Friday, February 25, 2011

prayer to a mothering Jesus: updated

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was the outstanding Christian theologian of the eleventh century. I’m not sure that he ever lived through an earthquake, but he certainly lived in a world subject to the whims of nature. Here’s one of his prayers, A Song of Christ’s Goodness, that I find moving, both in light of the earthquake in Christchurch and in light of my own struggle to live as a child of God.

Jesus, as a mother you gather your children to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
in your love and tenderness, remake us,
in your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.

Read it listening to Sinead O’Connor’s This is to Mother You. (From her Gospel Oak CD which was produced in June 1997). (This still leaves the theodicy question – what type of mothering was happening during the quake. But that’s a matter for another time!)

Posted by steve at 08:19 AM


  1. It’s a fine prayer with an interesting development though if I remember right it’s addressed to St Paul. It was very influential in the middle ages, especially among Cistertians, who in turn influenced Julian of Norwich. What a pity that whole spirituality died after her.

    Comment by Tim Bulkeley — February 25, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  2. words are never enough in times like this, yet the poet still speaks our grief for those injured, maimed, dead and those left to mourn.
    may the peace of Christ be with you.

    Comment by Geoff — February 25, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

  3. thanks Geoff

    Comment by steve — February 26, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

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