Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich

Imagine having profound spiritual experiences at a time when religion was used to control people. Where speaking differently than the church line was heresy, perhaps punishable by death. Most people lived as serfs, beholden to the less than 1% who claimed divine right to rule. This was the Dark Ages, the trough of the yugas, and the time of the Black Death.

In this time came Julian. Her birth name is forgotten. It was a time when spiritual transition could be rough and accompanied by illness. In her case, she was expected to die at 30 after a 3 days sickness. Last rites were given. But a few days later, the pain suddenly left and she had a series of 16 visions over some hours. She thereafter lived her life as a recluse, though not cloistered as a nun, and came to be named after the saint of a small, local church where she may have lived. She spent her time in prayer and continued receiving teachings for another 20 years. They were  scribed as “Showing of Love“, the first book in English by a woman.

On Creation
He showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball.
I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, “What may this be?” And it was answered generally thus, “It is all that is made.”
I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginnings by the love of God.

Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom we shall never come.”

On Sin
God showed that sin shall be no shame to a man.

The pain of sin was to show us where we have lost love. If we listen to our own pain, we will find a way through to love once more.  Sin is repaid by bliss.

Suffering has the same function as physical pain, to tell us where something is wrong. Behind all pain is happiness.

If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

On Prayer
… so our customary practice of prayer was brought to mind: how through our ignorance and inexperience in the ways of love we spend so much time on petition. I saw that it is indeed more worthy of God and more truly pleasing to him that through his goodness we should pray with full confidence, and by his grace cling to him with real understanding and unshakable love, than that we should go on making as many petitions as our souls are capable of.” I’ve written before on gratitude vs petitionary prayer. The Law of Attraction is a variation on the second.

God, of thy goodness, give me Thyself;
for Thou art enough for me,
and I can ask for nothing less
that can be full honor to Thee.
And if I ask anything that is less,
ever Shall I be in want,
for only in Thee have I all.

The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.

On Reuniting
We may never come to the full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul.

Immediately is the soul made at one with God when it is truly set at peace in itself.

As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother; and that shewed He in all, and especially in these sweet words where He saith: I IT AM.” (Think “I Am That”)

In God’s sight, all men are one man, and one man is all men.

Her Oft-mentioned quote
All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

What more could be said?

UPDATE: for more quotes and a general sense of the book, see Wikiquote

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  1. Chris

    Hi David,
    Nice to see this post on Julian of Norwich! I went a little too “Indian” for a while, and really enjoyed balancing that with the Christian mystics. I love this quote from her too:
    “See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?”
    ― Julian of Norwich

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