Happy Mother’s Day,
With love from all of us
Since it is Mother’s Day in North America, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God as Mother and to give thanks for it. In the Roman Catholic tradition, in which I was raised, the idea of God as Mother was sometimes expressed in the thought of the mystics but, for the most part, the image of God as Father (and Christ as Son) still predominates in Church doctrine and dogma. Images of the feminine sacred have popularly been communicated via the figure and legend of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. Mary was a woman, a human being, and it is wonderful to revere and venerate her as “Mother,” but it does not suffice as a theology expressing the maternal character of God. It does not prevent us from asking for a correction of the paternal bias in our theology or for seeking a way of appreciating the feminine aspects of divinity.
I see great possibilities in appreciating the maternal characteristics of divine power, especially in this “spring” season in Canada. All around us, the life forces of our planet are flowing – flora and fauna are all participating in a frenetic activity of reproduction. New life is everywhere. Mothers of all varieties are pushing new life into view, and then caring for their offspring until they, in turn, can participate in the evolutionary cycle of life-giving. It may be that reflection on the divine maternal creativity, manifesting in nature, will expand our consciousness of the ecological dimension of our spirituality.
In church buildings all across the continent, people will gather to give thanks to God for Mothers today. I join in that expression of gratitude. But will we give thanks to God as Mother? Are these women we venerate today considered icons of God? In them, do we gaze upon the sacred presence of the Divine Maternal? If so, it’s appropriate to give thanks for God our Mother today, too.
This is a good chance to repair a rupture in our theological imaginations. Human beings, male and female, were created in God’s image – so we are told in our religious tradition and scriptures. If this is true, and we are equally images of the divine in both genders, our motherhood and fatherhood are potentially active images of the divine reality. It is appropriate to reflect upon the maternity of God as a way of turning from a strictly paternal bias.
So, Happy Mother’s Day, God!
With love, from your creation.