‘If you are pleased, then I am pleased’ – as if he said, it is joy and delight enough to die, and I ask nothing else from you for my suffering but that I may please you’Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love – Chapter 23, Long Text.
I often question my motives. Ok, that’s probably not true; I should more often question my motives. I started out my more recent Christian life (the last fifteen years or so) living from a kind of shame/gratitude mix. ‘I need to give back to God what has done for me’ was the kind of sentiment I would often express. It took me a while (ok, quite a long while) to realise the absurdity of such self indulgent nonsense. When we receive a gift, it becomes somehow diminished if the recipient feels obligated to repay it, doesn’t it? Julian talks in terms of the glad giver who pays little attention to what they are giving in comparison to the pleasure and comfort that the recipient enjoys. Goodness how this eats at my pride. Could God really be saying to Julian that the only response to his sacrifice that he is asking from us, is sharing his pleasure in it? But what about all the things we do? Is really nothing else important?
I’m so tempted to now put in a little qualification..’of course it is’..these things are important..etc etc. And then I question my motives for doing so. What will you think of me? We must ‘do’ something. Surely?
Motivation is a hard thing to nail.