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Just One Thing To Do This Week: Marvel At The Wonder In All Things

on September 8, 2017 - 8:01am

By MARY BETH MAASSEN
Los Alamos

“Well,” I whisper quietly into Helen’s ear. “What do you think? Is that a man or a woman?”

The tears that blurred my vision a few moments earlier are drying. The palpitations of my heart thumping hard in my chest are easing as well. I sigh and take a deep breath, exhaling slowly. Then another. She does the same.

Together, we stare, bewildered. Together, we consider the long reddish hair that disappears beneath the pink shawl, the slim forlorn white face, and the thin, pale hands. The figure is leaning away from their supposed husband.

“I don’t know,” she replies. “It really looks like a woman to me. But if your husband had just announced he was going to be betrayed and killed by someone at the dinner table, don’t you think you would be reaching out to him or holding him?” She asks, without taking her eyes from the mural.

“Yeah, I don’t know.” I say. “I could go either way. But I always thought at this moment, standing here, looking for myself, I would know for sure. And now, I just can’t tell…”

My dear friend Helen and I had traveled to Milan specifically to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s depiction of The Last Supper.  As we planned our trip, it had grown to a nearly month long tour of Northern Italy. But viewing the Last Supper was the highlight of the trip for me.

As much as I like to think I am an independent, critical thinker, like many others I had been struck by the Dan Brown’s book “The Da Vinci Code” and I found some of his theories—fiction or not—to be thought-provoking.

Many years before his book, I had read the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Her words still bring me great comfort and they perfectly reflect my personal beliefs.

As I envision her role during the time of Christ I’ve always wanted her to receive more recognition, and be given more credibility than what the mainstream church and the patriarchal versions of the Bible had allowed. I wanted to see for myself, I wanted to see if she was there, at The Last Supper.

The moment we walked into the dining hall at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and saw the massive 30 foot mural I was awestruck. My eyes instantly filled with tears, my heart raced and I could hear it beating, I couldn’t speak, I could barely breathe. Helen turned to me, and from the look on her face I knew she felt the same. The feelings were so overwhelming and unexpected.

So, who sat at the right hand of Jesus? Was it the Apostle John? Or was it Mary Magdalene?


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