Friday, 29 April 2011

Why I like Sr Clare!

From the Parish magazine on 3rd April 2011.

From Sr Clare...

"Have you ever thought about calling God
When we call God ‘Father’ we are making a real
call to a personal God, but the image in which we
clothe our call is a metaphor. God is not a human
father. Nevertheless ‘Father’ is the nearest we can
get to a true picture, according to our teacher, the
Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10).
But God the Father is not a man, nor is he a male.
‘Mother’ is another picture of God that the
scriptures use, though nothing like as frequently
as ‘Father’. ‘Will a mother forget her child?’ asks
Isaiah. ‘Even if she did, I will never forget you.’
Many children see chiefly in their mother the
characteristics of unquestioning love and endless
faithfulness which we ascribe to God.
Jesus compares himself to a mother hen: ‘O
Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered your
children together as a hen gathers her brood
under her wings, and you would not’ (Matthew
Sometimes it feels good for me to say ‘Our Mother
and Father who art in heaven’!

Isn't that fabulous?  I think she says it beautifully and I find her enthusiasm and approach to life inspiring and open minded. Meant to post this at the time as it struck me when I read it how right Sr Clare was when she wrote these words.  She had said the same several weeks previously at the Journey in Faith course and it was good to hear but even better to see written down in more detail.

Too often we see a crude image of God in the masculine, the proverbial  "old man" flowing beard and all the other manifestations  so beloved of artists and Hollywood. We don't often sit down and think about the reality or the truth behind the patriarchal imagary. Why not a God who is in equal balance between the divine masculine and feminine? Isn't that a more likely and more balanced construct?

Many of us (either identifying as "religious" or not) have forgotten or lost the notion that God the Father was never separate from God the Mother and we have lost that duel aspect of developing a relationship with God in full completeness and balance. Interestingly during the years in which I saw myself as "pagan" I found many more people who DID see the male and female aspects of the divine and were much more accepting of this way of seeing God in balance though not accepting a Christian tradition of God. This balance was something which seemed right to me and was probably one of the reasons I was drawn to the pagan tradition initially. They were also much more aware of the dangers our masculine and technological society was capable of wreaking upon the Earth.

So Sr Clare's thoughts on this divine balance were refreshing to read and affirmed for me that I am now in the right place spiritually.

After several years of identifying with the pagan Goddess it feels right that it should be a woman who showed me that the Catholic Church was not the crusty old place I had imagined or assumed. That it can be pro-active and forward thinking, that the people involved were human and multi-dimensional, that there was an acceptance of more than one way for people to find God in their lives. And they have a successful approach - the church is packed to bursting point on Sundays with the overspill going into the church hall. So successful and busy are the Parish churches that there has just been planning permission granted for an extension to one church to accommodate all who attend. This is something I will bear in mind for the weekly torture session  Childrens Liturgy which it is my happy duty to assist with.

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