Advent 2

Julian’s visions were about God’s love, which we can readily admit is entirely beyond our understanding. We are not so ready to admit that God’s rightfulness and his judgment are beyond our understanding, for to the human mind these are rational, systematic concepts whose ordering seems intrinsically opposed to that of love.

It is precisely the encounter with God’s rightfulness and his judgment that throws Julian into turmoil in the midst of her visions, for the judgment that God shows her does not neatly accord with the judgment taught by the Church, which is also identified with God. “By this Church judgement it seemed to me that it was necessary for me to acknowledge myself as a sinner. And by the same judgement, I acknowledged that sinners are sometimes deserving of blame and anger, but these two things — blame and anger — I could not find in God.”

Instead of abandoning either judgment, she holds both in tension, and admits she will continue as long as she lives to try to sort these two judgments out.

This is Julian’s great act of humility and faith: to confess she does not know and cannot understand, and yet persist in trust both of what she has been taught (by the Church), and what God reveals to her.

What she does understand is that what wrath and blame there are, are in us and not in God. And since she sees that our “true salvation and our complete bliss” is “to be like our Lord perfectly,” as long as we hold onto any of this wrath and blame, coming from our “muddled” human judgment, we will bear the consequences of our own lack of mercy and likeness to God.

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