Category Archives: Julian of Norwich

A Week with Julian of Norwich

This week’s Lenten Prayer guides will include a daily quote from English mystic Julian of Norwich.

Who is Julian of Norwich?

English mystic of the fourteenth century, author or recipient of the vision contained in the book known as the “Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love”.

The original form of her name appears to have been Julian. She was probably a Benedictine nun, living as a recluse in an anchorage of which traces still remain in the east part of the churchyard of St. Julian in Norwich, which belonged to Carrow Priory.

Julian Icon-filteredAccording to her book, this revelation was “shewed” to her on 8 or 14 May (the readings differ), 1373, when she was thirty years and a half old. This would refer her birth to the end of 1342. Her statement, that “for twenty years after the time of this shewing, save three months, I had teaching inwardly”, proves that the book was not written before 1393.

Like St. Catherine, Juliana has little of the dualism of body and soul that is frequent in the mystics. God is in our “sensuality” as well as in our “substance”, and the body and the soul render mutual aid: “Either of them take help of other till we be brought up into stature, as kind worketh.” Knowledge of God and knowledge of self are inseparable: we may never come to the knowing of one without the knowing of the other. “God is more nearer to us than our own soul”, and “in falling and rising we are ever preciously kept in one love.” She lays special stress upon the “homeliness” and “courtesy” of God’s dealings with us, “for love maketh might and wisdom full meek to us.” With this we must correspond by a happy confidence; “failing of comfort” is the “most mischief” into which the soul can fall. In the Blessed Virgin the Lord would have all mankind see how they are loved

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Julian of Norwich, Mystics

Passion Knowledge

crucifixionI thought I had some sense of the passion of Christ, but still I desired more by the grace of God.

I thought that I wished to have been at that time with Mary Magdalen and the others who were Christ lovers, and therefore I desired a bodily sight wherein I could have more knowledge.

—-Julian of Norwich

Many times, but especially during the Lenten season, we set our minds on the passion of the Christ. What did He endure on the cross? Why did he do it? Did he really have to suffer so much? Julian, however, didn’t ask the same questions, instead she just wanted to be there. Somehow she desired to mystically experience the emotions of the moment. Julian intuitively knew that physical presence could bring knowledge that would thrust her closer to Her Savior. Our task is to seek that same familiarity so that we can function as emissaries of the promise of the passion. That promise is grace. As we feel with the Christ, we can offer the message of His grace with the same freedom.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Julian of Norwich, Passion of Christ

A Few Observations from Julian of Norwich’s Showings

I share with you these observations from Julian of Norwich’s Showings.

  • God still does miracles. He intervenes actively in our lives. These are usually preceded by very rough times.
  • God cannot be manipulated by prayer. Asking the intercession of saints, and trying to make prayer more effective by citing arguments or mentioning special things or events, are not helpful. Prayer is effective when it is the result of God wanting a person to receive something, and putting the content of the prayer into the person’s mind. Julian seems well-aware that this sounds as problematic as all other accounts of the power of prayer.
  • God still issues calls to individuals. Apparently He does not call the “beautiful people”, whose lives and abilities seem perfect, for special assignments. Instead, he chooses the obviously flawed individuals, people who get ridiculed for some reason by others through no fault of their own.
  • Christ reveals Himself to living persons.  When He does, He is always a warm, intimate, and “courteous” friend. This increases their faith tremendously, and they in turn are called to share this revelation with others. Julian was one such person, and she expressed the hope that people would not consider her a celebrity or focus on her, but on Christ.
  • The Jewish people will be saved. Julian asked about the good Jewish people and whether they would be saved. It is clear that she was told “Yes”, because right after she mentions this, she adds a few paragraphs saying how she was sure that nothing in the revelation contradicted anything she’d been taught in church

Leave a comment

Filed under Julian of Norwich

Falling and Rising

“If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know Julian Icon-filterednothing 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.”

― Julian of Norwich


Think about the words of Julian as you go through  the normal ups and downs of life.

2 Comments

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Julian of Norwich

Lady Julian Chapter 1

(I am in the process of drafting a paraphrase of the writings of Julian of Norwich and will be posting them from time to time. Your comments and feedback are welcomed.  —— Irvin J. Boudreaux)

Church of St Julian, Norwich

Church of St Julian, Norwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Revelation of Divine Love
Chapter 1

I desire three graces from God.

 

The first is the fully experience the pain of the passion of Christ.

The second is to experience serious physical illness.

The third was to experience the three wounds of Christ.

 

The passion came to my mind as a result of my prayers. I had a great empathy with the passion of Christ but it was clear that God could give me more through His grace. It seemed to me that if I could have been there with Mary Magdalene and the other lovers of Christ and been an eyewitness to the passion that Christ suffered for me and experienced pain they felt as they watched him suffer on the cross I could be more fully devoted to him. In all ways I have believed the teachings of the Holy Church as they are manifested by icons and crucifixes that have been made the grace of God. These have been made with all the skills and intelligence that man has to offer. I still desire that I might be an eye witness to his passion so that I might have the fullness of knowledge of the bodily pains of Christ and feel the compassion of his mother Mary and all those who loved him. Is my greatest desire that I might have been present with them and suffered their pain and grief. No other showing of God do I desire more than this one in this lifetime and I trust that God will grant it. I wish for the showing so that I might truly know the pain of the passion of Christ.

 

As for my second desire, it came to my mind with contrition and freedom and with a truly willful desire to have God’s gift of serious physical illness. This illness must be one that that leads to death so I might receive all the rites of my church and believed in my heart that I would die. It would be perceived in such a way that all those around me with think that I would die.I have never wished for a comfortable earthly life on this earth. In this illness it is my desire that I should experience all the pains that are faced as death approaches. My wish is to experience all the attacks of the evil one short of losing my soul. With this experience I will learn to welcome my home going to the Lord when my time comes.

 

These two desires – feeling the passion, and experiencing serious physical illness and spiritual warfare– I desire with a condition. In my prayer I asked: “Lord you know what I desire ,I pray that is in your will to give me my desire. If it is not your will, I will not be bitter for my greatest desire is to do your will”. This physical illness I pray may come to me when I am 30 years old.

 

 

As for the third I once heard a man of the Holy Church tell the story a blessed St. Cecilia. I’ve heard it she received three blows to her neck from an executioner. These blows did not bring immediate death but she died three days later. By this I desired that I would seek from my Lord that he would grant me these three wounds in my lifetime: The wound of contrition, the wound of compassion, and the wound of actively seeking God’s touch. As I asked for the first two with condition, this third one I asked without condition. My first two desires left my mind but the third desire never departed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Julian of Norwich

Discovering the Desert of My Soul

Candle PrayerI don’t exactly know why, but a few years ago I felt a real spiritual unction to study Christian Mysticism. My first thought was to look at the experiences of the monks of the desert. These Desert Fathers fled to the parched lands of Egypt to escape the “one size fits all” Christianity of Constantine’s Empire. The Abbas of the desert wanted to experience God as they thought He wanted to be experienced. That experience would not come as a result of legislated belief at the point of the sword of a Roman Legion. That kind of belief was no belief at all, for such a faith had to be discovered within their own souls. They could experience God in a mysterious way in their desert monasteries, and then direct others by sharing these experiences. God is a mystery, and He is best seen in a mystical way. In the desert they would find the Spirit that had apparently left the organized church, and indeed, they did. They were the first mystics.

 Many factors prohibited this mystical movement from being the major driving force of the church. All throughout history there have been famous mystics. Notable ones are, Julian of Norwich, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Ignatius of Loyola. I wanted to learn as much from them as I could, but in the middle of that experience something happened to my own way of thinking. Suddenly, the idea of certainty of belief was replaced with a deep, abiding appreciation for the mysterious nature of God. After all belief in God is mystery, not certainty, and can best be understood through the eyes of the mystic.

 I don’t claim to be a Christian mystic at the level of the people I have mentioned, but I do contend that thinking as a mystic can open new panoramas of faith. These panoramas can lead to a much broader view of the work of God, and a more intimate involvement with Him. Things like meditation, Lectio Divina, silence, and icons have taken on a new meaning in my life. They have become invitations to spiritual portals that I never knew existed.

Major realities I discovered by embracing Christian Mysticism:

  • God does live within me
  • God really speaks to me (not audibly)
  • God protects me at all times
  • God gives me strength beyond my ability
  • God owes me nothing
  • Evil wins sometime
  • Suffering is a spiritual discipline
  • Scripture is the Word of God and it still lives
  • Silence is the loudest prayer
  • Silence is a portal to God
  • There is more than one right answer

My journey into mysticism has not so much brought me closer to God, as it has helped me to understand how far I have to go. Jubilantly, I can say that I am not alone on the journey. He is with me! The mystical, monastic journey brought me to the desert of my soul, and there I found the face of God. I continue to travel through that desert with the traveling companions I have discovered. Thanks for reading this story and the other stories that I have written about these mystics who have become my friends.

11 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Contemplation, Desert Fathers, Icons, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Lectio Divina, Silence

Love Is His Meaning

julian

I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said: What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For Love…. So I was taught that love is our Lord’s meaning.

—–Julian of Norwich

Love is His meaning. There so many things sent our way by God that are meant for love. Julian urges us to see God’s love in our circumstances, and find that love in all we experience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplation, Devotional Quotes, Julian of Norwich, Love, Love of God

Prayer / Communication with God

And thus prayer makes accord betwixt God and man’s soul. For when the soul is tempted, troubled and left to itself byCandle Prayer
unrest, then it is time to pray, and make himself simple and obedient to God.
—–Julian of Norwich

This thought takes us straight to our communication with God.

  • How often do we pray?
  • Why do we pray?
  • How do we pray?
  • Is prayer a priority in our lives?

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplation, Julian of Norwich, Prayer

A Prayer of Julian of Norwich

julian1In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss. In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, and savior. In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace. You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us. You are our maker, our lover, our keeper. Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. Amen

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplation, Julian of Norwich, Meditation, Prayer, Uncategorized

Julian of Norwich

Church of St Julian, Norwich

Church of St Julian, Norwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

—-Julian of Norwich

Julian was an anchoress. An anchoress is one who lives a solitary life, and dedicates that life to getting closer to God. Very little is known of Julian beyond her work, “Revelation of Divine Love.” She is the first woman who wrote a theological work in the English language. Her sufferings and wisdom still speak loudly today.In the coming weeks I will be blogging about the works of Lady Julian now and again. This quote is just the beginning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional Quotes, Julian of Norwich, Meditation