Compassion

“And whenever we fall into sin and give up the remembrance of Him and the protection of our own soul, then Christ alone takes care of the responsibility for us. And thus He stands sorrowing and mourning.

“Then it is proper for us, for the sake of reverence and kindness, to turn ourselves quickly to our Lord and not leave Him alone. He is here alone with us all—that is to say, only for us is He here.”

Julian’s vision of the crucifixion is harrowing, and when we are most comfortable and suffering least, we are most tempted avert our eyes from so much suffering and explain it away. Yet a measure of such suffering, in some form or another, is the daily lot of millions of us. What is perhaps most terrible in such suffering is that desolation of having no one to turn to, the anguish that so easily becomes despair or depression when we do not know a way to deal with it.

Julian’s steadfastness with the crucified Christ—even in her weakness when she momentarily regrets her choice—is inseparable from the context and meaning of her Revelations. But it is also a sign of the way forward in suffering, an enacted parable of how we never suffer alone even in our worst anguish—there is Another suffering with us, out of indescribable love and compassion.

“Only for us is He here.” This is the great mystery of the Incarnation. God has descended to us human beings to become a human being with us; and once among us he descended to the total dereliction of one condemned to death. Here is the way of God’s love. It is a way that goes down further and further into the greatest destitution, the destitution of one whose life is unjustly taken from him. The journey that every Christian is on by their “yes” to Christ Jesus is His journey. We must turn quickly to our Lord and not leave Him alone in sorrowing and mourning, for He makes this journey only for us.

 

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