Our Sympathetic Mother

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St. Clement of Alexandria (Wikipedia, OthodoxWiki), from Who is the Rich Man Who Will be Saved?:

Consider the mysteries of love, and you will then have a vision of the bosom of the Father, whom the only-begotten God alone has declared. God himself is love, and for the sake of this love he made himself known. And while the unutterable nature of God is as a Father, his sympathy with us is as a Mother. It was in his love that the Father became the nature which derives from woman [or, 'feminine', ἐθηλύθη], and the great proof of this is the Son whom he begot from himself, and the love that was the fruit produced from his love. For this he came down, for this he assumed human nature, for this he willingly endured the sufferings of humanity, that by being reduced to the measure of our weakness, he might raise us to the measure of his power. And just before he poured out his offering, when he gave himself as a ransom, he left us a new testament: “I give you my love.” What is the nature and extent of this love? For each of us he laid down his life, the life which was worth the whole universe, and he requires in return that we should do the same for each other.1
  • 1. Clement, Who is the Rich Man Who Will be Saved? 37.1-2 in Clement of Alexandria: The Exhortation to the Greeks, ed. G. W. Butterworth, Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1960, 346).