How we be bowte ageyn and forthspred be mercy and grace of our swete, kynde, and ever lovyng Moder Jesus; and of the propertes of Moderhede. But Jesus is our very Moder, not fedyng us with mylke but with Himselfe, opening His syde onto us and chalengyng al our love.
Now I must say more of this forthspreading,
this outflowing, as I understand our Lord’s meaning,
how we are bought again
by the Motherhood of mercy and grace
into our kindred state,
reborn by the Motherhood of kindred love;
which never leaves us.
Our kindred Mother,
our gracious Mother –
for He would in all holiness
become our Mother in everything –
He founded His work
in the maiden’s womb.
And that was in His first showing
where he brought that meek maid
before the eye of my understanding,
in her simple stature,
as when she conceived.
Our God is the sovereign wisdom of all.
He arrayed Himself in this low place,
equipped Himself fully in our poor flesh,
in the service and office of Motherhood,
This service is nearest,
for it is truest.
This office none might, could, nor ever would,
wear to the full but He alone.
We know all our mothers’ labours
bear us to pain and death.
but what is that of our true Mother, Jesus?
He, all love, bears us to joy and endless life,
blessed may He be.
Thus He sustains us within Himself in love,
laboured into the full term
that He would suffer the sharpest throes,
the gravest pains that ever were,
or ever shall be,
and died at the last.
And when He had done this,
and borne us to bliss,
yet might not all this
witness to His marvelous love?
He showed that in these high, surpassing words of love:
If I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
He might die no more, but He would not stint of working.
for it behoves Him to feed us,
for the precious love of motherhood
has 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 does, full curteously and tenderly,
with the blessed sacrament,
the precious food of true life.
And with all the sweet sacraments
He sustains us fully
mercifully and graciously.
As He meant in this blessed word,
I am what Holy Church preaches and teaches you.
That is to say,
all the health and life of sacraments,
all the virtue and grace of my word,
all that goodness,
ordained in Holy Church for thee,
The mother may lay the child tenderly to her breast,
but our tender Mother Jesus,
He may lay us, homely, to His blessed breast
by His sweet, open side,
and show therein part of the Godhead,
the joys of Heaven,
the spiritual certainty of endless bliss.
He showed that in the tenth shewing,
giving the same understanding in this sweet word
where He said,
See how I loved thee,
lookinging into His side, delighting.
This fair, lovely word Mother,
is so sweet in its nature
that it may be truly said of none but Him
and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all.
To the properties of Motherhood belong
kindred love, wisdom, and knowing
and it is good;
for though our bodily birth is little, low, and simple
compared to our spiritual birth,
yet in the creatures
in whom this is done.
it is He that does it:
the kind, Loving Mother
that knows and understands her child’s needs,
keeps it full tenderly
as is motherhood’s nature and condition.
As the child grows older,
she changes how she works but not her love.
As it grows older still,
she lets it suffer more
the result of misbehaviour
so the child may learn virtue and grace.
Our Lord does this,
by all that is fair and good,
for those who are His cildren.
Thus He is our natural Mother
by the working of grace
in the lower parte
for love of the heyer parte,
and He will that we know it.
For He will have all our love fastened on Him.
In this I saw all the debt we owe,
at Gods bidding,
is fatherhood and motherhood,
for God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood is fulfilled
in our true love of God,
which blessed love Christ works in us;
and this was wholly shown
in those high, plentious words,
where He says,
I AM that that you love.
Jesus usith more tenderness in our gostly bringing forth; thow He suffrith us to fallyn in knowing of our wretchidness, He hastily resysith us, not brekyng His love for our trespass, for He may not suffre His Child to perish. For He will that we have the properte of a Child fleing to Him alway in our necessite.
And in growing our spirit He is more tender,
and caring beyond any other;
our soul is so much prized in His sight.
He kindles understanding, directs our ways,
eases our conscience and comforts our soul,
He lights our heart to know and love,
in part, His blissful Godhead,
His sweet Manhood and blessed passion,
marvelling, courteously, His high, surpassing goodness,
making us love all that He loves,
for His love,
and to be pleased with Him and all His works.
If we fall, He quickly raises us
by His lovely care and gracious touch.
Strengthened by His sweet working and grace,
we choose willingly to be His servants
and His lovers, lastingly, without end.
He lets some of us fall harder,
and seemingly more grievously,
than we ever did before.
so we, that are not all wise,
think all that we have done is come to naught;
but it is not so.
For we need to fall,
we need to feel our fall.
If we felt nothing we could not know
how feeble, how wretched we are without Him.
Nor fully know our maker’s marvellous love.
For we shall sense truly,
in Heaven without end,
that though we grievously sinned in this life,
we were never less in His love,
nor less prized in His sight.
By the test of this fall
we gain high, marvellous knowledge
of love in God without end.
For strong and wonderful is that love
which cannot, nor will not,
be broken for trespass.
This is one rewarding understanding.
Another is the lowness,
the meekness that we get,
by sensing our fall.
We shall be raised high by it in Heaven,
which might never have happened
without that meekness.
We must feel it – if we do not,
our fall will not profit us.
Commonly, first we fall,
then we feel it,
both by the mercy of God.
A mother may sometimes let a child fall,
or be discomforted, that they may learn,
but never, for love, puts it in peril.
Though an earthly mother’s child may die.
Our heavenly Mother, Jesus,
will not let His children perish.
For He is almighty,
all wisdom, and all love,
as is no-one but He.
Blessed may He be.
But often, when our falling
and our wretchednes is shown us,
we are in such a dread,
so greatly ashamed of ourselves,
that we do not know where to put ourselves.
But then our courteous Mother
wants us not to fly away.
For Him, nothing would be worse.
But He would have us like a little child,
who, when it is unsettled or afraid,
runs hastily to its Mother
for help with all its might.
He would have us do this
like a meek child, saying,
“My kind Mother,
my gracious Mother,
my precious Mother,
have mercy on me.
I have made myself foul and unlike you,
and I neither may nor can amend it
without your help and grace.”
And if we feel not swiftly eased,
we may be sure He uses
a wise mother’s ways.
For if He feels it is more profit
to us to mourn and weep,
He suffers it with compassion
and with pity ’til the best time,
He wishes that we use those childlike ways
that always kindly trusts its Mother’s love
in happiness, and in woe.
He wishes us to bring ourselves strongly
to trust the Holy Church,
and find there our precious Mother
in solace of true understanding
with all the blessed communion.
For one single person
may often seem broken
in one’s own eyes,
but the whole body of Holy Church
was never broken,
nor ever shall be,
And so it is a sure thing,
a good and gracious thing,
to wish meekly and mightily
to be sustained and one with our Mother,
Holy Church, that is Christ Jesus.
For mercy’s food, His precious blood and water,
is plentiful, to make us fair and clean.
The blessed wounds of our Saviour
are open in joy to heal us.
The sweet, gracious hands of our Mother
are ready and diligent around us.
For He in all this work
uses the office of a kind nurse,
that has nothing else to do
except to be concerned
with the salvation of her Child.
It is His office to save us,
it is His worship to do it,
it is His will that we know it.
He wants us to love Him sweetly,
to trust Him fully and meekly.
And this He showed in these gracious words:
I keep you fully and surely.
kind: in the original the word used is dreadful. In Mediaeval English, dread implied awe rather than apprehensive fear.