Understanding God’s tender love for his children
By Mauricio Pérez
“Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” (Isaiah 49:14-15)
With these words, God describes through his prophet Isaiah the essence of his love for his people: a faithful and invincible love, a love that never forgets. Who reads these words closely is surprised by an amazing idea: God, who is a Father, explains his love comparing it to the love of a mother for the child she bears in her womb. Why?
These verses from Isaiah state that in essence, the love of God is merciful. To understand God’s love we need to value the meaning of the word “mercy.” It helps to go back to the original word in Hebrew, “rahamim.” This word, in turn, comes from the Hebrew “rehem,” which means “womb.” When we read the original text from Isaiah in Hebrew, we find this word “rehem” when God speaks about the child of the womb, the child of the “rehem.”
The word “mercy,” as we see, is related in Hebrew to the concept of the maternal womb. No love is more tender than the love of a mother for the child she bears in her womb. Mother and child share in that womb the deepest possible human link. Science has discovered that from the hidden maternal womb, a baby hears what his mother hears, a baby is nourished by what his mother eats, a baby even suffers the pain of his mother when she is in sorrow. This intimate link produces in the heart of every mother such a deep and tender love that it even becomes an internal need: Such love is demanded by the heart of a mother.
There is no deeper, more profound and tender love than the love of a mother for the child she bears in her womb. It is with this tender love that God loves his children. The mercy (“rahamim”) that sprouts in the mother’s bosom (“rehem”) involves a series of feelings, including goodness and tenderness, patience and understanding, the will to forgive all.
This way, God is the Father who loves us with the love of a mother. This is why he never forgets us. This is why he always forgives us. This is why God understands us always, even when we fail to express whatever is hidden deep in our heart.
For all fathers and mothers, understanding the merciful love of God signifies a specific task: Every father shall love his children the same way he was loved in turn by his own mother. Every mother shall love her children in such a way that they can in turn be able to love their own children with that same love. This way, through our love, our children will feel in their own lives the tender and merciful love God has for his children.
Be passionate about our faith!
Mauricio I. Perez, a member of St. Monica Parish on Mercer Island, is a Catholic journalist. His website is www.seminans.org.
This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column that appeared in the May 2014 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.