Transfigured

"And just at the same time that I thought, by appearance, that His life could no longer last ... suddenly, He changed His blessed countenance.... Then brought Our Lord merrily to my mind: 'Where is now any point to thy pain or to thy distress?' And I was completely happy" (Ch. 21). "Then spoke our good Lord Jesus Christ, 'It is a joy, a bliss, an endless delight to me that ever I suffered the Passion for thee; and if I could suffer more, I would suffer more'. In this experience my understanding was lifted up into heaven and there I saw three states of bliss ..." (Ch. 22).

Julian's words are like a tiny liturgy of the Transfiguration: the transformation of our Lord's face; Moses, Elijah and Jesus conferring on Mt Tabor about the upcoming Passion as "three states of bliss"; the magisterial "It is I" passage in Ch. 26 as the Father speaking "This is my son, my beloved, listen to him".

This may be to read layers in the text that are not intended; but the point here is more about Julian's words setting off a vibration which entrances the inner ear and offers its own song, introducing one to deeper understandings than can be had by other ways. Such an excursion of free-association has to be kept in check, for not only can it quickly run into over-indulgence but, like a paraphrase, it is unfair to Julian who chose her words with such care. But the light of the Transfiguration is a greater light than what is already understood, and in it we need not only patient attention but openness, and delight.

 

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