Skyline, Winter - 2007

By Diane Pendola

Mother of God

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Mother of God



            T’is the season to contemplate the birth of Christ– even as we decline to talk about it by wishing each other “Happy Holidays”.  I’ve struggled with this EARTHLINES.  I suppose it is a reflection of my own struggle with the name of Christ and with the knowledge that the name has been used, abused, maligned and made to serve every kind of prejudice, bigotry and human arrogance.  I realize, for many and with good cause, the name of Christ has ceased to be a living name.  Therefore it is with respect for the name that lives uniquely in your heart that I share the one that lives in mine.


            One of the ancient prayers of the Roman Catholic tradition is the “Hail Mary.” It recalls the visitation of the angel Gabriel, declaring to the young girl Mary, that she is to be the Mother of God: 

            “Hail Mary, full of grace,

            the Lord is with thee,” says the angel.

            “Blessed art thou among women

            and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”


            Intercultural philosopher and theologian, Raimon Panikkar, has liberated my thinking about the relationship between the historical Jesus and the cosmic Christ.  This has helped to free me from a pervasive doctrinal and cultural exclusiveness that can make many thoughtful and loving people (myself included) recoil from Christianity. In his book “Christophany” he says, “Jesus is Christ, but Christ cannot be identified completely with Jesus of Nazareth…. Jesus is the symbol of Christ–for Christians, obviously.” (pp. 150-151) In the same way we can look at Mary as the symbol of the Mother of God but the Mother of God is not Mary, not limited to one historical person anymore than the Christ is limited by one historical incarnation.  Each of us is a Christ.  Each of us is a Mother of God. “Jesus Christ is a Son of God, but we are also that–and all of creation is a trinitarian adventure.” (p. 175).  We each become a Mother of God when we are full of grace, and we each become Christ when we say “yes” to allowing divinity to be born and become fully human in and through our lives.

 In laboring to give words to what I’m trying to share with you here, these two prayer-meditations on the Mother of God were born. I offer them in all innocence and humility.


Mother of God, blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ.

            Christ who is love but who is also the unloved, the hated, the despised.

            Christ who is light but who is also dark, unknown and unknowable.

            Christ who is truth but also the plurality of truth, paradox          

            and the unutterability of silence.

            Christ who is life but who is also dying, death, the sadness of the unlit wick    
            and the sorrow of the quenched flame.

            Christ who is goodness but whose goodness holds every evil along with its
promise of transformation.

            Christ who is beauty but whose fuse descends into horror’s depths.

            Christ who is peace but who disturbs our sleep with a sword’s violent clashing
and a fire’s consuming flame.

            Christ who is polarity embodied, becoming a third, in the completion of

                        Fruit of Cosmos and Divinity, Earth and Spirit

                        Hope of Creation

                        The possibility of Justice, Mercy, Forgiveness,

            Christ, the cosmic gift.

            NOT the property of christians, of popes, of fundamentalists or

            of colonialists, or catholics, or protestants, or jews,

            of muslims or pagans, or hindus, or buddhists or shamans…

            Christ, the divine child, the divine gift,

            freely given to all creation,

            the hope of every human heart.


            Christ– how can we free you from the bonds of our own ignorance?

            Christ– how can you free us from the confines of our own narrow minds?

            Christ–the name above all names.

                        Christ– Shall we let you go,

                        nameless now,

                        to name yourself anew

            in the womb of our God-mothering hearts?



*All quotes are from Christophany: The fullness of Man, by Raimon Panikkar, Orbis Books, 2004.



Mother of God

Mother of God Mother of God, blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Matter of God, Blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Matrix of God, blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Spun from our bodies, Christ Sung from our tongues, Christ
Born from our struggles, Christ
Raised from our dying, Christ,
The new creation, Christ,
Each moment, each moment, Christ
Mother of God, blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Matter of God, Blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Matrix of God, blessed is the fruit of your womb– Christ
Feminine face, receptive grace
Through love and labor
The Light of the world Is born (@December 20007 Diane Pendola, intended to be sung as a chant)

May Blessed Peace be with you this season



©Diane Pendola, Winter 2007. You are welcome to print or make a copy in electronic form for personal use or sharing with interested persons as long as the copyright notice is not removed or altered. Please do not print it in any other publication, or sell it, by itself or as part of another work, without express written permission of the author.

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