attentive love

RIchard Rohr continues his Maternal Face of God series today with these words:

Sara Ruddick, in her book Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace, speaks of the attentive love of a mother. In summary, Ruddick says mothers are characterized by attentive love. They have to keep watching this new life; they have to keep listening and adjusting to the needs of the child. It is necessary to recognize a new agenda with the growth of the child. If the mother cannot transform herself into attentive love, she quite simply cannot be a mother. She has to learn early on that life is about change, not about “standing your ground,” which is not going to help a child. All growth is about changing and adjusting to what is needed at this moment, with these tears, and by this child. The mother cannot run to abstract truths. Philosophy and theology courses at that point would probably be boring to her.

I cannot help but think that the present persecution of the Religious Sisters by the Vatican reflects this difference. The Sisters, by and large, went toward human need and pain with “attentive love.” The clergy, I being one of them, can easily stay in abstract theories and theologies and never get to love at all.

The case of the Religious Sisters  came up in discussion recently and I was quite perturbed by the seemingly simplistic and insensitive attitude that all the Vatican were doing was ‘asking the sisters to follow Catholic teaching’. This implies the Sisters do not wish to follow teaching and their total dismissal, rather than consideration, is shocking. Surely as we learn more of God, teaching changes. We used to teach that the world was flat … that we learnt more and we change our teaching!

How can we ensure that we are carriers of that attentive love while not falling into what can often be the sad judgementalism of disconnected theories and theologies?

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