It would appear that a universe wherein the darkness is pressed into the service of the good is the greatest manifestation of God’s power and nature. Perhaps God’s omnipotence and love are best revealed in a story that enrolls sin into the triumph of good, ugliness into the display of beauty, nothingness into the glory of being, rather than blotting them out entirely. Of course, this involves a kind of blotting out, but it’s more like a transubstantiation, or to be even more precise, a second creation ex nihilo, than it is an undoing of a mistake. Sin in and of itself is nothing, a lack, a privation of some good that ought to be there. And yet from this nothingness, God brings forth life. The resurrected Christ is somehow more perfect for retaining the wounds of his crucifixion. This is an image that is horrifying in itself and yet is transformed into the sweet and lovely. The crown of thorns glorifies. The wounds are not lost. That the gore produced by hatred is turned into an image of God’s infinite love undoes the wisdom of the world and forces us to consider God without earthly mediation. That’s the image that Julian wants us to see.
Julian presents to us the mystical complement to the intellectual insight of St. Augustine and St. Thomas. She shows us (through what was shown to her) that God has painted creation with a place for the darkness of sin. Ultimately, evil is not meaningless or amiss because it serves a role in his providential plan. Sin does not inhabit pockets of the universe wherein God has been defeated. Sin has served the grand purpose of displaying who i am is, and thus God has truly become all in all. Julian does not deny the ultimate reality of sin, nor does she claim that it is inevitable. Julian tells us that all shall be well precisely because God, the grand storyteller, has written, is now writing, a story in which the reality of our virtue and even the reality of our sin shall forever reflect nothing but the glory of God. And thus I hope and pray that Julian is soon canonized and made a Doctor of the Church. She already is, so far as I am concerned, the Doctor providentiae.
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