God as a Father, and a Mother and a Brother


#1

I’m a Roman Catholic, and I understand God as being our Father, our Mother and Our Brother, i.e., God is what only matters…He provides everything

(Matthew 19,29)
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

I’m wrong in this point of view ? is this not a Catholic point of view ?


#2

This is a politically correct point of view. Catholic Theology says that God is Father, Mary is our Mother, and the Communion of Saints on earth and in heaven consist of our brothers and sisters. You can serve Christ, who is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in men women and children etc, but these titles make perfect sense. God is our Father, and is Spirit in Essence. Pax Caritas.


#3

What did Jesus call God? Father
What did Jesus call Mary? Mother
What did Jesus call his cousins and friends? Brothers and sisters

Pretty simple, isn’t it?


#4

Yeah

Someone said to me this :

“Next, I differ with your post that says; “God is a Father, and A Mother, and a Brother”. To me this is a statement right out of the New Age and/or feminist movements.”

Because when a Saint leaves it everything to follow Jesus, and take the cross…God is what only matters…He is everything

Call God as a Mother or a Father, means that He is my entirely family, my Lord

That’s my Catholic point of view, but it did scandalize someone


#5

Sadly I also differ with this post, my Parish priest calls God “Our Heavenly Father and mother” I have tried to avoid his service but now say a silent Hail Mary when he does so. I can do no more. While the sentiment motivating the term may be good or bad it is wise to hear the Holy Father when he says in "The Ratzinger Report”: “Christianity is not a philosophical speculation; it is not a construction of our mind. Christianity is not ‘our’ work; it is a Revelation; it is a message that has been consigned to us, and we have no right to reconstruct it as we like or choose. Consequently, we are not authorized to change the Our Father into an Our Mother: the symbolism employed by Jesus is irreversible; it is based on the same Man-God relationship he came to reveal to us.”
I hope that no one is offended:) though the fact remains that God is everything to us and that thought is truly noble
God Bless


#6

When I was in a parochial school, the nuns taught that “all men” and “mankind” included women, so I never had a beef with inclusive language.

God, traditionally, has had feminine qualities attributes to him. My first point, from the scripture: Isaiah 66: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” There are other references in the canon of scripture that attribute feminine qualities to God, as well. Notice that Hokimah, or Sophia (the Wisdom of God) is always feminine: Proverbs 1:20; 4:6; 8:1,11; 9:1; 14:33; Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35.

Isaiah 66:12’…you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on her hip, and be trotted on her [God’s maternal] knees. . .’

In Luke 13:31-35, God the son, the second person of the Trinity, draws an an analogy between Himself and a mother hen.

My **second point **comes from Jewish tradition: The [Hebrews] insisted that God has no body and is beyond the categories of male and female, incorporating both but limited by neither. The ancient rabbis were aware that God is…unknowable, unfathomable, indescribable-and they regarded all God-language as approximate and figurative. Even in the Bible itself, as well as in mystical texts and other writings, feminine imagery is occasionally employed to describe God.

To address God as Father or Lord or King does not identify the sex or describe the essential being of God so much as it defines certain relationships between Him and us. (From here.)

I have two examples for my third point, where feminine imagery of God has been handed down through Sacred Tradition. The first example is a fourth-century Syrian hymn:

A cup of milk was offered to me,
and I drank it in the sweetness of the Lord’s kindness.
The Son is the cup, and the Father is He who was milked;
and the Holy Spirit is She who milked Him;
Because His breasts were full, and it was undesirable that
His milk should be ineffectually released.
The Holy Spirit opened Her bosom,
and mixed the milk of the two breasts of the Father.
Then She gave the mixture to the
generation without their knowing,
and those who have received it are in the perfection
of the right hand. The womb of the Virgin took it,
and she received conception and gave birth.
So the Virgin became a mother with great mercies.

Second example, from Saint Julian of Norwich’s memoirs, where she draws an analogy between a woman in labor and Jesus on the cross:

We know well that all our mothers bear us with pain and for dying. But our true Mother Jesus, he alone bears us to joy and to bliss, and endless living, blessed must he be. Thus he sustains us within him in love. And travailed into the full time that he would suffer the sharpest throes and the most grievous pains that ever were or ever shall be…the mother may give her child to suck her milk, but our precious Mother Jesus, he may feed us with himself.

My **fourth point **addresses inclusive language today, which is a topic that grows from your question. Seeing God as a mother isn’t a new concept. However, as far as the liturgy is concerned, Fr. Stravinskas deals with this concisely in the Catholic Answer Book, Vol. I. He said, “The English Language is somewhat deficient…and certainly we should be sensitive to language which gives the wrong impression. However, the solution is not to take the language into one’s own hands. That is why the bishop’s conference has a liturgical committee, which is deputed to study such matters and make appropriate recommendations to the Holy See." The USCCB supports this in Strengthening the Bonds of Peace: A Pastoral Reflection on Women in the Church and in Society.

In 1990, the The Catholic Biblical Association of America (CBAA) issued a Criteria for the Evaluation of Inclusive Language. It reads, “English vocabulary itself has changed so that words which once referred to all human beings are increasingly taken as gender-specific and, consequently, exclusive…Words…which were once understood as inclusive generic terms, today are often understood as referring only to males. In addition, although certain uses of “he,” “his,” and “him” once were generic and included both men and women, in contemporary American usage these terms are often perceived to refer only to males. Their use has become ambiguous and is increasingly seen to exclude women.”

Therefore, the English language never meant to limit our understanding of God as specifically male or female. Ultimately, only God can name God. Our language is deficient, but that isn’t going to change the official referring to God as male. And with proper understanding of why, that’s certainly okay.


#7

Good post Misserisima.

Jesus also refers to his disciples as brothers.
Mt. 12:49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!”

And St. Paul says:
*Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. *

So, God does have charateristics that apply to a father, mother and brother. But I don’t think it is appropriate to use “Mother” or “Brother” in addressing Him or giving a title/name to Him. He revealed the mother/brother characteristics about Himself, but He never told us to address Him by those titles. However, He did tell us we could address Him as “Father”.

Matthew 6:9 Pray then like this, "Our Father who art in heaven…"
Romans 8:15 *For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” *
Galatians 4:6 *And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” *

You can do a word search on “Father” in the NT. Jesus often refers to God as “your Father”. But He never speaks about God directly calling Him - or referring to Him as “our” - Mother or Brother.

I am wondering if the Jews ever address God as “Father”; or is it something that began in the Christian community? If you’re still around Valke, maybe you could answer this for us.

Nita


#8

I am wondering if the Jews ever address God as “Father”; or is it something that began in the Christian community?

Tobit 13:4

Exalt him befor every living being,
because he is the Lord our God,
our Father and God Forever

Deuteronomy 32:6

Is the Lord thus to be repaid by you,
O stupid and foolish people?
Is he not your father who created you?
Has he not made you and established you?

Both from the liturgy of the hours i.e., the NAB


#9

Man you wasted a lot of posting space with that utter rubbish getting to the point. I call it rubbish because the vaticant has the right to interperate scripture and they have never taken this position. Someone quoted the popes position quite well ealier.

You however hit the nail right on the head. Only God can name God. and he did. point out to me a place where he prays or tells me to pray to our mother and I will reavaluate my position. Until then I will call God what God called God OUR FATHER. There is no other name for him. He is the bridegroom WE ARE THE BRIDE. even men are the bride of christ. You may never have heard that before but you need to look it up your concept of catholic theology suffers for lack of an understanding of it. Your in christ.


#10

Thanks. However, I wasn’t referring to the use of “Father” in Scripture. I wondered whether in prayer, private or communal, God was ever personally addressed as “Father”.

Nita


#11

To the jews liturgy is prayer and scripture. In a way they were the same thing in the liturgy.


#12

I think you know what I mean tho. We also use Scripture as prayer; and I know God is often characterized as father. But even in the Scripture, I can’t think of an instance when the OT writer was speaking to God personally (in conversation or prayer) and addressed Him as “Father”. I have not done an OT search to check though.

I understand the Jews considered God’s name “Yahweh” so holy that they would not speak it. In the Scriptures they substituted LORD whenever the name "Yahweh occurred. (When you see LORD written with all capitals, that indicates it is a substitution for Yahweh. Elsewhere, Lord is printed in the ordinary way.)

I am wondering if they would also have considered it presumptuous to address God as “Father”. Where we would be very comfortable beginning a personal prayer by saying for example: “O heavenly Father, help me…” - I’m wondering if that is acceptable in the Jewish faith.

Nita


#13

*I beg your pardon? *I had four points, each supported with solid references/resources. Each point had a separate thesis, and if you notice, I hardly post without backup. If that is wrong, please explain how, in a PM. If not, I would ask you to be more kind.

Incidentally, it was my understanding that the Catholic Church is the Bride of Christ, neither all of mankind nor only a specific gender ref. CCC 789. Additionally, it would be more correct to say that the Church is the Bride of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, and not the bride of God as the first person of the Trinity. Our relationship to God is that of a father to a parent, our relationship to Christ is that of a bride. Would you kindly clarify why you made this reference?

Please notice Nita’s point (GMTA): I wish to submit that the Tetragrammaton found in the Septuagint originally contained the name Yahweh.

On topic: I offer one more reference from Catholic Answer Book 2, p.93: “God as Mother in Scripture.” Fr. S. wrote: “Several times the prophets speak of God’s love as the love of a mother (cf. Is 49:15; Is 66:13…Matt 23:27)” He continues with:

a) God has no gender, masculine or feminine; b) humans need to talk about God in human terms, so as to be comprehensible, and that necessarily means posting sexuality of God in speech - always with the understanding that this is mere metaphor c) while the Scriptures speak of God as having both male and female characteristics, the Bible never once calls God “Mother”…it does…refer to God as “Father”’ d)Jesus clearly instructed His disciples to invoke God as “Father.”

Of course, down under, I see that you agree with the last two points, as do I. However, there’s no need be boorish or rude in posting.

Well, in the link I provided earlier to the USCCB, I am sure that you read, “we urge that catechetical and religious materials and hymnals, as well as our daily language and prayer, honor the concerns that shape a more inclusive language, while taking care to ensure that they do not become a source of division, anger, and hurt.”


#14

I imagine that lot of minds are already made up over this particular issue, :signofcross: which means that we should perhaps focus much more on sanctifying our own lives than language. That said, I sometimes feel that people display a lack of reverence for God when they try to rename Him according to the changing whims of society, for it is certain that permission to call God “Father” has been graciously granted and today disobediently extrapolated to include the metaphor mother. This is not to cause offence, but some quotes follow:
From the Liturgiam authenticam 31 ‘In particular: to be avoided is the systematic resort to imprudent solutions such as a mechanical substitution of words, … Some particular norms are the following: a) In referring to almighty God or the individual persons of the Most Holy Trinity, the truth of tradition as well as the established gender usage of each respective language are to be maintained. ……
From the Norms for the Translation of Biblical Texts for Use in the Liturgy “4/2. The grammatical gender of God, pagan deities, and angels according to the original texts must not be changed insofar as this is possible in the receptor language. 4/3. In fidelity to the inspired Word of God, the traditional biblical usage for naming the persons of the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to be retained.”

**From the Holy See’s Observations on the English-language Translation of the Roman Missal (2002) B] “After the Orate, fratres, the people’s response Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis . . has been distorted, apparently for purposes of “inclusive language”: “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and the good of all the Church.” The insertion of the possessive God’s gives the impression that the Lord who accepts the sacrifice is different from God whose name is glorified by it. The Church is no longer His Church, and is no longer called holy * a flaw in the previous translation that one might have hoped would be corrected.”

Fr Paul Mankowski SJ (Crisis, Vol. 9, 1991, p. 23) who writes: “The acknowledgement of God as Father is an essential part of Christian kerygma: it is unarguably the belief of the Catholic Church. The priest may responsibly take prudent measures not to give casual offence, but if he ‘adapts’ the wording to ‘Parent’ or ‘Mother/Father’, he has forsaken that very doctrine which he was entrusted to pass on in the liturgy; he promotes disunity.”

William Oddie, formerly an Anglican pastor and now a Catholic, reminds us that in the whole of the Old Testament God is described as Father 11 times. Jesus, in startling contrast, uses the term at least 170 times, and, except for the cry of dereliction from the cross, always uses this form of address and no other. The unfailing use of this form of address by Jesus confirms our belief that to call God Father is an integral part of Christ’s revelation (What Will Happen to God? p. 104).

The Holy Father as Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (The Ratzinger Report, p. 78), states that it is certainly not accidental that the Apostles’ Creed begins with the confession: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.” This primordial faith in the Creator God (a God who is really God) forms a pivot as it were, about which all other Christian truths turn. The strongest reason for calling God Father, from the Christian point of view, is that God himself through the scriptures has told us how to speak of him.

In Fr Michael Müller’s work the “Apostles Creed” there is a wonderful explanation of why God is called Father and on why that title above all provides Him with dignity. “Why is the first person called Father?” “Because, from all eternity, He begets a Son, who is equal to Him in all things, and who is called the Word, the Wisdom of God. The first person of the Holy Trinity is called God the Father. What we consider and admire in a father is, as has already been said, his great yearning to communicate himself and all his goods, as far as possible, to his children. This yearning of communicating himself and all his goods in God the Father is infinite, it is essential to his nature; for God is infinite love. Love, however, culminates in the reproduction of itself, that is, of generating its own image. The first person in God being Father, eternally begets, as such another self, who is his Son, his most perfect image. He, together with his Son, sends forth a third self, proceeding from both, who is their reciprocal love, the Holy Ghost so that the one divine Essence is quite the same in each of the three divine persons. Hence it is something far greater in God to be Father than to be Lord: for, **as Father, he generates his Son, who is equal to himself; whilst, as Lord, he has created the universe, which is infinitely less than himself.”


#15

We can discern a bit about our relationship with God, and we can see that it is more like a relationship with our fathers instead of our mothers.
For example, creation: God took clay from the earth and gave his life to it. Similarly, our mothers are responsible for carrying us through pregnancy and our matter can most correctly be said to come from her, while the father fertilizes the mother’s contribution with his sperm. Most religions that refer to God as mother worship her as the earth, while the father god is the sky.
Also compare discipline, rule making, etc. and yes, think stereotypically.


#16

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