Motherhood of God: A Reflection during Mothers' Month

Service d'Animation Missionnaire

In this month of motherhood, we would like to reflect on a figure that is often overlooked in our theological discussions: the "Motherhood of God". Although God transcends gender, we use images and metaphors to speak of Him. At this moment in history, with all the challenges we face as humanity, wouldn't it be more relevant and necessary than ever to reclaim the maternal figure of God as creator, lover of life, and all-tenderness towards his creatures?

       God: A Father with a Mother's Heart

One way or another, this figure of Mother God, full of kindness and compassion, has been displaced by the image of a warrior God, liberator and all-powerful, always ready for battle. This has contributed greatly to abuses of power, tensions, and inequalities in the Church and in the world! However, the image of God as Mother is a profound and comforting teaching based on various passages of the Old and New Testament and on tradition.

In the Old Testament, we find beautiful images of God as a loving and faithful mother. For example, in the book of Isaiah we read: "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you" (Isaiah 49:15). God is compared to a mother who breastfeeds and comforts her child, who cares for and protects her people with tenderness. God's love is even stronger than a mother's love, who will do the impossible to defend her children.

In another passage, the prophet Isaiah adds: "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort" (Isaiah 66:13). This image of God as a mother who revives her child shows us God's immense compassion towards us, who "shall fondle us in her lap" (Isaiah 66:12).

       God: Decidedly Protective

In the New Testament, Jesus also uses maternal images to speak of God's love. For example, when lamenting the fate of Jerusalem, he says: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!" (Matthew 23:37/Luke 13:34). Hens are determined and fiercely protective when defending their chicks. Under their wings, they provide warmth and security against threats. God, then, is always ready to provide refuge and comfort to those who seek His protection.

Have you ever seen a hen defend her chicks from a predator? The peculiarity of a hen protecting her chicks lies in her innate maternal instinct, her willingness to sacrifice her own well-being and security for the protection of her chicks. This image evokes the idea of selfless love and total surrender, characteristics attributed to God, "compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth" (Psalm 85:15).

       Celebrating the Motherhood of God

So, in this Month of Motherhood, let us remember and celebrate the motherhood of God. Let His love and care envelop us, like a mother's affection. And let us always remember that, like a faithful mother, God is always with us, in good times and bad, loving us with unconditional and eternal love.

Let us think of the God who becomes small, with the small ones.

The Mother God who assists the oppressed and vulnerable,

"who makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,

and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45),

and who rescues and meets the lost child.

The God of Jesus is a Father with a Mother's heart.