More from Matthew Fox on Julian of Norwich…
“Just as God is truly Father,” she writes, “so also is God truly our Mother.”
For her the recovery of God as mother is also the recovery of divine wisdom—a theme we saw earlier when treating of cosmic consciousness:
The deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother. In her we are all enclosed.
She connects divine motherhood with panentheism in an explicit way once again when she says that God is “our true Mother in whom we are endlessly carried and out of whom we will never come.”
Here we have an image of the cosmos as God’s womb. Being enclosed is, as we have seen, an essential image of the maternal side of God. Julian says:
As the body is clothed in cloth and the muscles in the skin and the bones in the muscles and the heart in the chest, so are we, body and soul, clothed and enclosed in the Goodness of God.
She relates the motherhood of God to a deepening awareness of God as Creator and lover of all of nature:
God is the true Father and Mother of Nature, and all natures that are made to flow out of God to work the divine will shall be restored and brought again into God.
Divinity does not consider motherhood a burden to bear for “God feels great delight to be our Mother.”
To recover the motherhood of God is to recover compassion:
Compassion is a kind and gentle property that belongs to a Motherhood in tender love. Compassion protects, increases our sensitivity, gives life, and heals.
Thus we see that the recovery of the theme of the motherhood of God flows naturally from other themes of cosmos, earthiness, blessing or goodness, and panentheism.
It confronts the basic issue of letting go of the one-sided God of patriarchy and learning more about the God whose image we are.
Therefore it is also about learning more about ourselves and about our power for birthing and creativity. Today it is especially urgent that men learn deeply how all persons, men included, are motherly as well as fatherly.
Julian tells us what constitutes the work of motherhood when she says: “A mother’s service is nearest, readiest and surest.” And she attributes motherhood ultimately to Divinity when she adds:
This office no one person has the ability or knows how to or ever will do fully but God alone.
Divinity alone knows the work of motherhood. Notice that her understanding of motherhood centers not on an “exalted” position but on work and service—this signifies a decisively non-sentimental understanding of motherhood.
Translations from Brendan Doyle, Meditations with Julian of Norwich, pp. 103, 90, 99, 29, 106, 85, 81, 105.
See Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths, pp.123-141.
See also: Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 90 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, p. 49.