Marian images serve as compensation for the core male images of king, lord, and father. But compensation is only a partial remedy.
In recent years a number of religious thinkers have begun to speak of Mary as the feminine face of God. Whether they appeal to the history of religions, to psychology, to the Christian history of Marian piety and theology, or to current Latin American and Hispanic devotional practices, these thinkers seek to remedy one of the problems of male-dominated religion by stating that god has a feminine dimension, which is made known through Mary.
Since the Reformation, Protestant traditions have been shifting and changing. Beliefs about Mary are no exception.
Growing numbers of Mexican Americans are converting to Pentecostalism from Catholicism, and some are bringing their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with them. In many cases, this devotion occurs mainly in the privacy of the home, but Guadalupe’s religious and cultural importance cannot be stifled. Pentecostalism, which places great importance on the inerrancy of scripture, honors Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus but does not feel there is enough biblical evidence to give her any larger role in the work of salvation.
When Christ became human, he also became part of the vast body of the cosmos.
In our day concerns about ecology are rising. Climate change, pollution, and extinction of plant and animal species make us question harmful human treatment of the natural world.
Human beings will never understand why suffering exists. But even in the midst of our pain, there is God.
We all know what it is to feel pain and loss. Whether from the loss of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis, or a natural disaster, everyone experiences suffering.
According to Robin Ryan, an associate professor of systematic theology at Catholic Theological Union and a Passionist priest, the presence of suffering is the one thing that most challenges our faith. “Suffering isn’t an elective course,” he says. “It’s not optional. Even if a person lives in a mansion and has a great job, suffering touches everybody and affects everybody’s faith.”
The biblical Sophia is more than metaphor; she is an expression of the presence of God.
At a retreat where I referred to Sophia several times in my first presentation, a man suddenly stood up and blurted out: “Just who is this Sophia? Stop assuming that everyone here knows who you are talking about!” His interruption startled me, and it reminded me that many do not know this jewel in scripture, that Sophia is hidden from many.
The first step to developing a relationship with Jesus is figuring out which Jesus you're looking for.
Have you ever wondered why a religious sister chose to join the Dominicans instead of the Poor Clares? Or why a priest entered a religious order instead of being ordained in his local diocese? Or why a man became a Franciscan brother?
Would you recognize the word of God? Not the words from the Bible, which are sufficiently formal and weighty to convey proper divine authority, not to mention familiar. But that voice calling in the desert. That small, still feeling in our heart. The God who is still speaking to us in our daily lives.