A matter of trust

The various translations and commentaries for the Great Deed, in Julian’s Chapter 36, can imply that the text itself lacks Julian’s usual felicitous forthrightness. The commentators and translators strive with many words to explain what they read her as trying to say, when the case may be that they were uncomfortable with what she did say. In fact, Julian’s Chapter 36 in Middle English makes its points quickly and clearly—and sound like Julian, even though she is discussing a difficult topic.

 Christ tells Julian that there will be a Deed which will finally make all things well, but that we should not occupy our minds in trying to find out just what it consists of. We may get wrought up because we can’t figure out just how God can say and promise all this; but Julian is taught that we ought to enjoy in Christ “all that he showeth and all that he hideth,” which implies not striving for comprehension but trust. She also understands that she and her “evencristens” will carry on sinning but that this will not hinder God’s working his Deed, nor in loving her. She is given a kind of assignment, to remember that her duty in relation to his Deed has four parts to meditate on: “matter of meekness; matter of love; matter of knowing thyself; matter of enjoying in me.” And not to forget that before the coming of miracles, there has to be sorrow, anguish and tribulation in order to make us see matters truthfully and acknowledge our need for help.

In fact, it is a chapter which fits very well with All Saints Day.

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