Friday, December 05, 2008

Sorrow, not blame…

Two people commented, on yesterday's post, that my words reminded them of Julian of Norwich. I thought I'd remind myself what she said about these wounds that are glorified as Christ's wounds remain in glory:

God brought into my mind that I should sin, and because of the joy I had in looking on him, I was reluctant to look on this Showing. But our Lord was patient with me, and gave me the grace to listen…

For in every soul that shall be saved there is a godly will that never agreed to sin, and never shall. Just as there is a beastly will in our lower nature that cannot will any good – so there is a godly will our higher nature…

And all our troubles come because our own love fails us…

Also God showed that sin shall not be a shame to man, but a glory. For just as every sin brings its own suffering, by truth, so every soul that sins earns a blessing by love. And just as many sins are punished with much suffering, because they are so bad, even so they shall be rewarded by many joys in heaven because of the suffering and sorrow they have caused here on earth.

For the soul that comes to heaven is so precious to God, and the place so holy, that God in his goodness never allows a soul that shall finally reach there to sin, unless the sin is rewarded – and made known for ever, and blessedly restored by overwhelming worship

And so our courteous Lord showed them as an example of how it is in part here on earth, and shall be fully in heaven. For there, the mark of sin is turned to honour

Our Lord holds us so tenderly when it seems to us that we are nearly forsaken and cast away because of our sin – and that we deserve to be.

And, because we are made humble by this, we are raised high in God's sight, by his grace – and also by repentance, and compassion, and true yearning for God. Then sinners are suddenly delivered from sin and from pain, and are taken up to heaven – and even made high saints.

Repentance makes us clean. Compassion makes us ready, and yearning for God makes us worthy.

Though the soul is healed, God still sees the wounds – and sees them not as scars but as honours…

For he looks on sin as sorrow and anguish to those who love him and, because he loves them, does not blame them for it…

Julian of Norwich, Showings (Long Text) Chapters 37-39, tr. Sheila Upjohn (emphases mine)

Oh how true I have found these words! God is merciful and compassionate beyond anything we can imagine. Don't believe me? Don't believe Julian? You only have to do as she did: look to the Cross.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I am reading Hope Against Darkness by Richard Rohr for the first time today so your words fit me like a second skin ... almost too close, like Mr Rohr's words, like my own sins, my own failings, so bright before me, I'm so tired of looking at them all. But this need to embrace, to sit still with them, with that still, small voice so small that I don't even quite know if it is him half the time, but the wisest of all the voices coming to me at the moment and so I listen to it. Stay. Embrace it. You are safe. Look at the cross. You are safe. You are safe in the middle of your ugly humanity, your sins overflowing, your criticisms, your judgments, your violent hatred, your desperation to keep love at bay.

    He just blows my mind over and over again, Mike. And always these mind blowingnesses come in the middle of great pain. The cross shines forth some other element of its mystery and I fall down again.

    Surely what he has done has so many reverberations that we shall never get to the end of it!

    Thank you for this post today, this extra bit of comfort.