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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín is the account of Mary after her son’s crucifixion. A first person narrative speaks of her suspicion of his friends or misfits as she called them, of Lazarus and his sister’s demands on her son, of never to use his name; just refer to as him, my son, our son, and other non-personal third person references. She speaks of the agony of the day he died and the pain he must have gone through. He wasn’t that person others bestowed such grand ideas, hopes, and accolades. She was his mother and remembered motherly things of his life, surely different from what is read in the gospels.
She reflects on the crucifixion after Lazarus goes home and Mary is told she is being watched and to be careful. When her son comes home, turns water to wine, walks on water, he tells her to leave and tries to separate himself from her. She becomes a shadow and is not welcome anywhere except at the home of Lazarus’ sisters. Mary can’t understand why people treat her as if she can perform these same miracles her son is attributed to. She is confused as he is sentenced to be crucified and wonders if there is anything to be done. She does sense a power about him, but she can’t explain it. All she knew was she had to wait to bury her son.
But she can’t, she must flee. She doesn’t believe he is the Son of God and also that this wasn’t worth it.

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