Seeking

How do we seek God's face? In Chapter 49, after Julian had worked out her understanding that our estrangement from God must be due, not to God's non-existent anger but to our own self-wrath, Julian wrote, “When the soul is truly at peace with itself, suddenly, the soul is one-ed to God.” When the soul is truly at peace with itself, at home with itself, when its self-fragmentation is healed, suddenly, the soul is one-ed to God. Julian would have us seek God's face in coming home to ourselves, truly recollected and at peace with ourselves. While she certainly agrees with those who identify our attachment to creatures as what prevents us from seeing God's face, perhaps Julian takes us a step deeper when she realizes that the root cause of our inability to see God's face, and the reason we are so attached to creatures or emotional states in the first place, is that we are estranged from ourselves. When we are at peace with ourselves, the need for the “everything else” that comprises the things we cling to is gone and suddenly we are one-ed to God.

So for Julian, in order to seek God's face, we have to seek reconciliation with ourselves. Perhaps the meaning of Julian’s Revelations as a whole is to show us, her even-Christians, that the way to come home to ourselves, to allow our self-wrath to be slaked in the river of God's mercy and love is by, through and in Christ Jesus. The one single note which rings clear and constantly throughout all her “shewings” is God's merciful and graceful, homely, self-sacrificing love, revealed through and enfolding us in Jesus Christ. Insofar as we are in Christ, abiding in the mystery of the Incarnation, we come to experience and know the healing mercy and grace of God, which—through toil and tribulation and much daily penance and through the merciful shattering of our false-selves—finally does bring us to be at peace with ourselves.

Julian's whole wish for us is that we would live deeper in the context of God's merciful and compassionate love for us in Christ Jesus. In the depths of the mystery of Christ we shall discover the living streams of divine mercy and grace, which heal us, slake our self-wrath and allow us, in Christ Jesus, to be carried into the loving, unifying vision of God's face for which we so eagerly seek.

 

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