Fr. Shenan J. Boquet: The Great God-Given Dignity of Motherhood

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By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, Spirit & Life Blog, Human Life International, May 13, 2024

As president of Human Life International, Fr. Boquet is a leading expert on the international pro-life and family movement, having journeyed to nearly 90 countries on pro-life missions over the last decade. Father Boquet works with pro-life and family leaders in 116 counties that partner with HLI to proclaim and advance the Gospel of Life. Read his full bio here.

“God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood (Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 131:2), which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents.” ~Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 239

Christians typically speak of God as our “Father.” This is for good reason. Christ Himself spoke in His prayers to the “Father.” When asked by his apostles to teach them how to pray, He taught them a prayer that we now know as the Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer).

And yet, in his apostolic letter on the “dignity of women,” Mulieris dignitatem, Pope St. John Paul II says, “in many passages [of Scripture] God’s love is presented as the ‘masculine’ love of the bridegroom and father (cf. Hosea 11:1-4; Jer 3:4-19), but also sometimes as the ‘feminine’ love of a mother” (no. 8). He highlights several Scriptural passages that speak of God as evincing the qualities of a mother. The prophet Isaiah, for instance, wrote, “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’” (49:14-15).

Elsewhere, Isaiah writes this evocative passage: “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Is 66: 13). The Psalmist uses much the same analogy, writing, “Like a child quieted at its mother’s breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul. O Israel, hope in the Lord” (Ps 131:2-3). …

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