Christly wisdom is a tree of life, whose truth is lived as way and whose way of life is union of spirit and truth. There is here a union of truth and way, lived as wisdom’s tree of timeless life. The Name is way, truth and life, divine life being the union of truth, discerned in theoria, and way, lived as praxis of turning, metanoia. Glory unveils life as union of truth and way.
When Mary Magdalene stood with Christ at the foot of the cross and alone with him beside the closed tomb, she was one spirit with his spirit and so saw deeply into the mystery of Holy Saturday, his descent into hell (Odes of Solomon 42). Her seven demons had been cast out by him and so he had opened a way to the truth of the tree of life for her through him. Seven demons guarded hell’s seven gates but she passes with him through them all into seven heavens. In Mary’s vision, as we read of it in her Gospel, the tree of life as truth and way had seven branches. Just as seven days of the week open to an eighth day, which is not in time, so the tree of life has an eighth branch, which is not a branch but a crown of glory. Seven mythic demons guarded the gates of each branch but when Christ passed through each of the seven gates, the seven hells over which each demon presided opened into seven heavens. God never created demons or hells but created angels in their spiritual realms. When some angels fell into confusion by losing remembrance of God they became demons who reign in hells that are inverted heavens. When Christ descended into hell to raise the dead from confusion, he healed division, inverting demonic inversion by restoring seven hells to seven heavens.
In the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and in the Gospel of the Beloved Companion if it is genuine, a visionary glimpse of the tree of life has survived that helps perhaps to explain the many sevens in the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. Her union with him in his death is a union with him in his resurrection, opening up mysteries of glory that remain hidden until the tree’s crown of glory is experienced by her in her glorification, her participation in the glory that glorified Christ. Her therapeutic experience of his healing of her seven demons turns out to be the revelatory key that unlocked the union of his suffering and his glorification, mysteriously reflected, perhaps, in the many sevens concealed but revealed in the Gospel of John.
The Fourth Gospel bequeathed a theologia crucis, which was a theologia gloriae, to the whole Church, unveiling the mystery of glorification on the basis of illumination rooted in purification. The witness of the Beloved Disciple, whose identity remains hidden, lies at the heart of the Gospel of John, transmitting the wisdom of glory to all. Mary’s function as Apostle to the apostles, witnessing in all four Gospels to the glory of his resurrection, perhaps also inspired her function as prophetic witness to his glorious dethronement of demon powers in his healing Kingdom. She transmits his therapeutic alchemy to the whole Church, hidden in her union with him, perhaps as his Beloved Disciple, perhaps not, known and yet perhaps not known beneath the different layers of redaction that constitute the Fourth Gospel. She is present yet hidden in the Book of Revelation, where his Bride is revealed to be the whole Church, the renewed sanctuary of SHALOM, Great Peace, the New Jerusalem, in all her glorious yet mysterious wholeness.
The kenosis of Christ does not stop with him but was lived by his Beloved Disciple who bore witness to its glory in self-emptying love, concealed as an anonymous male whose function is perhaps to legitimate her apostolic witness for a long era of Patriarchal Christianity. What her witness to his tree of life will unveil, through the Spirit of Truth, now that some of her long forgotten texts have been rediscovered, has yet to be unveiled, but her witness to his resurrection has always been the way of his hallowed Name at the heart of Hesychasm in every generation. She was freed of demons of judgment and wrath, ignorance and intolerance, duplicity and arrogance, sensuality and fear, so that with her Beloved she rose into realms of love, compassion, wisdom and understanding, then realms of dignity, humility, strength and courage. In stillness she experienced the clarity and truth of hallowed self-awareness which finally silenced the chattering din of the world. Stillness opened her to the uncreated energy of holy healing and to the uncreated light of wisdom and glory in the Holy Spirit.
Filled with fierce joy, Mary rose as fire into flaming grace in the beauty of the Spirit’s discernment. She vanishes into wisdom, Lady of Light, clothed with the Sun, in whose light everything vanishes into light. Freed from the world, she saw through the delusions of oblivious forgetfulness, beholding glory in the midst through the radiant remembrance of God. Knowing the truth of self she saw the truth of all. Christ gave Mary the name Migdalah, Miryam Migdalah, tower of truth, consummating, perhaps, her completion of his witness to completeness as the Apostle to the apostles. His tree of life is crowned with the glory which embraces her as truth and way. She is certainly the apostolic witness to the revelation of his resurrection, which as truth, illumines seers, and as way, glorifies the saints in every generation. Wisdom eternally abides where his rest in stillness abides, at the heart of her glory which crowns the tree of life.