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Mary is the Answer!

2018 February 9
by Gordon Reid

There is a lot of Sturm und Drang at the moment in the American Episcopal Church about Prayer Book revision, and in particular the desire of some to eliminate masculine names and pronouns for God. I understand the reluctance of most women to make the kind of response that has them say “We are your sons”, and wherever I can I say we and us and our when the text says he and him and his. But I refuse to massacre the English language by saying such sentences as “God show’s us God’s love by revealing God’s nature”. So, as you can see, I am sympathetic to some of the discomfort felt by women with some of the masculine language applied to God, but by no means entirely.

I doubt if there is any permanent solution to this problem, but one glaring omission in all this discussion is the position  of Mary within the Godhead. For me to state it thus baldly will raise many a hackle, but it is Catholic doctrine, and Biblically sound, to say with the Epistle of St Peter that our destiny is to be made  ”partakers of the divine nature”. So our Lady is within the Godhead, (as indeed are the saints) and when we pray through her, we are praying directly to God. We ask her to intercede for us as we ask our Lord to intercede for us to the Father. Human language breaks down when we try to express the mystery of the Holy Trinity, but we often forget the truth that the Godhead consists not only of the three divine Persons but also of a myriad of human persons (and, for all we know, myriads of beings of other planets throughout the universe). There is great truth in the saying “Your God is too small”. As St Athanasius puts it: “God became man that we might become God”.

The majority of the world’s Christians are in Africa and South America, and it is laboring the obvious to say that they are among the poorest people on earth.  They have  problems of  hunger, homelessness, disease.  They would no doubt say that Christians must give their time and energy to comforting and consoling and healing and loving their poor brothers and sisters rather than worrying about masculine or feminine nouns and pronouns for God. They would also certainly say  ”What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for us”, and then launch into the Our Father. A great many of them would then launch into the Hail Mary (most of them saying, in the rosary, ten Hail Marys to just one Our Father!). We should admit that the masculinity of the Christian God is a first-world problem. It is actually also almost entirely an English-language problem. If you speak French, both the word Person and the word Trinity are feminine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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