Weekly Blog - Catherine Beaumont:The Road to Heaven is Paved with Good Intentions
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Posted on: 24th August 2021
The Road to Heaven is Paved with Good Intentions
I messed up recently and as a result people were hurt. I didn’t intend to hurt anyone: I had tried to do something difficult and didn’t quite pull it off. My younger self would have been thrown into agonies of guilt and self-recrimination over this but as I get older, I find I can be kinder to, and more forgiving of, myself. I no longer aspire to get it right every time because I now know this is not a realistic goal for anyone.
In such situations I often find myself returning to a passage from the fourteenth revelation given to Julian of Norwich, in which she is shown a Lord and his servant. She describes how the Lord sends the servant on an errand and in his haste to do his Lord’s bidding the servant trips and falls, landing face down in a ditch. Being badly injured the servant is unable to turn his head and see that his Lord has come close, and so feels that he is alone in his suffering. There is no blame attached to the fall as it was caused by good will and a desire to serve. Instead, the Lord is heard to say ‘Here is my servant whom I love. What hurt and discomfort he has known in my service, and all out of love for me.’
Sometimes our falling is caused by pride or selfishness but many times it is a result of good intentions. Church history provides many examples of good people going wrong in the course of their Christian service.
How comforting it is to think that God does not blame us for our failings but instead recognises and rewards the good will and desire to serve which led to them.
By Catherine Beaumont