We have observed in a recent DM that love is not sentimental for Julian or other creation mystics.  Love has a fierce side to it, a justice side to it, that calls forth the warrior in us.  The warrior is ready to face down evil and to resist temptations to wallow in denial about hurt, pain, injustice and perfidy.  About a political party that has wallowed in denial for decades about climate change, for example, or about the killing of black men by police and the justice system itself being set up for a politician who leads by lies.

“Christ Driving the Money-changers from the Temple” by Theodoor Rombouts, Wikimedia Commons

Julian tells us that love and goodness wage combat with evil. For all her insistence on our living our lives swimming in goodness, and therefore in love, in no way does Julian shut her eyes to what she calls “wickedness and evil.”

Rather, she sees goodness itself as a force that stands up to evil, that forms the matrix for everything, evil included. “When we see that the power of love overcomes the spirit of evil, it fills our hearts with comfort and joy.”  And laughter too.

Julian laughed at what she calls the “adversary’s impotence.”

NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra perform the traditional hymn, “How Can I Keep From Singing.” Uploaded to YouTube by The Podd Brothers

It amuses me that the Lord of Love overcomes the spirit of evil. I realize that God sees evil for what it is, and scorns it, and always will. God showed me that the spirit of evil is damned.

Is it true that when we see love triumph over evil—for example, when Gandhi expelled the British colonizers through nonviolent means, or when Martin Luther King Jr. defeated segregation by the same loving means, or when Nelson Mandela overturned apartheid in South Africa, or when John Lewis turned being beat up for leading a march over a bridge into getting voting rights legislation passed—do these stories not also fill our hearts with comfort, joy, and even laughter?

“Two Minute Warning: On March 7, 1965, 600 civil rights protestors led by Hosea Williams and John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way to Montgomery, AL. They were met by state troopers and local police who gave them a two-minute warning to stop and turn back. When the protesters refused, the officers tear-gassed and beat them. Over 50 people were hospitalized.” Photo from GPA Photo Archive on Flickr.

Evil does not have the last word in life, as Julian sees it.

The power of Christ’s blessed passion is greater than all darkness. The Adversary is wicked, but he’s impotent.

Overcoming evil is part of the work of the divine mother.

Christ Jesus, who does good over evil, is our true Mother. . . . Wickedness has been allowed to arise in opposition to that goodness, [but Goodness] transformed it all into goodness.

“Strengthening the Soul for the Journey” Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias.

Thus we enlist and extend the power of the via positiva to do combat with evil.

It is in our nature to reject evil, human nature is purely good and beautiful in itself. Grace gives us the strength to turn away from wickedness. Grace annihilates sin and restores human nature to its original, blessed, beautiful source, that is, God.

We are not born in evil, nor are we destined for evil, but rather goodness is our destiny. We are born for beauty.

Doing evil is incomparably more wretched and painful than hell, for evil is the exact opposite of the beauty of our true nature. Not only is evil impure, but also unnatural.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 90f.

Also see Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Also see Matthew Fox, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen

Banner Image: “First Protestor Arrested” at a No Keystone XL protest, 3/2/2014. Photo by Joe Brusky on Flickr.

Do you agree with Julian that the Adversary is wicked but impotent?  What follows from that?

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen

An introduction to the life and work of Hildegard of Bingen, Illuminations reveals the life and teachings of one of the greatest female artists and intellectuals of the Western Mystical Tradition.  At the age of 42, she began to have visions; these were captured as 36 illuminations–24 of which are recorded in this book along with her commentaries on them.
“If one person deserves credit for the great Hildegard renaissance in our time, it is Matthew Fox.”  – Dr Mary Ford-Grabowsky, author of Sacred Voices.

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2 thoughts on “Julian on Love and Goodness Combating Evil”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for today’s meditation. This was exactly what I needed to hear today. My heart is heavy with the prospect that the Republicans in the Senate will not stand up to evil. I needed to hear that good has already won. I spent my post-reading meditation time floating in the goodness of the divine mother.

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