In the traditional or canonical gospels found in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus or Yeshua, his Aramaic name, gives us a wonderful way of looking at spirituality and how to live a truly spiritual life. There are other records of the teachings of Yeshua that were excluded from the Bible. They are referred to collectively as the Gnostic gospels. I found three: The Gospel of Phillip, The Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.
After reading all three, the first thing that struck me was that they were almost completely devoid of stories about miracles. Instead they were composed of what we might call the wisdom or sayings of Yeshua. I saw nothing heretical about them; rather, they provided additional teachings to compliment those in the Bible. The three gospels provided a great deal of food for thought concerning spirituality.
None more so than the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. It was frustrating to learn that ten of the pages are missing. Frustrating because the missing pages are adjacent to what I feel are some of the most mysterious passages. What happened to the missing pages? Were they removed by someone to withhold certain secrets of spirituality, or simply damaged or lost? What do we not know in their absence?
The first ten lines from the Gospel of Mary Magdalene that follow had an especially powerful effect on me. The six pages that preceded these passages are missing from the documents that were found.
[…] “What is matter?
Will it last forever?”
The Teacher answered:
“All that is born, all that is created,
all the elements of nature
are interwoven and united with each other.
All that is composed shall be decomposed;
everything returns to its roots;
matter returns to the origins of matter.
Those who have ears, let them hear.”
The basic ideas in these passages are not new to me, but my reaction to them was totally unexpected. When I read these lines in the gospel, it felt like primal memories buried deep in my soul came crashing forward revealing a fundamental, profound truth. The feelings were so powerful that I felt a little disoriented and confused by the effect they had on me.
These passages spoke to me on a very deep level. The words were both mysterious and wonderful. All of creation is interwoven and united—YES! All that is composed shall be decomposed—that is, all that is physical is transitory. Everything shall return to the Source.
We are drawn to the Source. It is a force of nature that transcends belief. It is that inexplicable yearning for meaning and purpose unique to the human condition. It is the search for our spirit-self and its birthplace.