What kind of God do I believe in? This is the question that has revolved in my mind since I read Richard Rohr’s Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi. He claims that Francis had a a strong maternal concept of God.
Like many of us, I grew up with very patriarchal images of God and I must confess that Rohr’s claims are very liberating for me. Becoming reconciled to an image of a God who is loving and compassionate rather than judging and condemning is another part of my Lenten journey this year.
First Rohr quotes Eric From
In the matriarchal aspect of religion, I love God as an all embracing mother. I have faith in her love, that no matter whether i am poor and powerless, no matter whether I have sinned, she will love me, she will not prefer any other of her children to me whatever happens to me, she will rescue me, will save me, will forgive me. (133)
He goes on to say:
It seems that when God is also allowed to be Mother, then all the children line up as equals, their value based not on performance, but on having been born from the same womb , just as God loves all of “her” creatures equally and unconditionally.
We know that in the presence of both a true God and a good mother, each of us believes ourselves to be, in fact, the favourite, which is exactly what the Jewish people concluded from Yahweh’s maternal way of relating to them. The Jews knew that they were uniquely “chosen” protected and loved. (136)
What so impacted me here is Rohr’s belief that just as a mother sees each of her offspring as special, her favourite, her chosen one, so does God. We are all favourites with God. We are all special and we are all embraced into the community of God’s love and care.
This is part of the story of God that we enter into as we walk with Christ toward the Cross. God’s love is like that of a mother who will do everything possible to protect her loved ones and show them that they are special favourites.
What do you think?