Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Julian of Norwich- Sixth Showing

This post is part of my meditative reading of Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Divine Love during my renewal leave.

In the sixth showing, Julian sees “three degrees of bliss” that await God’s servants in heaven. The first is being delivered from pain as part of God’s gratitude for being God’s servant in life. The second is the “glorious thanking” where God makes known all the servant’s good deeds while on earth. The third is the joy of knowing that this state free of pain and full of glory will last forever.

The “second degree of bliss” really intrigues me, because the idea of having to make an account for all one’s deeds after life is over is usually used as a scare tactic and to convince people that they’re awful sinners. The idea that one’s good deeds are also noticed and remembered (as Jesus promises in the Sermon on the Mount) is a very comforting counter-point to such scare tactics.

It hadn’t occurred to me until meditating on this showing that for all Julian’s talk about human sinfulness, she doesn’t say it with any scorn or condescension, as if she’s better than anyone else. She sees us all as in the same boat, all equally in need of grace.

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