When I was living in Copan Ruinas, I met a retired Canadian in his seventies, who was travelling throughout Central America to avoid the northern winters. We used to sit at the coffee shop overlooking the central square watching the people. What especially moved him were the mothers with their children. “Look at that little boy!” he would say. “See how he holds his mother’s hand. See how she loves him.”
It was simple observation, yet very true and beautiful. See how she loves him.
It is the image of Mary and the baby Jesus as well. Mary holds Jesus tightly in her arms, full of love for her new born child. See how she loves him.
And as we are created in God’s image, it also reflects God’s love for us. The special love that only a mother can give. See how she loves him. See how God loves us.
I was given a book, Good Goats by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn (1). It was written for people, who struggle believing that God really loves them. It is for people, who feel that they are never good enough and God is always judgemental and demanding.
Dennis Linn tells the story of his friend Hilda, who came to him for counselling about her son. He had just tried to commit suicide, after being involved in crime, drugs and prostitution.
Dennis asked her, as they sat together, to imagine that her son had died. The scene was the judgement throne of God. Hilda was there, too, as her son came in.
“How does your son feel?” Dennis asked.
“He feels so lonely and empty,” Hilda replied.
“And what do you want to do?”
“I want to throw my arms around my son.” She began to cry, as she imagined herself holding her son tightly.
When she finished crying, Dennis asked her, “What does God want to do?” And God stepped down from the throne, just as Hilda did. He embraced her son. All three of them cried together.
After that session, Dennis wrote: “I was stunned. What Hilda taught me in those few minutes is the bottom line of healthy Christian spirituality. God loves us at least as much as the person who loves us the most.”
See how she loves him.
(1) Linn Dennis, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Matthew Linn
Good Goats: Healing our Image of God, Paulist Press
Mahwah New Jersey, 1993
The authors are therapists and retreat leaders. Matthew Linn
is also a Jesuit. Together they are authors of twelve books