John 12:1–8, Nurture Your Inner Mary

Verse 5, 8: [Judas said] “Why was this perfume not sold for thirty pounds and given to the poor?” [Jesus said] “Let her keep it till the day when she prepares for my burial; for you have the poor among you always, but you will not always have me.”

How often we can be like Judas! We get focused and fixated on the value of the material realm to the detriment of honoring the Divine Within. Outer needs and other’s demands can take priority while we ignore our inner desire to relish in the presence of the Inner Divine Spirit. Considered symbolically, today’s Scripture offers an image of an inner dynamic with which we all struggle.

In the story, Mary is anointing the feet of Jesus with oil and wiping them with her hair. What a beautiful image of love! Mary extends her self, her libido/life force, and her resources (oil) to connect with Jesus. She does not seem shy or embarrassed about her desire or feeling. No matter how non-rational her actions may seem to others, Mary expresses her passion for Jesus.

Mary symbolizes the receptive and magnetic energy within us that nurtures and treasures the expressions of our souls. We experience this energy when we feel ardor (being drawn towards something) and we act. In the moments of knowing and feeling the presence of God Within, this part of us instinctively moves to connect to the Self. This part of us prompts us to take the time, energy, and resources to actively value, honor, and relate to the Inner Divine. This part of us listens to the “still small voice of God” throughout our normal daily activities and helps us pause to connect.

When our inner Mary shows up, the following kinds of things may happen. We take time out of a busy day to feel the beauty of nature and offer a prayer of gratitude. We let go of the set schedule or agenda so we can share a cup of tea with a friend. We may even allow ourselves a creative expression (dance, art, woodworking, baking, movement) instead of pushing through the “to do” list. Whatever the action, we choose to move in a way that relates to and honors God Within.

Judas represents the outer-focused, rational attitude that does not see beyond surface appearances and externally determined value. When we dismiss feelings, (gut) knowing, and passion, our inner “Judas” is at work. We lose sight of and connection to the Self/God Within as we value only the outer world and necessities of survival. We have no room for joyous, playful expression of our libido/life force. We deem passions that connect us to the Divine wasteful and selfish (as they are the poor and needy)! Our focus stays with lack. We miss the opportunity to know in our gut the presence of the Divine.

Jesus’ response can serve as a guiding principle for meeting our inner Judas and Mary. In the historical context, we know that Jesus was referencing his impending death. Symbolically, for our inner world and felt experiences, he states a truth about our experience while in the body. We have moments of feeling we are in the presence of the Divine, but the feeling does not last forever.

When we have a conscious awareness of the Divine, we need to tend it by taking time to focus, relate, and treasure the knowing. Through our spiritual disciplines, we seek to strengthen and increase the frequency and conscious knowing of the presence of the Self/God Within.

Inner Reflection
Where has your inner “Judas” been interfering with connecting with the Self/God Within? How do you stop yourself from living the connection to your soul? Where do you feel the love and desire (that Mary symbolizes) for your own Inner Divine? Open to knowing in an embodied way the presence of God Within.