Message from the Parish

God, our Mother

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

 

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of being at the school and with the parents—all mothers (and I think one grandmother)—of the reception year students. I felt a tad shy as I introduced myself to as many as I could of the mothers huddle into naturally formed conversation circles, sipping on their coffee provided by the van at the school gates and chatting about their children. I felt for these young mothers. For most of those with whom I spoke, so much in their lives was quite new. 10 years ago things would have been quite different. Now, with all that was happening around them and their families, there has been so much change.

 

I felt the strong love they had for their child and the desire for them to do well and have a happy life. When the children finally gathered and offered a brief performance, mothers’ phones were focused on each of their children, framed in the  phone’s screen and captured for eternity. It was a wonderful experience for me, wanting these young women to experience something of the care and support of our parish and wondering what would God be for these young mothers.

 

God is like these mothers: loving, attentive, hopeful and fruitful. In fact, Pope John Paul I in his brief one month pontificate (Sept 1978) spoke of God as mother. He said, “God is Father and, even more, our Mother”. To refer to God with maternal imagery is not new, in fact, it is ancient. The Book of Psalms (1100-500 BCE) is replete with feminine images for God (Ps 27.10; 131.2). In the prophet Isaiah (6th cent BCE), God speaks with these images:

 “For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.” (Isa. 42:14)
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isa. 49:15)

The Gospels use similar imagery in referring to Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem (Mt 23.37; Lk 13.34). Saints and mystics through the ages also speak of God as Mother.

 

May we continue to know our mothering God to guide, nurture and care for each of us and bless those of us who, like mothers, nurture and care for others, especially our environment.

 

Your brother,

Michael