THE BREATH OF ETERNITY

All will be well and all will be well

and every kind of thing shall be well.

The Face of the Holy One

You have been to the threshold of death and felt the breath of eternity on your eyelids. You don’t need the appointed intermediaries to tell you about the Holy One: you have had a direct encounter, and it has changed you. When they speak about “God’s will” and tell you exactly how to interpret it, you stifle a chuckle and try to look pious. You have gone riding wild horses with the Holy One along a rocky seashore under the full moon. They warn you about impure thoughts, but the God you love is an unconditionally loving mother who squeezes your cheeks, looks into your eyes, and tells you that you are the most adorable creature she ever created.

Ever since that troublemaker Eve handed that gullible Adam the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they say, human beings have been continuously messing up and suffering the consequences. But in the depths of your darkest despair your Beloved calls to you: “Look,” he says, and opens the fathomless beautiful wound of his heart so that you can peer inside. All creation is nestled there, bathed in beauty. “Do you see any sin here?” he asks. “Do you detect a shred of retribution?” You do not. All you perceive, from horizon to endless horizon, is love. As far as your eye can see there stretches a line of joyous children being welcomed home. The God you have met does not want your self-recrimination. You have already paid the price for your stumbling. You have endured the sorrow and weariness ignorance brings. Your God would never punish you for being a human being: this life itself is your penance, she reminds you. But it is also more than that: it is a crucible for transformation. Each trial, every loss, is an opportunity for you to meet suffering with love and make of it an offering, a prayer. The minute you lift your pain like a candle the darkness vanishes, and mercy comes rushing in to heal you.

Starr, Mirabai (2013-10-01). The Showings of Julian of Norwich: A New Translation (Kindle Locations 107-119). Hampton Roads Publishing.

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