietly asked a woman standing off at a small distance, "Are you my mother?" And that she, my mother, took me in her arms and led me home.

Within a day, a week, a month, I was once again smooth and round and whole, like an egg. And I collected a few things and set forth from my mother's house. I was clean and dressed as befits a woman of my station, with a bundle of large coins in my purse. And I walked down the same road, in search of the sage and his companions, so that I too might learn to heal.

"Woman, be healed."

"Woman, you are whole."

He said this to me. I say this to you.

Copyright 1995.


Alex said...

I am looking at the same beautiful icon, framed on my desk. Thank you for these words. Peace, Alex

more cows than people said...

dear mags... thanks for the compliment, but my monologue is from the perspective of martha of bethany... martha who doesn't get enough credit in my opinion, that's the only reason I bother to mention it. i don't have time to read this fully now, but will soon, i promise. much love, more cows

Magdalene6127 said...

Yikes! I am so embarrassed by that error. I am correcting my intro; so sorry MC.

Love, Mags

Iris said...

Thank You.

Amy said...


Cynthia said...

Oh, I loved this.

steve said...

I loved the description of "brokenness" (possibly mental illness?), and the transforming moment when Magdalene is set free -- how the release from brokenness is not the end of the story, but her beginning.

Wonderfully written and deeply moving. Thank you, dear Mags.

more cows than people said...

no biggie mags... thanks for posting this... looking forward to what follows... this is powerful.

Magdalene6127 said...

Thank you all so much for reading and commenting. More to follow...


Grandmère Mimi said...

Mags, very powerful. Broken, wounded, we're all of a bit of a mess and in need of the healing word and the healing touch.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for posting such a beautiful lyrical monologue from her perspective. there are so many Mary Magdalene monologues on the internet that don't really say anything at all. this one took my breath away.