Is God our Mother?

Why do we call God “Father?” Exploring the Catholic Church’s teaching on God’s paternal and maternal qualities, and clarifying the use of gender-based titles.

Can we call God, “Our Mother?” I mean, after all, we call Him “Father” even though we know God is neither male nor female. So what’s the big deal with replacing one title for another?

If you’re new to my blog, I’ll have you know: I’m Catholic. Strictly Catholic. I adhere to all the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, even the ones I may not fully understand.

As a Catholic, I believe that God reveals Truth to us in three ways:

  • Sacred Scripture
  • Tradition
  • The Magisterium (official teachings of the Church).

And it’s there I turned to find the answer to this question. Continue reading “Is God our Mother?”

Send a flood of prayer.

We’re all familiar with the Noah story. People were wicked. God sent a flood to destroy them. Then He promised never to destroy the earth by flood again.

Why the sudden change of heart? We look around today, and it seems like wickedness still abounds. Every news outlet is filled with stories of hate and hurt and tragedy. Why doesn’t God send another flood? Why doesn’t He just take out all the bad guys?

God, what were You thinking when You made that covenant?

He told us exactly what He was thinking… “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

Mankind doesn’t have a gun problem. A porn problem. A drug problem.

Mankind has a heart problem.

And it won’t be healed by melting down all the guns. People have been murdering each other since before guns ever existed. It won’t be healed by outlawing pornography. People have been taking advantage of each other before the world came online. It won’t be healed by wiping out the druglords. New ones are ever ready to rise in their place.

The evil in man’s heart can’t be wiped away by a flood.

As we mourn the lives lost in the recent Texas shooting, we long for quick solutions. We long for a way to eradicate this evil off the face of the earth once and for all. But as God the Father pointed out to us in the story of Noah, evil can’t be stopped by brute force.

How can it be stopped?

By love. By prayer. By sacrifice.

I think of the Crucifixion. I think of Jesus, offering Himself freely in our place. To redeem us from all our own evil. From the darkness that resides in the corners of our own hearts.

How much He loved us that day! How He prayed and wept for our salvation in the Garden of Gethsemane!

It’s almost like God switched tactics here. Sure, He did what needed to be done to stop the evil in the moment. He sent that flood to obliterate the evil. But He knew that, although it would help for a short while, it’s not enough in the long run.

He knew that the world needed more. That we needed, not just laws and heavy handed enforcement, but a Redeemer. He knew that He couldn’t scare the evil out of us. No, we needed more than that.

So He decided to love the evil out of us.

He sent His only Son. To teach us. To minister us. To heal us. To die for us.

And our brothers and sisters in that Baptist Church in Texas have followed right in His footsteps.

They got up on Sunday morning, and they went to Church to love on Jesus. They went their to worship their Savior. And they paid the ultimate price. They gave their lives for Him.

They could have stayed home. They could have slept in. They could have chosen self.

But they chose God.

It was the last choice they made. And their lives were taken from them so suddenly. They had no way of knowing what was in store for them. They were the victims of a terrible act of violence.

And their sacrifice calls us to action. Their sacrifice calls us to do something to stop the evil in this world.

Sure, go ahead and enforce all the laws you want. Go ahead and rid people of convenient means of violence. It may slow them down. But it won’t stop them.

If we truly want this to end, we need to turn to Jesus. We need to give ourselves to the cause of peace through prayer and sacrifice.

We need to minister to the world like He did by proclaiming all that’s good and right and beautiful. We need to heal the world like He did by sharing His abundant love. We need to die to ourselves like He did. We need to live for others like He did.

We need to pray.

Like He did.

Brute force won’t eliminate evil from this world any more than that big old flood of destruction did in Noah’s day.

If we want evil to stop, we need to be the change we want to see.

Have we given our hearts to Him fully? Have we devoted ourselves entirely to prayer and sacrifice? Have we embraced a life of truth and virtue with our whole hearts? Do we live for Him alone?


Then we’re part of the problem.

Today, I pray for myself. For the grace to turn from my evil ways. For the grace to let go of my evil, violent inclinations. To turn from anger and impatience. To act with love, humility and meekness. To be the change I want to see in the world.

And I pray for all of you. Everyone who feels lost and hurt and hopeless. That you’ll lift your eyes up to heaven and pray. That you’ll do all you can to promote a culture of peace.

I pray for all those who commit acts of violence. That they turn from all the hatred and hurt that’s in their hearts. They they my open themselves up to the love of Jesus. That they find their redemption.

And I pray for all those who mourn the loss of their loved ones in the wake of this tragedy.

As I remember the Christians that we lost that day, I keep thinking of the Flyleaf song “Beautiful Bride.”

When one part hurts the whole body’s sick.
When one part mourns, we all mourn with it.

Though we may not be fully united, we’re all part of the Body of Christ. We all love Jesus. We’re all doing our best to follow our Savior and to be holy people.

Our brothers and sisters who gave their lives that day, gave them for Him.

And we mourn their loss. Their their community is hurting. And we hurt for them too. We feel it throughout the entire Body of Christ. Any time there are Christian martyrs, that’s not a regional thing. It’s a whole body thing. It affects us. We shake and we cry and we weep for them.

Rejoice and we’ll sing with You:

But… at the same time, we rejoice with them. For them. They’ve seen Our Savior face-to-face. They made the right final choice. They gave up their Sunday morning for Him. They gave their lives for Him. Their last moments were spent loving and worshiping Him.

This whole song reminds me of the bittersweetness of death. And it calls me to do something about the tragedy that brought this about.

Train your fingers for battle.
Fighting this violence with your feet wrapped in peace.
Sad tears and silence, now screams of joy: victory!

This tragedy, like all others, is a battle. A battle fought in prayer. A battle we can only win through peace. Like the recent tragedy, this battle will involve tears and sadness and also victory.

The victory of the Cross.

Jesus’ battle over sin was fought the same way. With prayer and peace. With genuine tears and sadness. With great tragedy. But ultimately with great victory.

As Sean Forrest says, “As believers, we can cry with hope in the Resurrection.”

He made a promise to me: He’d be with me in eternity.
Though you can’t see me now, I’m right here above the clouds.
As I look in His eyes and I see all His love and His majesty,
I know I’ve come home.

And so, as I cry for those members of our Body, the Body of Christ, whom we’ve lost this week, I also hold onto hope. I lift my heart to Jesus in prayer. And I ask the souls of our recent martyrs to pray for us too. To pray for an end to violence. To pray for the unity of the Body of Christ. To pray for peace.

By their sacrifice, they’re changing the world.

Let’s join them and do our part too.

Let’s change our hearts. Let’s reach out to change the hearts of others. Let’s move forward with peace and hope. Let’s begin healing the hurts of this sinful fallen world with the love of Christ.

Let’s send a flood, just like in the days of Noah.

But this time, not a flood of destruction. A flood of prayer. Not a flood that wipes out, but a flood that transforms. A flood of healing waters. A flood of mercy.

Let’s send the flood that ends this evil once and for all.

One drop at a time. One prayer at a time.

Let the flood begin today.

Songs to help you through this time of tragedy:

“Beautiful Bride” by Flyleaf (if you like your music loud)

“He Made a Promise” by Sean Forrest (if you like your music soft)

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great post

Continue reading “Send a flood of prayer.”

A Mountain Meditation: practicing Catholic mindfulness

A mindfulness-based meditation, exploring and appreciating the beauty of God’s creation.

What do you see?

I see the hills bumping up against the sky. They’re crowned with trees. A vibrant red dominates the leaves, but it’s softened by warm yellows and oranges. A hint of green still remains here and there, a remnant of the fading summer.

I see the paths cut through the foliage. Cleared away to make room for roads and power lines and buildings. Evidence of civilization. But I wonder what it was like in its original state. A wild sort of order. The chaotic beauty that God created it to be. Continue reading “A Mountain Meditation: practicing Catholic mindfulness”

Christlike: don’t give them leftovers

A reflection on Sunday’s Gospel

At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  But he did not say a word in answer to her.  His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”  He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”  He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”  Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”  And her daughter was healed from that hour.  – Matthew 15:21-28

What are You trying to teach me, Jesus? Continue reading “Christlike: don’t give them leftovers”

5 ways to see Christ in a stranger

Jesus said, “What good is it to love your friend?  Even gangs members do that.”  Okay, He really said tax collectors… but I figured gang members would be a modern day equivalent of the cliché bad guy.

Jesus routinely calls us to do more than love our friends.  In Matthew 25 He tells us, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.”  We have to go beyond our comfort zone.  We have to have charity that’s wider than our social circles.  It doesn’t do us any good to only love the people we know.

We also have to love the stranger. Continue reading “5 ways to see Christ in a stranger”

It would’ve been enough

A prayer modeled after the Dayenu: an ancient Passover prayer celebrating God’s blessings.

God my Father, in Your infinite Goodness You created me out of nothing.  You didn’t have to do that.  But You did it anyways, because You love me.  If You had created me and done nothing more, that would have been enough.

But in Your generosity, You did more.  You created this beautiful world and all things in it for my delight.  You filled it with incredible sights and sounds.  You gave me the changing seasons so I would never get bored. If you had done that and nothing more, it would have been enough.

But You didn’t stop there.  Continue reading “It would’ve been enough”

Mary: the perfect spouse of God the Holy Spirit

Mary is the perfect spouse of God the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Mary teaches me how to love You, God the Holy Spirit, as the perfect spouse, the perfect wife.

The love between a husband and wife is total giving paired with total receiving. It’s a life-giving gift embodied by the marital embrace.

This type of love parallels the Annunciation. You my God, sent Your angel messenger with a proposal for Mary. Will she be Your bride? The mother of Your Son? Unfettered by commitment to any man, Mary humbly accepts.

You, God the Holy Spirit, came upon her.  She conceived Jesus in her womb.

Mary’s love for You was truly a spousal love. Continue reading “Mary: the perfect spouse of God the Holy Spirit”

Mary: the perfect mother of God the Son

Mary is the perfect mother of God the Son.

Hail Mary mother of God the Son, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Mary teaches me to have perfect love for You, Jesus, the Messiah, the Redeemer.

She first gave herself to love you totally with a vow of virginity. She didn’t let any other person come first in her life, so when the Messiah came she was ready to serve You alone. When the angel Gabriel appeared to announce Your Incarnation, Mary’s faith in Your ability to save mankind from our sins made her willing to believe the impossible. She, a virgin, would bear a Son.

She accepted this without hesitation. Continue reading “Mary: the perfect mother of God the Son”

Mary: the perfect daughter of God the Father

Mary is the perfect daughter of God the Father.  Part one of a series of three reflections on Mary’s love for the Holy Trinity.

I was in high school when I first heard a beautiful rendition of the Hail Mary that made my jaw drop in realization of how perfect Mary’s love for God is.

The Rosary started as usual.  Sign of the Cross.  The Creed.  Our Father.  But when we got to the three Hail Mary’s, the leader added something special:

  • Hail Mary, daughter of God the Father…
  • Hail Mary, mother of God the Son…
  • Hail Mary, spouse of God the Holy Spirit…

I was caught off guard.  My eyes were opened to the depth of the relationship between Mary and God.

This week, I want to share with you three meditations inspired by these three special prayers.

Today’s meditation reflects on Mary’s love as a daughter of God. Continue reading “Mary: the perfect daughter of God the Father”