Summary: A dramatic monologue by Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of the cross. Used as one of a number of ‘character parts’ for a Good Friday service.
Style: Dramatic. Duration: 8min
I was barely a woman when this life form grew in my body. A child, bearing a child. I was ill prepared for motherhood, but with the help of Joseph, my gentle carpenter, my love, we managed.
People called my pregnancy ill-fated and Joseph and me, well, ill-matched… But we knew different, we knew…
This child, our gift from God became my gift to the world and where did it end? Here on a common, criminal cross.
Where is faith at a moment like this? The faith I once knew. The faith I once relied on. In a God I could understand. Is there still faith for me? Where is God in all of this? Somehow God is changing and as I look up I wonder - do I really know that man up there?
It’s strange, although I feel numb – I am numb – my mind is alive with memory, such vivid memory of his life, of our life together.
The past 3 years has been filled with change, too much change. At times I thought Jesus would never leave home and I confess I wished he would… almost thirty and all of his friends married with families. Oh how I wanted him to find a wife; but his heart and head seemed to be in other places.
He always loved the Torah; as a child he challenged the learned ones in the synagogue. He also challenged his father as they worked side by side in the shop. I could hear them talking, laughing, discussing and disagreeing. He talked about his calling, a calling to change the world, to challenge the laws as we knew them. He sometimes frightened me, but Joseph would comfort me. “The boy has passion,” he would say. “He has a great capacity to think, he struggles now with the laws of the great patriarchs, he questions everything. but he has a good heart Mary, don’t worry.” What would he say now if he was here at the foot of the cross and our son dead?
I feel numb, I feel cold, I am in pain, such pain. Today I felt my heart break into a million pieces, a mother’s heart already affected by this crazy journey my son has taken.
I have felt the side glances, the vicious tongues. “That’s her,” they’d say, “the mother of that radical, that fellow with his groupies following him around the countryside.” “Who does he think he is?” they’d say. “Doesn’t measure up to Joseph”. “He would have done well to have learned from Joseph how to create something functional instead of creating havoc everywhere he goes; that poor pig farmer of Gerasenes lost his whole herd thanks to some of that Jesus hocus pocus, and he just up and leaves by boat, to the next place.”
Cynics always question his miracles, “Can’t you control him?” they’d ask. Control him? This thing is bigger than me, it’s larger than life. I don’t know what to call it. I just know somehow he had a drive that could not be controlled, a mind that never rested, a spirit that could not be stifled.
These past three years have been hard for me, to lose him to the world, I missed him, I even felt rejected by him when we tried to visit him that day in Galilee, and instead of rushing to hug me he asked the question, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” as if somehow we’re to be included into a larger, much broader family, and that wounded me, a little.
Then when he rose to greet me, my mother’s heart melted, and when I looked into his fine face I saw such love and compassion my anger softened, even though I still don’t quite understand.
At the foot of this cross I bled with him. I have experienced the drive of each nail, I feel his humiliation, my mouth dry with each muscle in my body torn like his. My knees buckled as they broke the bones of the two thieves hanging beside him. I almost cried, “Don’t, don’t touch my son!” In my anger and my confusion I almost asked God at that moment for a miracle - a miracle - here in this darkness?
I’m praying, please don’t break his legs and I hear the centurion say, “Don’t bother, he’s dead already”. Dead or not, I still felt that sword as it entered his side as if it had pierced mine. Oh, my son, my son…
The darkness engulfed me, not only my sight but my soul and I felt the pangs of hell in those hours on this hill. It stinks of death this place called Golgotha.
I am tired, I must lie down.
(C) Maureen McCartney – Thomas.
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