Del Mastro, M.L.
Divine Love of Juliana of Norwich
New York: Doubleday, 1977
God also showed that sin would be no shame but an honour to man, for just as for every sin there is an answering pain in reality, so for every sin bliss is given to the same soul. Just as different sins are punished by different pains according to their seriousness, so shall they be rewarded by different joys in heaven according to the pain and sorrow they have caused the soul on earth. For the soul that shall come to heaven is so precious to God, and the place itself so glorious, that the goodness of God never allows the soul which will come there to sin without giving it a reward for suffering that sin. The sin suffered is made known without end, and the soul is blissfully restored by exceeding glories.
In this sight my understanding was lifted up into heaven, and there God suggested to my mind David and others without number in the Old Law. In the New Law he brought to my mind first how Mary Magdalene, Peter, Paul, Thomas of India, Jude, Saint John of Beverley and others, also without number, are known in the Church on earth with their sins, and how these sins are no shame to them but have been transformed to their glory. By this honour, our courteous Lord shows for them here, in part, something similar to what is done for them in fullness there, for there the token of sin is transformed into glory.
Mercy is a property full of pity, which belongs to the motherhood [of Christ] in tender love. Grace is a glorious property, which belongs to the royal lordship in the same love. Mercy brings about preserving, suffering, bringing to life and helping, and all these come from the tenderness of love. Grace brings about raising and rewarding, endlessly surpassing what our loving and our bitter labour deserve, as it spreads abroad and shows the noble, abundant largess of God's royal lordship in his marvellous courtesy. This comes from the abundance of love.
Grace transforms our failings full of dread into abundant, endless comfort … our failings full of shame into a noble, glorious rising … our dying full of sorrow into holy, blissful life. …. Just as our contrariness here on earth brings us pain, shame and sorrow, so grace brings us surpassing comfort, glory, and bliss in heaven … And that shall be a property of blessed love, that we shall know in God, which we might never have known without first experiencing woe.
And in our spiritual bringing forth [Jesus] uses tenderness beyond comparison in keeping us - more than he used in our bodily bringing forth by as much as our soul's worth is greater in his sight than our body's.
He kindles our understanding, he prepares our ways, he eases our conscience, he comforts our soul, he lightens our heart, and gives us, in part, a knowing and loving in his blessed, blissful godhead, with the gracious mentality of his sweet manhood and his blessed passion, and with a courteous marvelling at his noble, surpassing goodness. He makes us love all that he loves for his love, and be well satisfied with him and with all his works….
And yet after this he allows some of us to fall harder and more seriously than we have ever done before, as we imagine. And then we suppose that we are not entirely wise, and that all we have begun is nothing. But this is not so. For it is necessary for us to fall, and it is necessary for us to see it.
If we did not fall, we would not know how feeble and wretched we are of ourselves, nor should we know so fully the marvellous love of our maker…. We shall se in truth that we never lost any of his love, nor were we ever of less worth in his sight. And by the test of this failure we shall have a noble and marvellous knowing of love in God…. (which) cannot be broken on account of trespass…..
He wills that we take ourselves with great strength to the faith of holy Church and find there our most precious mother in comfort and true understanding with the whole communion of blessed ones. For a person by himself can frequently be broken, as it seems to himself, but the whole body of holy Church was never broken and never shall be, without end. Therefore it is a sure thing, a good thing, and a gracious thing to will meekly and powerfully to be fastened and joined to our mother, holy Church - that is Christ Jesus.