A review essay by Aditya Putcha
Heart Talks with Mother God
By Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver
Liturgical Press, 1995
Hardback, 48 pages
(This book is no longer in print, but some copies remain available through various used book sources.)
Last year, at age 34, my life was profoundly changed when my pastor told me that God transcends gender and can be worshiped as a female. The idea of a loving mother figure watching over me at all times provided a sense of peace previously unbeknownst to me. I found that my personal and professional frustrations no longer mattered because I could trust that She realizes what’s best for me.
I only wish I’d known the Divine Feminine my entire life. I have experienced warm, tender love from my human mother often throughout my life and this motherly image of God of speaks to me in a special way. Perhaps most surprisingly, I, as a grown man, found that the most meaningful description of what God-as-Mother is like came first through reading a children’s book! It’s called Heart Talks with Mother God. I am so disappointed to find that this book is now out of print.
Yet I want to tell you about it anyway, because it means so much to me. Heart Talks with Mother God is an absolutely beautiful book that gives children the privilege of experiencing God’s mothering love at a young age rather than having to reach adulthood, as I did, before becoming aware of that concept—even though it is right there in the Bible. The attractively illustrated book with text by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver contains ten short meditations designed to acquaint children with Mother God and to feel Her love.
The following two sections of the book (the fourth and fifth meditations) are my favorites:
“God, a Nurturing Mother”
Using parts of Isaiah as inspiration, this meditation is written from a first person perspective, as though you are a beloved child listening to Mother God as She talks directly to you. She describes cuddling you, kissing you, holding you, wiping away your tears, and many other loving actions with which children will identify. She also touchingly has you think of a time you were in great emotional pain and suggests you imagine Her comforting you as you rest in Her arms. Furthermore, She tells you to think of a person in your life who acts like Her, which serves the dual purpose of getting you to appreciate that person more and helping you learn to recognize God’s love shining through in humans. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isa. 66:13).
“Mother God Watches Over You”
Using Matthew 6:26 as inspiration, this short meditation contains many more beautiful words as though spoken by Mother God. She describes how She is watching over us at all times—from the beginning of the day, during routine activities, at awkward moments, while we need comfort, when we feel neglected, as we struggle with tasks, and all the way through bedtime and the assurance of Her presence as we sleep. The one constant throughout all of that is Her loving us dearly.
The book’s other sections, each a separate meditation, are as follows:
“God Birthing the World” This is the first meditation and is just what it sounds like—Mother God’s describing what it was like for Her envisioning all the things in the world and bringing them into being. It sets the stage nicely for the book’s other entries.
“The Parable of the Lost Coin” Essentially an expansion, from Mother God’s first person perspective, of Jesus’s parable in Luke 15:8-10, this retelling is a nice read for any of us when we don’t feel special.
“The Parable of the Leaven” Inspired by the metaphor in Matthew 13:33, this might most appeal to people who love baking. I really liked how it has Mother God teaching us to spread love just as leaven permeates the bread, sharing loving kindness with everyone we meet —even a gas station attendant or a mail carrier. I did not become Christian until my early 30s; in the beginning what jumped out at me was the vast love in the air every time other Christians surrounded me.
“Mother Hen” Inspired by the simile in Matthew 23:37, this will probably appeal to observers of chickens or any of God’s creatures who show loving care and protection over their young.
“Grandmother God” I personally love Kevin Smith’s young nurturing vision of God in the movie Dogma. However, this section of Heart Talks with Mother God is well written and should really please those who prefer their mother figures elderly. If we are free to worship God in the form of any gender we are certainly free to worship the ageless Holy One in the form of any age group or physical appearance.
“Mother Eagle” What I like about this image, based in Deuteronomy 32:11, is its lesson that just as the mother eagle teaches her young to fly, Mother God as eagle helps us become strong and brave in order to give God’s love to others. I still am learning this lesson as an adult, so the opportunity for children to get taught the concept is priceless.
“Mary, Mother of Jesus Shows Us God’s Mothering Love” and “Mary Shows Us the Givingness of God” These final two meditations use Mary’s love for Jesus and Mary’s love for humanity, respectively, to illustrate Mother God’s love for us. Speaking as a United Methodist who’s never been taught to pray to Mary, I feel these stories will particularly speak to Catholics but can help any of us. Years before being introduced to the Divine Feminine, I was moved when I was going through a bad place, longing to be nurtured, and someone told me “Remember Mother Mary is there to nurture all of us.”
Helps for Parents, Teachers, and Adult Caregivers
The book comes with an introduction explaining beautifully why the notion of a Mother God has a strong basis in Christianity, including various scripture passages, and how it can do wonders for males like me as well as for females.
Towards the end of the book (right before some beautiful original songs about Mother God’s love) there is a section on preparing children for each meditation. Among the methods described are encouraging children to find a spot to spend time alone with Mother God (which seems wonderful for a child’s imagination) and sitting on Mother God’s lap in order to feel her comfort.
Just two months ago I found that the only thing which comforted me on a day I felt heartbreakingly useless and worthless was sitting in Mother God’s lap and letting Her hold, pat, and comfort me until I felt completely soothed. When I soon after found that there is a book that teaches children such behavior from an early age I knew it was something about which I needed to spread the word. It saddens me that it is no longer readily available, but I urge you to try to find a copy in a library or at a local or online bookstore.
Although I highly recommend this for anyone with small children, its message is for all of us. Even if you don’t have children of your own or interact with children as a teacher, friend, or relative, you are still God’s child— and Heart Talks with Mother God can help you tremendously if you are just willing to surrender yourself to Her love. Perhaps this simplicity of faith is what Jesus had in mind in telling us to “become as little children” (Matthew 18:3).
© 2016 by Christian Feminism Today