Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

In the heavens are parents single? 
No, the thought makes reason stare. 
Truth is reason 
Truth eternal tells me

A year or so ago I wrote about my experiences with coming to know Mother in Heaven. Several people subsequently came to me telling me that they had similar feelings or experiences. Others came to me with a different message. "She is sacred," they said, "we should not talk about Her, at least not in public ways. She is too special. It is not appropriate to spread pearls before swine."

Humor me for a moment. Think of a mother that you know. Any mother, but preferably a mother with a lot of kids. Does she consider any of them to be swine? (aside from those little moments when they won't clean up their room or neglect to use a fork...) Would she want them to not know who she was? How about this scenario: some of them get to know her but some of them don't.
Can you think of ANY mother who feels that way about her children?

Speaking as a mother, as someone who knows many other mothers, I cannot.

I believe that our Mother in Heaven is there, is important, and wants us to know Her and know about Her and seek Her just as we do our Father and Brother. I believe that patriarchal cultural norms (including centuries of misogyny) have hidden Mother from many of Her children, but neither She NOR FATHER have ever wanted Her to be hidden from her children. That was and is and continues to be an entirely man-made construct.

While the rampant communication of the digital era has allowed rumors and misinformation to spread, and even allowed sacred things (that should be kept private) to be shouted from the rooftops, it has also facilitated the teaching of important truths to the world. The knowledge of Mother is a plain and precious thing, something that instantly and instinctively feels true to many when they hear it. Some people will reject it, because it us unfamiliar and belief persistence is a powerful thing. But I categorically reject the notion that we should keep this knowledge to ourselves. Mother matters, just as surely as motherhood or women themselves matter. To say otherwise is to practice benevolent sexism.


Brooke said...

I know you'll find this article interesting

Carrie said...

I have been thinking often lately about how patriarchy represses women and how the Gospel can refine that. I feel such strength and power when I am with women who are united in purpose. I often feel that in Relief Society.

Lately I have struggled so much with my cultural baggage and submissiveness that is clearly NOT who I am but was so very much drilled into me as proper behavior. It makes me so ANGRY and what surprises me is the fury of it. What is this fury? Is it Mother? I feel like I should be filled with power coming from deep inside me but always there is a voice: "you cant; you will be punished." This fear overwhelms who I am innately and it pains me.

DavidsonClan said...

I agree wholeheartedly! It is a beautiful and sacred thing to be Female and I strongly believe that God has chosen a Female to be the Mother of us all. He chose her first, and then asked her, to be His Mother. Glory be to God, she accepted- not knowing what would take place when she allowed the Creator of all into her uterus! It's a mind boggling thing to contemplate! When I am raising my children, I sometimes think, "what would Jesus be like at age 2? and how would his Blessed Mother adore him? and, likewise, He must adore her!" I know of personal stories of people touched by Mary and it doesn't surprise me that you have sensed her presence and love. I know of one story of a woman who lost her son to the Iraq war and who felt such comfort from Mary. Even though she was a protestant and didn't believe Mary had any special role in her life, she experienced undeniably Mary's consolation during that difficult time that she became Catholic within a year or so. There is no question: there is a queen of heaven and she does take us all under her wing and dearly longs and prays for our well being as a mother would.

Mindy Goorchenko said...


I'm Catholic, not Mormon, so I know our doctrine differs substantially. However, as I read this post (and the one you linked to), it seems joyfully evident that you are coming to know Mary, the Mother of God according to the Word, and also the means through which our Lord chose to become incarnate.

According to Revelation 12, she is our Queen and mother, and I and so many countless others experience that she is ever-present and interceding for her children--"those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus." (Rev. 12.17)

Here is a poem which we find in the Divine Office (the perpetual prayer of the Catholic Church) on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. This feast, on New Years Day, is not just a celebration of Mary's motherhood as we understand it in earthly terms. Essentially, this feast attests to the very reality of Christ as fully human and fully God, and the consequences for us through God's Incarnation in the flesh.

Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!
Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the grace, Christ the Sacred Wine!
Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the stem, Christ the Rose blood-red!
Mary the font, Christ the Cleansing Flood;
Mary the cup, Christ the Saving Blood!
Mary the temple, Christ the temple’s Lord;
Mary the shrine, Christ the God adored!
Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest;
Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!
Mary the mother, Christ the mother’s Son
By all things blest while endless ages run.

Our liturgical calendar is rife with Marian feast days; I truly smile bemusedly at anyone who feels we have inherited a faith that is oppressively patriarchal. I don't know about yours, but we celebrate our Holy Mother all the time! :-) I encourage you, prayerfully, in your relationship with her. You may wish to start praying the Rosary on a daily basis to establish your relationship with her in a more intentional way.

May God's blessings be upon you, through the constant intercession of His Blessed Mother.

Pax Christi,

Jenni said...

Carrie, somehow I neglected to respond to you before, but I did want to comment on what you said...
I think that the anger is normal. In fact, I know it is. I think that it is part of the grief process--there is a realization (often a shocking one) of things that have been kept from us, or forced upon us, and that is painful. And then we often grieve the things we missed, or the choices we were not allowed to make.

Our Mother in Heaven is a GODDESS. She has power. There is pretty compelling evidence in the Bible that She was present at--and part of--the creation of this world (Proverbs 8). We, as her daughters, have the potential to be goddesses also. We are not weak, we should not be fearful. Our culture has disrespected and disempowered females (and female power) for centuries, but I do not believe that is how Mother or Father ever meant it to be. The gospel repeatedly teaches BALANCE, and I believe that applies to the sexes as well.
You might like Clarissa Pinkola Estes "Women Who Run With The Wolves" which is about the wildwoman archetype. Essentially, the wildwoman is one who follows her instinct and intuition (and I would say also her inspiration), rather than being too restrained by societal expectations or norms. I have been trying to explore the wildwoman within myself--standing up and speaking my truth, not being constrained by what is normal or comfortable or socially 'acceptable.' To be a wildwoman does not mean to be crazy or unrefined, but it does allow for an independence and authenticity that I think is often missing in our culture.

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