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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

This is not the Mary of Michelangelo’s Pietà.

It’s not the Mary who says yes, Mary Queen of Acquiescence. It’s not the Mary who looks radiant and peaceful holding the body of her tortured son, as though she has just given birth to him. 

This is the mortal Mary. The human Mary. The mother Mary.

The Mary who birthed and raised a human boy in a world full of hazards, full of wonders, full of disappointments. Who was nonetheless bewildered by his divinity. Alienated by his inhumanity; his godness. Who couldn’t recognize in the grown son of god the face of her own little boy. Until.

...humanity and divinity so at odds....

This Christ, not the quiet and long-suffering Christ at the front of the cathedral. Not the Christ of “not-my-will-but-thine.” This Christ: a human Christ. Who howled with rage and pain when the nails went in. Who violently resisted his torturers in every way he could. Whose inarticulate animal yells his mother recognized. Understood. By his voice, she knew him as her own.

Not as a voiceless divinity but as a crying humanity.

(Perhaps that is how we always know Christ.)

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