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Beyond the terrors of the mind

Posted by Simon Parke, 08 May 2017, 4.33am

So we sit for a moment with Julian of Norwich.

She writes from her anchorhold, the small cell in which she lived for forty years, attached to St Julian’s church.

She is surrounded by plague, religious persecution, careless power, poor harvests ...and a city trying to get on with life, the life given.

Here she suggests people shouldn’t get too hung up on sin.

This is shocking in its context…and perhaps today also.

The Church liked people getting hung up on sin, (it tends to give priests and bishops power) but not Julian of Norwich.

Here she is talking about sin, terrors of the mind and hope:

‘We must pay attention to our souls. I was slow to pay attention, but our Lord courteously waited.

Our sin is not our shame but our glory, this is what God showed me. King David came to mind, Peter and Paul, Thomas and Mary Magdalene, famous with the church on earth with their sins as their glory.

Sin lashes men and women so hard, batters and destroys them so completely in their own eyes. But when they appear before God, they do not deface but ennoble. They bring sorrow and suffering on earth but glory beyond.

There is peace beyond the terrors of the mind.

Then the Lord opened my spiritual eyes and showed me my soul in the middle of my heart. And Jesus rests there, at the centre of the soul, in peace and in rest.

And this leads to the question: what are we? And to this I answer: if all that is not good were taken from us, we would be good.

When vileness is removed, God and the soul are one and quite impossible to part.

And this is the knowledge of which we are most ignorant: for many men and women believe that God is almighty and has the power to do everything; and that he is all wisdom and knows how to do everything.

But that he is all love and is willing to do everything – there they stop and this hinders them.

There is peace beyond the terrors of the mind.


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