Last week was Mother’s Day. The feast of Julian of Norwich (one of my faves) was only a couple days before.
Julian, in her book, The Revelations of Divine Love, spoke of the motherhood of God, and even of Christ:
“It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good.
Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We receive our ‘Being’ from Him and this where his Maternity starts. And with it comes the gentle Protection and Guard of Love which will never cease to surround us.
Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.”
This might seem strange for some, but there are many feminine images used to describe God in the Scriptures, like Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Psalm 131:2, to name just a few.
This imagery is no different that the image of father that we are so accustomed to – a way of understanding God, of relating what is mysterious and unknowable to what we see and experience. However, we have historically leaned heavily, perhaps even exclusively, towards masculine imagery and understanding of God.
Why does this matter? Well, language affects us; it shapes how we relate to and interact with the world, even if just subliminally.
Without these images, without the motherhood of God, we miss something important about the Divine. We miss opportunities to look at the world around us and be reminded of what God is like.
Let us embrace the femininity of God, and the motherhood of Christ. I hope next time you see a mother and her child, when you reflect on your motherhood, or think fondly of your own mother, I hope that you can be reminded of what God is like. I hope that you can catch a glimpse of the Divine.
Happy (belated) mother’s day. Happy (belated) feast of Julian.
Thanks be to God!