I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a young seminarian studying Hebrew 101. We had just hit the verb declensions; (you remember: “I am; you are; he or she is.”) The Hebrew word for the third person is “Yahweh” (he or she, is). It’s the word God used when Moses asked, “What shall we call you,” God asked to be called “he” or “she.”
What?! a woman? I can’t remember how my professor calmed my theological conundrum, but it wasn’t many classes later that I hit the OT book of the Wisdom of Solomon.
This book is written in Greek not in Hebrew and is found translated only in the Catholic Bibles. It states, “God loves only those who dwell in Wisdom” (7:28). “She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place (7:29).” She’s a woman!
All this femininity in the Old Testament; why don’t we hear more about it? God doesn’t seem to mind being called a woman, why do we hesitate? Well, because “we” are men. We wrote the Old Testament and the New Testament and all the other commentaries. Let’s face it: men have made God a man, but God is not a man, never has been, never will be. The name, Yahweh, proves it, and the feminine noun, wisdom, confirms it. God is not male.
So, now what? After all these years of praying to a male God, can we switch? Well, the Catholics pray to Mary; she’s not God but she’s the mother of God; and that’s pretty close. Besides Mary, the Catholics have a whole army of woman-saints available. But none of these women are God. Jesus is the son of God and the wisdom of God is the Holy Spirit. But what about God, the creator? Can’t we pray to her as a woman? The mother of us all?
Of course, we can. What are the major reasons we pray now?
▪ Petition: We want something. It could be material like money or spiritual like patience with the kids. Talking to our mom has always helped with things like this. Isn’t this what mothers do, and who could do it better than God?
▪ Discussion: We want somebody to listen. Men don’t listen; that’s a fact. They just want to fix it. Women know how to listen; just think how wonderful my Mother-God must be at listening.
▪ Gratitude: We have so much to be thankful for. Tune out the political hogwash and breathe in America while you try to find one country that’s better. Then think of your family and friends; that’s enough. Now turn to your Mother-God and say, “Thanks, mom.”
▪ Problem-solving: I bet you thought men were our problem-solvers. Wrong. There’s always a woman behind that man who’s making the decisions, but you don’t see her: the president’s wife, the congressmen’s wives. They’re always there, but they’re just like my God — behind the scenes and completely invisible to me.
I know God is visible to some people. Not in a human way; nobody sees God. But in a very real imaginary way. St. Paul’s visions appeared to him as vivid as the resurrection visions had appeared to the Apostles twenty years before (1Cor. 9:1).
But if you’re anything like me, prayer of any kind does not come easy. Even when I switch my image to a Woman-God, I am still faced with the impossibility of piercing this impenetrable veil of mortality and I must pretend. But I think It’s just easier to pretend when she’s a she.
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