We could go just about anywhere with today’s readings. The reading from Genesis is the beginning of a poignant tales about the patriarch Joseph and his family. I picture Joseph as a little nerd who throws his dreams and importance into the faces of his siblings. Of course, he is his father’s favorite and has a bright multi-colored cloak to draw further attention to himself. Enter sibling rivalry and jealousy. The meanest among the brothers want to murder him thus continuing the Cain-Abel pattern—destroy those whom you do not like. Since we will see more of this saga as it unfolds into Egypt, we will leave it at this time.
There are two levels in the parable of the unjust stewards. Obviously, Jesus is warning the Pharisees and other leaders that they will lose their dibs on the kin-dom if they persist in killing prophets—a grim prediction of his own murder at their hands. This is the first and obvious meaning. We always kill the prophets and the poets—as Merton said—because they speak the truth we do not wish to hear. Away with them. They shall not discomfort us. We are comfortable with the status quo in our cozy empire!
Reading Andrew Harvey’s The Return of the Mother and Virgil Elizando’s Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation, I see another level to the story. In patriarchal societies, we kill the Mother Goddess or, at least, relegate her to inferior status in the divine pantheon. The Catholic Church, which reduced Mary Magdalene to a prostitute to lessen her status as Jesus’ companion and the first apostle of the resurrection, has warned us that we venerate Mary but do not adore her. We thus lessen her status as Queen of Heaven and Mother Goddess. Harvey contends that Mary is the Mother Goddess representing all that is feminine in the Godhead. Try to get your head around this. Wow! Mary, the Mother, is “announcing the possibility of a direct relationship [does not need to be mediated through a hierarchal patriarchy] with the ground of God and humankind’s becoming divine in this life” (Harvey, 393). Harvey goes on to say:
Christ came to destroy, dissolve, and end patriarchy. But to protect itself, the patriarchy took the glory of Christ’s passion and his sacrifice, and made a “Church” around it, thereby entombing and shutting off forever the violence and the beauty of the outrageously radical vision he had come to give the world. By imprisoning Mary in the golden cage of adoration and by turning Christ in to a god, the church ensured that the naked demands of the sacred feminine—for a world transformed into the living image of love and justice—would be muffled and castrated, and so continued to crucify Christ again and again and to act as a screen against his force permeating and transforming the world. (391)
Jesus got his feminine heart from his Mother—peace, love, justice, mercy and compassion. These virtues are usually not attributed to males, especially in patriarchy which represents power, control, preservation of the status quo and domination.
Speaking of Mary, Harvey comments:
Any unbiased reading of the Magnificat makes clear, Mary was on the side of the marginalized, the defeated, the scorned, and the poor in a very unmetaphorical sense. The pure eyes of her love saw the misery of the world without any consolation, precisely because they also saw the total holiness of all created things and the plan of the divine love that the Father-Mother had willed for creation. (353)
Eliazondo contends that the Virgin of Guadalupe is so powerful a presence in the Americas because, the Mother of the New Creation, turned things around. The Virgin refers to Juan Diego as “My dignified one.” The Mother bestows status and dignity on Juan who before had thought of himself in this way:
Because in reality I am one of your campesinos, a piece of rope, a small ladder, the excrement of people: I am a leaf, they order me around, lead me by force; and you, my most abandoned Daughter, my Child, my Lady, and my Queen, send me to a place where I do not belong. (10)
Juan represents the conquered mestizos, victims of the violent conquest by the conquistadors. Mary sends Juan to a place of dignity in her son’s kin-dom.The Virgin is so powerful because she also brought about the conversion of the conquistadors. The patriarchal bishop of Mexico City obeyed her order to build a sanctuary in the hinterlands of the conquered campesinos. Do not miss the transformation here—a conquering patriarch obeys the command of a native woman, The Virgin. Oppressors and their victims now have the possibility to be transformed because of the Mother of the New Creation that spawned at Guadalupe. Both sides returned to the Mother and, the words of St. Bernard were made real, “Remember, O Most Holy Virgin, that is never was heard in any age that anyone turning to your protection was abandoned.” Mary told the children at Fatima, The greatest sin is to revel against the Motherhood of God, and to refuse to recognize me as the Mother of all human beings.” (Why did we not hear about this statement instead of all the condemnations of Communist Russia?) John Paul I said, “God is our father, and above all God is our Mother.”
Mary is our Mother Goddess. She embodies the Motherhood of God in her person—mercy, compassion, justice. Merton wrote in Hagia Sophia:
O blessed, silent one, who speaks everywhere!
We do not hear the soft voice, the gentle voice, the
merciful and feminine.
We do not hear mercy, or yielding love, or non-resistance,
or non-reprisal. In her there are no reasons and no answers.
Yet she is the candor of God’s light, the expression of His
We do not hear the uncomplaining pardon that bows
down the innocent visages of flowers to the dewy
earth. We do not see the Child who is prisoner in all
the people, and who says nothing. She smiles, for
though they have bound her, she cannot be a prisoner.
Not that she is strong, or clever, but simply that
she does not understand imprisonment.
The helpless one, abandoned to sweet sleep, him the
gentle one will awake: Sophia.
Mary is Sophia, the Mother of the New Creation, the incarnation of the Divine Feminine.
As the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mary represents the return of the divine feminine.