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CHAPTER LX

“The Kind, loving, Mother”

BUT now behoveth to say a little more of this forthspreading, as I understand in the meaning of our Lord: how that we be brought again by the Motherhood of Mercy and Grace into our Nature’s place, where that we were made by the Motherhood of Nature-Love: which Kindly-love, it never leaveth us.

Our Kind Mother, our Gracious Mother,236236Our Mother by Nature, our Mother in Grace. for that He would all wholly become our Mother in all things, He took the Ground of His Works full low and full mildly in the Maiden’s womb. (And that He shewed in the First [Shewing] where He brought that meek Maid afore the eye of mine understanding in the simple stature as she was when she conceived.) That is to say: our high God is sovereign Wisdom of all: in this low place He arrayed and dight Him full ready in our poor flesh, Himself to do the service and the office of Motherhood in all things.

The Mother’s service is nearest, readiest, and surest: [nearest, for it is most of nature; readiest, for it is most of love; and surest ]237237 These clauses, probably omitted by mistake, are in S. de Cressy's version. for it is most of truth. This office none might, nor could, nor ever should do to the 148 full, but He alone. We know that all our mothers’ bearing is [bearing of] us to pain and to dying: and what is this but that our Very Mother, Jesus, He—All-Love—beareth us to joy and to endless living?—blessed may He be! Thus He sustaineth238238S. de Cressy has "sustained." See lvii. p. 139. us within Himself in love; and travailed, unto the full time that He would suffer the sharpest throes and the most grievous pains that ever were or ever shall be; and died at the last. And when He had finished, and so borne us to bliss, yet might not all this make full content to His marvellous love; and that sheweth He in these high overpassing words of love: If I might suffer more, I would suffer more.

He might no more die, but He would not stint of working: wherefore then it behoveth Him to feed us; for the dearworthy love of Motherhood hath made Him debtor to us. The mother may give her child suck of her milk, but our precious Mother, Jesus, He may feed us with Himself, and doeth it, full courteously and full tenderly, with the Blessed Sacrament that is precious food of my life; and with all the sweet Sacraments He sustaineth us full mercifully and graciously. And so meant He in this blessed word where that He said: It is I239239 "I it am." that Holy Church preacheth thee and teacheth thee. That is to say: All the health and life of Sacraments, all the virtue and grace of my Word, all the Goodness that is ordained in Holy Church for thee, it is I. The Mother may lay the child tenderly to her breast, but our tender Mother, Jesus, He may homely lead us into His blessed breast, by His sweet open side, and shew therein part of the Godhead and the joys of Heaven, with spiritual sureness 149 of endless bliss. And that shewed He in the Tenth [Shewing], giving the same understanding in this sweet word where He saith: Lo! how I loved thee; looking unto [the Wound in] His side, rejoicing.

This fair lovely word Mother, it is so sweet and so close in Nature of itself240240"so kynd of the self." that it may not verily be said of none but of Him; and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all. To the property of Motherhood belongeth natural love, wisdom, and knowing; and it is good: for though it be so that our bodily forthbringing be but little, low, and simple in regard of our spiritual forthbringing, yet it is He that doeth it in the creatures by whom that it is done. The Kindly,241241 "kynde," "kind." loving Mother that witteth and knoweth the need of her child, she keepeth it full tenderly, as the nature and condition of Motherhood will. And as it waxeth in age, she changeth her working, but not her love. And when it is waxen of more age, she suffereth that it be beaten242242 "bristinid." in breaking down of vices, to make the child receive virtues and graces. This working, with all that be fair and good, our Lord doeth it in them by whom it is done: thus He is our Mother in Nature by the working of Grace in the lower part for love of the higher part. And He willeth that we know this: for He will have all our love fastened to Him. And in this I saw that all our duty that we owe, by God’s bidding, to Fatherhood and Motherhood, for [reason of] God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood is fulfilled in true loving of God; which blessed love Christ worketh in us. And this was shewed in all [the Revelations] and especially in the high plenteous words where He saith: It is I that thou lovest.

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