Mama, Mummy, Maman, Mimi, Moomoo, Matriarch, Mammy, Mother, Mater, Mère
We all have different names for that person to whom we are physically closer than anyone in the world…except God. The relationship between mother and child is one of the closest of all in the animal/human kingdom; infants rely on mothers not only for all food and transportation, but also for protection from all the elements and even sometimes from the rest of the family.
Our relationship with our mothers often mimics our relationship with God. Mother and child, in mammals at least, are connected by an umbilical cord – a conduit between the developing fetus and the mother which provides the nutrition rich blood that feeds and strengthens the fetus. God and human are connected by a conduit of Love which feeds and strengthens the soul. We are been created as objects of God’s affection, as God’s beloveds.
Once that umbilical cord is cut, the baby begins life outside of the safety of the womb. And then the mother child relationship begins with all the ups and downs relationships are fraught with. Some people say there is no greater love than a mother’s for her child; the vengeance of a mother on one who inflicts pain on her child can be brutal.
But we human mothers can also hurt our children; we are fully human, and we humans often make mistakes. For this reason, many people find comfort in the female image of God and the maternal nature of the love of God.
As Julian of Norwich said in response to one of her revelations,
“God chose to be our mother in all things…
Christ came in our poor flesh *
to share a mother’s care.
Our mothers bear us for pain and for death; *
our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy and endless life.”
When I had my first child, I could not stop saying, “I will never be the same.” To this day, I am continually reminded of that truth. Until I was a mother, I could not forgive my mother for her human foibles nor myself for mine. Until I was a grandmother, I could not love unabashedly without any concern for discipline or propriety! But the greatest recognition about motherhood for me came with the understanding of the feminine face of God and the visceral nature of the Love of God for we who are God’s beloveds.
I pray that on this Mother’s Day we can all remember the great gift of life our mothers gave us and the great gift of Love which God has given us.
“All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God, *
for the love of Christ works in us;
Christ is the one whom we love.”
~Julian of Norwich
Canticle: A Song of True Motherhood