Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Juliana's Response

Juliana has replied to our post. Here is her reply:

Dear Father,

Thank you for your heart-warming response. When I referred to my triple commitment and affirmation, I was alluding to the service for catechumens, which contains the following dialog:

Priest: Do you unite yourself to Christ?

Catechumen: I do unite myself to Christ. (This is repeated three times.)

Priest: Have you united yourself to Christ?

Catechumen: I have united myself to Christ. (This is repeated three times.)

When I was married, I was joined to my husband thrice with a ring and thrice with a crown, but I don't say that I was married six times. Sorry for the confusion.

I wrote hoping only for a reading list, which you have generously supplied, but I also received personal compliments, a gift of translation, and advice intended to protect (helpless female) me from danger.

One might ask, Why so much concern for me when all I wanted was some book titles? I think I know.

I was less than clear about my background, but I will try to respond to these personal offerings with clarity, since I wish to become more transparent.

First, your unlooked-for gifts inspire me to trust in prayer to the saints, because they must be far more loving than you.

Second, I am willing to receive your comments in the spirit in which they were offered, and I recognize that the form which love takes from the strong to the weak is the form of protection.

I learned a little Old English. Our word love comes from leof, which was a form of address meaning dear or beloved. It was how a wife addressed her husband, but more importantly (for that culture) how a warrior addressed his chief. We could choose to believe that the women were oppressed by the insistance on loyalty above romance, or see that the vassal system (in which loyalty in arms was given in return for protection, gifts, and feasting) was built on ties of close affection. When the Venerable Bede caused the Bible to be translated for the people, leof was used for Lord. (As in the prophecy of Hosea 2:16 "You will no longer call me 'master' but 'husband'.") This one word makes more sense to me than most of what I've read about eros. The Anglo-Saxons linguistically took the female perspective as the one that best characterizes everyone's relationship with God and accepted without embarrassment their enjoyment of God's unlooked-for gifts.

This is all to say that I am gladdened by your efforts to protect me from the wild, wild internet and bring me safely into the feast hall. But look! I returned home (to the Church) and received some chrism for my lamp, and I don't need to go wandering around the internet marketplace looking for something to burn and being sold kerosene or rubbing alcohol. I was just attempting to find out more about the upcoming marriage since you seem to be a friend of the Groom.

Lastly, I see that I should be very careful when I visit a men's monastery. Maybe I should act mean, deceitful, and silly, and give my name as Hilda. Or at least stick close to my husband.

Have a fruitful Lent. You'll not hear more from me. I need to limit my electronic reading, and discussing erotic love with a monk is definitely not how I should be spending my time. I'll go to all the services I can and see my confessor as soon as possible.

Thanks again.


We’re impressed.

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