Motherhood: Preparation for Heaven

A Sermon by Rev. James P. Cooper

And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!” {50} “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mat 12:49-50)

The doctrine of the Sacred Scripture tells us, in explaining the meaning of the fourth commandment, that by honor thy … mother a spiritual angel understands the Church, but a celestial angel understands the Lord s Divine Wisdom. (SS 67)

If we add to this the teaching that all things in the universe have been created “from firsts to lasts and thence into intermediates” (which means that all things come from God as a source. His life flows out from Him as the heat and light from a sun. This influx is received in the lowest things of nature, and from them then arise more complex forms of life). From these teachings we can then draw the parallel teaching that the Divine Itself flows out from God.

It is received in the Celestial Kingdom as Divine Wisdom; it is received in the Spiritual Kingdom as the Lord s spiritual Church; and in the Natural kingdom, that is, the world, as motherhood. This is why everywhere in the Word mother corresponds to the Church.

As we read in the Third Lesson, the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Church tell us that the earth … is the common mother … for it receives the seeds of all plants, opens them, carries them as in the womb, and then nourishes them, and brings them forth … and afterwards clothes and supports them.& That the earth is the common mother … is illustrated by this that the earth in the Word represents the Church; and that the Church is the common mother. (TCR 585)

After having been received in the natural kingdom as motherhood, that influx of life then returns to the intermediate degree, that is, children, born in the world of nature, are nurtured and taught and prepared for spiritual life which they then receive when their natural body is laid aside in death.

Focusing on the role of the church as a mother as a means of receiving those gifts

“Mother” properly = the affection of truth, which makes the Church in man. (AC 4257E), so we regard the church as our spiritual mother.



In the spiritual sense, by to honor … the mother is meant to reverence and love … the Church Infants and Angels in the Heavens know no other … mother; because there they are born anew from the Lord through the Church. TCR 306

That by mother, in the spiritual sense, is meant the Church, is because as a mother on earth feeds her children with natural food, so the Church feeds them with spiritual food; and therefore the Church is called mother in the Word. The New Jerusalem means the New Church which is being instaurated by the Lord at this day& This Church, and not a former one, is wife, and mother, in this sense. TCR 3062

The role of the church in regeneration is like that of a mother in birth



It is known that the soul of man commences in the ovum of the mother, and is afterwards perfected in her womb.& The like is the case when a man is born again. AC 35704

Nurturing, protecting, preparing for heaven

Angel mothers


As these female Angels … had loved all infants from a tenderness as it were maternal, they receive them as their own; and the infants also … love them as their own mothers. There are as many infants with each Angel as she longs for from spiritual storge. HH 332

Early child care by loving mothers prepares a person for spiritual life



The love of the children with the mother is as the heart … because the heart corresponds to love … and love from the will is with the mother.& With spiritual men there is conjugial conjunction … from justice, because the mother has gestated them in the womb, with pain has brought them forth, and afterwards with unwearied care suckles, nourishes, washes, dresses, and educates them. CL 284

It is an innate quality of women to care for children, even if not their own



It appears as if mothers had the love of infants from nourishing them in the womb from their own blood, and from the consequent appropriation of their own life, and thus from a sympathetic union; but still this is not the origin of that love; for if, unknown to the mother, another infant were to be substituted after birth … she would love it with equal tenderness.& CL 3932

Such care is not without its reward for mothers. There is communication with the heaven of innocences which brings its particular delights



That the communication and the derivative conjunction of innocences is especially effected through the touch is clearly seen from the pleasantness of carrying them in the arms, embracing and kissing them, especially with mothers, who are [delighted] by laying their mouths and faces upon their bosoms, and at the same time with the touch of the palms of their hands there; in general, by their sucking their breasts & and also by softly touching their naked bodies, and by the unwearied pains in washing and dressing them upon their knees. CL 3962

The Lord is the source of all good and truth

But the Lord does not act apart from means

His influx into to the world comes by means of the Church in the heavens

The Church is represented in the Word by the word “mother”

Which means that we can learn about how the church works in our lives by studying the ideals, responsibilities, and uses of motherhood


It can be hard to give thanks to the Lord. He is not with us in the natural world. His presence with us is a matter of faith.

It is not nearly so hard to remember the endless gifts that a mother gives.

As we think about our mothers, let us be reminded of our Mother the Church

As we think about the Church and the benefits that come to us through it, et us give thanks to the Lord.




It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With harmonious sound. For You, LORD, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. (PSA 921-4)

1st Lesson: GEN 1715-21

Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. {16} “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

{17} Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” {18} And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” {19} Then God said “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. {20} “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. {21} “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”

2nd Lesson: MAT 1246-50

While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. {47} Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” {48} But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” {49} And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! {50} “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

3rd Lesson: TCR 585

It has been taught by many of the learned that the processes of plant growth & correspond to human prolification. I will, therefore, add something on this subject by way of appendix.

In trees and in all other [kinds of plants] there are not two sexes & but everything & is masculine. The earth alone, or the soil, is the common mother, and is thus as it were feminine, for it received the seeds of all fruits, opens them, carries them as it were in a womb, and then nourishes them and brings them forth, that is, ushers them into the light of day, and afterwards clothes and sustains them.

3) That no one may be astonished at the statement & let it be illustrated by something similar among bees. According to the observation of Swammerdam, reported in his Books of Nature, bees have only one common mother, from which the offspring of the entire hive is produced. As there is but one common mother for these little insects, why not the same for all plants?

4) That the earth is a common mother may also be illustrated spiritually; and is so illustrated by the fact that in the Word “the Earth” signifies the church and the church is a common mother, and is so called in the Word.

Copyright © 1982 – 2005 General Church of the New Jerusalem.
Page constructed by James P. Cooper
Page last modified September 27, 2009


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