Litany for God Our Mother

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I came across this hymn “Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth” written by Jean Janzen (1991) and based on text from the 14th Century mystic Julian of Norwich.

Mothering God, you gave me birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are my rain, my wind, my sun.

Mothering Christ, you took my form,
offering me your food of light,
grain of new life, and grape of love,
your very body for my peace.

Mothering Spirit, nurturing one,
in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow
until I flow’r, until I know.

The beauty and simplicity of Janzen's lyrics were part of the inspiration for this week’s Mother’s Day litany. I know that there are many for whom motherhood is a painful subject. I wanted to create space here for those who are not mothers but wish they were, for those for whom motherhood has caused pain, for those whose mothers were unhealthy or hurtful, for those who have lost mothers or children, and for those who don't aspire to motherhood.

There are also those of us women who grew up in churchy contexts who were taught that motherhood was the pinnacle of our aspirations in life. That woman = husband + child. That somehow, on our own we were unworthy of existence. So I also want to create space for those who have had to do battle against those ideas. You are worthy of the loving nurture of God; God's eye is on mothers and non-mothers and non-traditional mothers alike.


Great Mother God
Who created mothers
And invented mothering,
Mother us now:
    Into your peace and comfort,
    Into your nurturing love,
    Into the kindness of your presence,
    Into the shadow of your wings.

We know that mothering takes many forms,
And is done by many kinds of people
In different ways and situations;
Give us the wisdom of your mother-heart.

We know that love is risky:
There’s always the possibility of pain,
The risk of disappointment or loss.
Give us the courage of your mother-heart.

We bring to you the cares of the brokenhearted.
We bring to you the pain of the disappointed.
We bring to you the hardship of the overwhelmed.
We bring to you the ache of the separated.

Teach us the worth of our own souls,
And the value of our existence.

Give us your mother-love:
To heal us,
To nourish us,
To share freely with the world.
Amen

 

 


 

Litany for Rest and Balance

Because I am a thirty-something mom whose main daily job is to take care of two small people, I end up talking to a lot of other thirty-something moms in a similar grind. The refrain I hear over and over again is: "I need rest. I need balance." We are all trying to figure out how to balance our responsibilities to our families, our household responsibilities, our relationship needs and responsibilities, our community responsibilities, our career responsibilities, and still find time for some self-actualization, soul care, and body care in the midst of it. It's tricky. I realize it's not just moms who are preoccupied with this problem either, nor is it just parents. I predict that this won't be the last prayer I write about rest and balance, but here it is, the first.
 

God, we hear your invitation to us:
“Come to me, you who are weary and heavy burdened. I will give you rest.”

We acknowledge our souls’ need for rest and quiet nourishment.
We lay down our burdens.
We acknowledge our souls’ need of connection with You.
We turn our intentions toward You now.

We confess our tendency to overlook rest as a necessary part of soul and self care.
We confess our pride in thinking that our work is so important that we may not set it down.
We confess our readiness to believe that what we do determines our worth.
We confess our obsession with productivity, results, measurable progress.
We confess our neglect of the good soil of our souls.
We confess our tendency to forget that it is in You that we live and move and have our being
   and that Your love is better than life.

We ask now for body, mind, spirit, whole-person nourishment.
  For rest and resurrection,
  For new life,
  For healing and consolation of our souls.
We ask for help managing our time and activities so that our
  In-fillings
  Keep up with our
  out-pourings.

Where we have overspent ourselves
Refresh us.
Where we have misplaced our priorities
Re-arrange us.
Where we have said yes when we should have said no
Remind us.

We thank You for meaningful work; for blessings and burdens.
We thank You for rest.
May we become present to our great need for
Daily bread: the presence of Christ in our lives.

Amen