Was Mary of Egypt?
The main miracle of Mary of Egypt is sincere repentance at one moment. And it seems to me that historians cannot believe in him in the first place.
“Do you know that this was not your Mary of Egypt?” – N. even told me with some gloating.
– That is, how is it – was not? – I was surprised, recalling the textbook scene from the novel "The Master and Margarita."
– That's how! Historians have proven that it is a myth!
I cannot say that I was indignant or that my religious feelings were offended. I rather did not understand what my interlocutor was talking about. Because the image of Mary of Egypt is not just historical – it is convincing.
After all, in fact, what or about whom did the ancient old man Zosima tell us? About miracles? There is nothing beyond them. Let's start from the very beginning.
The young sinner goes to the temple and stumbles upon an invisible wall that disappears after her tearful prayer. Miracle? Are you sure? Have you ever met people with allergies to frankincense? Or afraid of evil grandmas? Or crowds? Or fainting from stuffiness, hunger, confined space – but for some reason, in the temple?
We do not know what kind of invisible force that did not let Mary into the temple. Religious feeling is difficult to describe. Rudolf Otto, a classic of religious studies, wrote about the experience of the sacred – his insignificance before the Infinite and Infinite God. What did Mary experience? Is it not a shock before the greatness of God, and is it not this shock that has overcome all external obstacles?
Go ahead. Zosima says that the ascetic knows the name and facts of his biography. Could and know. And it could have been otherwise – the monk was shocked by the spiritual strength of this woman, manifested in her very image, and felt that she saw him through and through. Again – religious experience is deeply subjective, and Zosima talks about religious experience. As I could, I described it.
What else? In the life, two cases of levitation of the desert are described – in prayer it rises above the earth, and the Jordan passes over to the old man behind the Holy Gifts as if by dry land.
And again – we know all this from the Monk Zosima. You yourself never felt that a person in the moments of exalted experiences as if soars? This "as if" is very doubtful. My inner (and failed, despite his education) religious scholar is deeply convinced that such a flash is seen by what is called "inner eyes." The strength of another's faith can be so great that those around her will feel and see it. Or sniff (the smell of peace or other incense is often described, emanating from the hands of ascetics). Or they will hear (and sometimes – angelic singing accompanying their prayer).
There is no need to worry about crossing the Jordan. Have you ever seen Jordan? In Russian, such a "full-flowing river", a rare bird will reach the middle of which is called a "stream". If a person really needs to go to the other side, he will pass this abyss in dry weather – ford; in the spring or winter (and the pre-Easter time is described in life) – those few meters in which the Jordan is taller than human growth will sail. And Mary was VERY necessary on the other side. She wanted to meet her Beloved Christ in the Sacrament of Communion.
After some time, feeling the approach of death not only spiritually, but also quite physically, Maria, exhausted by her difficult life, will leave a note about her death and will rest in peace. And Zosima will see another miracle: a lion buries her body. And there is nothing supernatural in this either. Peaceful and kind soul – why not wild beasts become tame next to it? Dogs can sit on the owner’s grave for years. Cats too. A lion is a very big cat, but a cat.
The main miracle of Mary of Egypt is sincere repentance at one moment. And it seems to me that historians cannot believe in him in the first place. What can you take from them – them and Matthew, who at one moment, at the call of Christ, threw his unclean work of “shoeing” compatriots in his favor and the occupying Romans, and a sinner with a precious world may not seem convincing.
But in vain. These are typical cases of repentance – metanoia, change of mind. It happens really instantly. Another thing is that not everyone is ready to keep this moment of truth for life. Mary of Egypt has preserved. And now, without a doubt, praying for us.
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