A blogger I deeply admire recently wrote about why we call God Father, not mother. (Hint: Because He asked us to!) It’s a great post. Be sure to read it! It’s full of meaty quotes from the catechism. As I read it, I considered why people would want to call God mother.
Those who do so are sincerely questing after God. We all make this mistake occasionally. By making God more like us, we hope to bring Him nearer.
But we are made in His image. We cannot remake Him in our own. Then we are just a series of mirrors reflecting and refracting endlessly on. We do not gain a fruitful creation; only mere illusion.
None of this is necessary! God being Father does not invalidate or diminish my vocation as a mother. After all, He is the author of human motherhood. Trust in Him to imbue your state with everything that is necessary!
Motherhood As Service
I was kneeling to put size 10 sneakers on an uncooperative little foot. These shoes fit yesterday! Yet the more I tugged and crammed, the longer the foot seemed to grow. Frustration marched a slow burn inside me, until I nearly erupted.
On the brink of yelling, I suddenly thought of Christ kneeling to wash the feet of his disciples.
My son was floppy and apathetic towards my task. How often am I childish in sin?
In the rite of baptism, we sing “you have put on Christ.” as the sacramental graces embrace the child.
I will rejoice heartily in the LORD,
my being exults in my God;
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation,
and wrapped me in a robe of justice,
Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
How often am I like a limp child confronted with a new pair of shoes? I flop around, uncooperative towards the warmth and love my Parent gives me.
God could have designed the human family in infinite ways. We could cleave in half, fully-formed, like bacteria. But instead, He sends us children.
Motherhood As Sanctification
We might raise children into saints and responsible adults. That’s certainly part of the job. But they, in turn, sanctify us. Children remind us of our behavior towards Him. That we are so often a gaggle of rowdy toddlers. When we serve these unruly beasts, we sample God’s role.
When frustration boils over, we make a choice. It’s the same choice a thousand times a day. Give anger or give grace. Anger or grace. When we choose to love as God loves, we become exactly who we are meant to be.
We needn’t maternalize God to elevate motherhood. Love is how the vocation of motherhood is dignified. Every wiped face glows incandescently. Every kissed forehead is alight with honor. Our motherhood is a participation in God’s fatherhood. When we reflect God’s love, that is when we are elevated.