Saturday, 20 March 2010

Love and worth

As far as Julian is concerned, feelings of guilt and worthlessness are far more serious than the moral failures which are usually called sins. Partly this is because unresolved feelings of these sorts prevent us from living in the joy and freedom of God's loving presence. Partly also it is because they represent unhealed fracturing and pain at the core of the personality. The result of such pain will inevitably be pain-behaviour, actions arising out of the depths of our wounded psyche which only serve to deepen the hurts even further, and in the process hurt others as well. Indeed it is from this source that sins in the sense of moral failures usually arise. If the deep wounds are cured, the sins which are symptomatic and expressive of them need no longer occur.

The deep sense of worthlessness, like our blindness to the love of God, can already be healed in part, though in part it still waits for consummation. The face of God is seen by Julian as the face of the compassionate Christ; and his face is our face. Looking on Jesus Julian sees the dignity and value of humankind demonstrated in his humanity. If once it is fully accepted that Jesus was truly man, then it is no longer possible to despise human nature, because Jesus is the manifestation of what that nature truly is. … Contemplation of Christ enlightens us so that we are able to see the worth of our own selves in the love and delight which God has for us.

Grace M Jantzen, Julian of Norwich – Mystic and Theologian (SPCK, 1987) p208