Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?”
At one point, not so long ago, this question would have been seen as a very far-fetched exaggeration. No doubt it was written with that in mind, and no doubt there is a fundamental reality that does not change, for the human soul and the world of ultimate reality to which it opens does not change. But this world – ah, this world is “under the Prince of Lies” and the illusions that fill our screens and our minds can lead us far, far away from the realities of our hearts, until the thread is cut, God turns on the light, and we encounter Reality. Not “reality TV.” Reality. God’s world.
When the women’s movement was really getting underway – part of the 60’s revolution – ah, the hopes that were aroused! As it seemed women were more gentle, more loving, wars would end: there would be no Vietnam War if women were in charge! It was presumed that change in social position and status would not affect the person of woman who, throughout the Christian ages in the West, had been cultivated on the model of Mary, Mother of God. But such was not to be, and the results are all around us. It is, as the theologian von Balthasar noted, a “monosex” world, And yet we are not made that way. Children need a mother’s love: it is the basic symbol of goodness in ancient Chinese orthography, it is the single best loved symbol in Christianity beyond, perhaps, the crucifix of Our Lord. A mother and her child.
So what do we do, in a world in which it would appear tenderness for children is all too often absent, in which the most basic loyalties seem so often shockingly violated in the name of other “values” centered on the “self”? The answer is given us through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah: “Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Greater than any horror of human failure, blindness, egotism, sin is the infinitely greater mercy and love of God. He does not change, and does not forget. Any of us.