“For whatever else we desire, Julian seems to think, we do desire God. For this reason, it appears that for Julian we do not have to somehow get ourselves to love God, as if that were our moral or ascetical-spiritual goal or, for that matter, as if it were even possible for us. There is nothing that we have to get ourselves to do except allow ourselves to be drawn by grace to see that we love God anyway, for loving God comes with our being created by God’s love for us. It is only sin that prevents us from seeing this and causes us to misrelate to our selves and our truest loves. Therefore, our love of God is in that sense ‘had,’ always there within us, even if only at the deepest and nonapparent level of desire.

“On the other hand, it is also always to be sought, because in what Julian calls our ‘sensual’ being, that is to say, in our time-bound historical experience, we live out of kilter with our truest desire. And so we need to work back from our desires as we experience them in our contingent, historical existence (prone as they are to all sorts of deformations, miscues, illusions, and fantasies), to that true desire that is always for God. And that given desire for God, both had and needing to be repossessed, is, Julian says, a godly will.”