It’s a fun little quirk of Catholic spirituality that I am very attached to – and which gets misrepresented. As women, we are called to be Mothers*. No, not like that. Your worth doesn’t depend on birthing. Don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. We are called to mother, spiritually.**
So, what does that mean? In many ways, it’s just a beautiful way of thinking of, and honouring, the people who my (many, wonderful) secular humanist friends would describe as “good humans”. It’s acknowledging the divine spark that is alive in people who do for others without expecting a reward or a return. To me it’s a piece of theology that is like a flower, full of beauty, scent and seeds, ephemeral and yet eternal as each one generates so many more.
Who, then, is a “Spiritual Mother”? She is all the women out there, performing works of mercy, be they spiritual or corporal, for people to whom no blood or law is binding them, no law but love for their neighbour. She is a woman who blesses those around her by her presence, her kindness, her generosity. She’s not perfect of course, none of us are, but she is wonderful. She is my sister, a cloistered nun, praying for the world as so many of us are fretting about the state of it. She is my own mother, consoling and counselling my friends and my brother’s friends when they cannot turn to their own mothers. She is my childless friends spending their Saturday afternoon playing Lego and drinking tea with my children so that I can have some time with Kyle. She is my friends with children and busy lives unhesitatingly accepting to care for my children while I birth their siblings. She is the friend, who seeing me on the edge of tears in her kitchen grabs a teapot in one hand, a bottle of wine in the other, and asks which I need first. She is my neighbour, dropping off outgrown clothes at my door, or handing them over a pew after mass. She is a teenage girl, biking across town to make sandwiches and go to the park with my children while I rest. She is an elderly friend, proudly hanging a small girl’s drawing in her window “so that everyone can see how lovely it is”. She is my daughter, dropping off flowers on people’s doorsteps, because she’s “pretty sure they will like that”.
* Right, so this is also true of men, and fatherhood, but lets focus on the women for this one time, mmmk?
** I would love to go on about Maiden-Mother-Crone triads and concepts and all that excellent stuff, but this is not the time, and if you read on, you’ll see the other two pop up.
p.s. Trying something new. Old school blogging. Spewing random thoughts into the ethernet. Let’s see where the journey takes us.