We think of a mother as one who from before our birth wants and loves her child. We think of one who provides nurture and affirmation and encouragement. We think of one who has mercy on her child, even when she knows the worst there is to know.
Mother's influence, for good or ill, is always with us. "Mother" is that person who cuddled us, nursed us, and soothed us when we were very small. She provided the basic security that we all need if we are to learn to trust and hope. Because it is a relationship that begins in the womb, it is different from the relationship one has with one's father.
Mother is also a symbol of the nurture that comes from God. If "mother" is seen (at least by small children) as Godlike, why can't God be seen as motherlike? We are aware that many mothers fall short of any Godlike quality, just as many fathers do. Some of us have to look for ways to forgive our mothers and to believe that they did the best they could with what they had. Nevertheless, Mother is an indispensable figure in our lives. This story sums it up: A woman knocked at a neighbor's door and was surprised when a six year old answered the door. "Hello Susie. Are you all alone?" "Yes. Mother's in the hospital and me and Daddy, and Bobbie, and Cindy are all alone."
Since it is quite likely that we can learn a lot about the motherlike qualities of God from our mothers, it is a good thing to encourage mothers to develop Godlike qualities in their lives.
The second chapter of St. Peter’s First Epistle is one in which mothers and their children can immerse themselves, especially at times when there is doubt about the presence of mercy and the security of identity. It is, in a way, a gospel for mothers and their children.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:
‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him* will not be put to shame.’ 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’, 8and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
10Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. - 1 Peter 2:2-10 nrsv
Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:
Peter begins by likening God's word to a mother's milk. "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow into salvation." Then, he goes on to explain how each one of God's children has a place in the house; each one belongs.
He declares that we are a family with a divine purpose, something bigger than we are for which to live. We are a holy nation a royal priesthood, God's own people.
Then, he concludes it all by declaring the reversal of the message of the Prophet Hosea. "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
This is a great legacy, handed on from generation to generation by our Mother, the Church. We are nourished by it so that we can grow into salvation and enjoy our rightful place in the household of faith, in this family. We can become all God wants us to be.
Anne Frank wrote in her diary,
"Every one has inside himself a piece of good news!
The good news is that you really don't know
how great you can be
how much you can love
what you can accomplish
what your potential is.
How can you top good news like that?"
Mothers, nourish yourselves with this good news! Then, pass it along to your children so that they, too, will come to this realization.
Church, there are those to whom we must be a Mother, who have not known before how much they are loved and what a wonderful identity they have inherited.
Children, of all ages, whether you got this message of worth and self esteem from your mothers or not, hear and believe it now because it is addressed personally to you: "Once you were not people, but now you are God's people. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have."