For thus says the Lord: carried in her arms, cradled upon her knees, as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.—cf. Isaiah 66:12-13 (NABRE)
Original piece by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash.
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God’s Motherly Love
The love of a mother for her child is a very special one, and that’s validated by God not only in how he designed women to carry their child inside of them for 9 months, but also in how he chose Mary to carry his very own son in the same way, rather than having him descend down from heaven to earth as a grown man.
God’s love for us is infinitely deep and no human terms can fully encapsulate it, and so, as is the case with many passages in the Bible, metaphor is used to give us a glimmer or some sense of God’s qualities. The depth of motherly love is one of the most intense of loves, even in the animal kingdom, where mothers are often vehemently protective of their offspring.
In this passage of Isaiah, God’s love is equated to that of a mother for her child. While we refer to God as the Father, he is neither man nor woman, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity ‘in the image of God’. In their ‘being-man’ and ‘being-woman’, they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness. In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective ‘perfections’ of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.”—Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 369-370
At the same time, Jesus, fully God and fully human, was incarnate as a male. It’s a mystery that he came to us as a man, and not as a woman, or as twins: one man and one woman.
Man and woman are equally important and precious in God’s eyes, and that’s made evident by the fact that he sent Christ to come to us but through a woman, Mary, the Mother of God.