Monday, 28 February 2011

Julian of Norwich

I'd not looked at the writings of this fourteenth century mystic for some time ... but, in conversation with someone today I was reminded of some of the good things that this first English female writer penned.  
Julian was born in 1342 and died sometime around 1430.  Her sixteen visions (Revelations of Divine Love) happened in a short period of time in 1373 and then, over the next twenty years or so, she interpreted the original "Showings" as our Lord gave her insight.   
Do you wish to know what your Lord intended and to know the meaning of this revelation?  Know well: Love is what he intended.  Who reveals this to you?  Love.  Why does he reveal it to you?  Out of love … So learn that love is our Lord’s meaning” 

My copy of "Showings" is well marked - it was one of the texts that we studied at The Milltown Institute in Dublin.  
I imagine that most people will have encountered Julian's famous words from chapter XXXI:
And so our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts which I could raise, saying most comfortingly: I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well. ... God wishes us to be enclosed in rest and in peace. ... 
In an earlier chapter (V) she wrote:
God, of your goodness give me yourself, for you are enough for me, and I can ask for nothing which is less which can pay you full worship.  And if I ask anything which is less, always I am in want; but only in you do I have everything. ... he made us only for himself, and restored us by his precious Passion and always preserves us in his blessed love; and all this is of his goodness.  
Now that Paddy has reminded me of Julian I think she'll be on the bedside table for a while as I reread the familiar words and enjoy again her central message on the love of God.  If God's love is the sole guide of our lives then everything is changed and in God alone is true peace and true joy.  
It is sometimes good to go back and read again texts that have been significant.  

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy Name, O Jesu, be for ever blessed.  Alleluia!

Church Hymnal number 459
W Walsham How  (1823-1897)


Curate Karen said...

Love, love, LOVE Julian of Norwich. Thanks for reminding us of her today.

The Pen of The Wayfarer said...

I'm also reading Julian of Norwich at the rich, and just finished her new biography, J of N, A Contemplative Biography! very good also, as i didnt know the details of her life. wonderful!

Rev Elizabeth said...

Hi... good to meet you both here ... Yes, Julian is good reading. Haven't seen the new book.