Julian is really "speaking" to me again -- haven't read her in years but glad to be returning. And I like Frances Beer's modern translation (especially for devotional reading). In the 24th revelation of divine love she reflects back on her vision of the suffering Christ on the Cross, who for her has become the emblem of a divine Love that desires nothing but that we should thrive and love and be whole (my paraphrase but I don't think it misrepresents Julian). She has also been having an honest conversation with Christ about sin - how it separates us from His love, and how he is eager to remove that separation. This passage seems very wise both about divine love and human psychology:
Though the persons of the blessed trinity are all equal in property, love was showed most fully to me, because though it is closest to us all, we are blindest in our knowledge of it. Many men and women elieve that God is all mighty and may do all, and that he is all wisdom and can do all; but that he is all love and will do all -- there they stop. Such ignorance most hinders God's lovers, for when they begin to hate sin and to amend themselves according to the ordinances of holy church, a dread remains that stirs them to dwell upon themselves and their former sins. (my italics) Though this is a grievous blindness and weakness, we do not despise it becuase we think of it as humility. Yet if we recognized it, we would immediately reject it, as we would any other sin with which we are familiar, for it comes from the enemy and is opposed to truth.
Of all the properties of the blessed trinity, God wants us to feel the greatest confidence and pleasure in love, for love makes power and wisdom humble before us. Even as by his courteous love God forgets our sins as soon as we repent, so does he wish us to forget them, and all our sorrow, and all our doubtful dread.
Julian seems to know that a lot of our sense of captivity and separation from God (aka "sin") comes from dwelling on ourselves and our failings instead of trusting God's love. This is really hard to grasp but something about the way she puts it is speaking to me, in these last days of a Holy Lent.
- Kathleen Henderson Staudt
- I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.