I hope everyone had a happy Christmas. I did. This week I’m “working from home,” which generally means working on projects that are not directly connected to my job but that will ultimately make me a better contributor to academia, thus improving my job performance. That’s what I tell myself, anyway. One of my projects is a half-hearted pretense at working through the “reading list” (a pleasant fiction) for my candidacy exam coming up in May. In between more enjoyable reading (the Life magazine retrospect on George Harrison, Harry Potter Film Wizardry, and the 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook), I’ve been struggling through some heavily footnoted excerpts from A Book of Showings to the Anchoress Julian of Norwich, more commonly known as A Revelation of Divine Love. But this morning I came across a passage that required no footnotes and that I thought was lovely. Without further ado (there’s already been way too much ado), here it is.
From Chapter 61. “He” is Jesus.
“…when we fall, quickly he raises us up with his loving embrace and his gracious touch. And when we are strengthened by his sweet working, then we willingly choose him by his grace, that we shall be his servants and his lovers, constantly and forever.
“And yet after this he allows some of us to fall more heavily and more grievously than ever we did before, as it seems to us. And then we who are not all wise think that everything which we have undertaken was all nothing. But it is not so, for we need to fall, and we need to see it; for if we did not fall, we should not know how feeble and how wretched we are in ourselves, nor, too, should we know so completely the wonderful love of our Creator.
“For we shall truly see in heaven without end that we have sinned grievously in this life; and notwithstanding this, we shall truly see that we were never hurt in his love, nor were we ever of less value in his sight. And by the experience of this falling we shall have a great and marvellous knowledge of love in God without end; for enduring and marvellous is that love which cannot and will not be broken because of offences.”