Perspectives

"But often when our falling and our misery is shown us, we are so sorely frightened and so greatly ashamed of ourselves that scarcely do we know where we can hide ourselves away. Then our courteous Mother wills not that we flee away — for Him nothing would be more distasteful — but He wills then that we follow the behavior of a child, for when a child is distressed or afraid, it runs hastily to the mother for help with all its might" (Chapter 62).

There is sometimes a fine line between Julian's beautiful description of the soul running to God as a child running trustfully to its mother — and the scrupulosity of a person so engrossed in their on-going assessment of themselves that nothing they do seems right. Some 250 years earlier, St Bernard addressed that mis-use of monastic zeal: "It's not a matter of self-torture or of producing special achievements of self-assertion, but rather we let go of ourselves, to become interiorly free and so available for the call of God." Trust and faith: Julian's comforting (and efficient!) outlook.

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