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Margery Kemp's Interactions With The Virgin Mary

1062 words - 4 pages

Margery Kemp's Interactions with The Virgin Mary

According to her own testimony, Margery Kempe's spirituality involved deeply passionate experiences of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Kempe had "the gift of tears" -- meaning that, for years, she was unable to attend mass without crying profusely, and, as often as not, sobbing loudly and theatrically. Her adventurous life included a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where much weeping and wailing took place, and tanglings with several Bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In chapter 3 Margery has a rather jumbled account of a vision of heaven. Then Margery starts to begin to have the desire to stop having sex. Which I assure you doesn't go well with her husband. Finally in chapter 3 it describes both two years of peace and three years of temptations Kempe went through.
Later in chapter 5 Kempe has her first conversation with God (Jesus), and is assured of his forgiveness, and given instructions to take communion weekly, and finally is told to go to a certain anchorite for confirmation that her revelations were real. By this time while I was reading this book it got really confusing. Chapters 6 & 7 are a vision of Mary, her mother, and the birth of both Mary and later Jesus. Margery believes herself in service to Mary, as though she was actually present through Jesus' birth and the flight to Egypt. When the vision is done, Margery would like to die and go to heaven, but is told to stay and pray for the world. Chapter 8 continues her vision of various people being saved because of her love of them. Finally in chapters 9 through 11 Margery finally got her will in ceasing all sexual relations with her husband and began making pilgrimages.
I'm going to skip a lot of chapter to Chapter 31. Here Margery goes to Rome via Assisi, and finds a ring which is in effect her wedding ring to Christ. This was really weird, why did she think this ring was her wedding ring? Then Margery meets with a priest who becomes her protector all the time she is in Rome. God "provides" a miracle in which they can understand each other's speech, though she speaks no German and he speaks no English. Margery, who has been wearing white (virgin's clothing, suggesting a religious vow) is asked by this priest to leave off wearing it, and she obeys. He also sends her to be servant to a poor woman, as a form of penance, though I'm not sure what for. Although she starts to wear white again in chapter 37 because God tells her to.
Then later on Margery has a literal marriage to God, followed by visions of angels, divine smells and music, and a warmth in her breast which lasts, she tells us, 16 years. One result is that she weeps when she sees a handsome man on the street, because it makes her think of Christ. Later on she elaborates on the marriage with a strong suggestion of a sexual consummation. Here and in the next chapter 37, there are...

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