Tag Archives: Julian of Norwich

Seeds of Humanity

The mystic Julian of Norwich, holding an acorn in her hand in the fourteenthjulian century said of it, “In this is all that is.” The Earth shakes at the thought of the simple truth of it.

In every seed is the gift of life to those seeking life, wanting life, denied the kind of life that is full of energy, full of hope. But the hope is a tenuous one, a sacred one, one to be treated with awe for fear of our own failure to protect it.

Seeds are the one thing that are the only genuine promise we have of the future. “Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow,” Martin Luther wrote, “I would plant an apple tree today.” It is an insight that defies despair, that promises new life in the midst of the old. It is a beacon that cries out for commitment in an age such as ours when the seeds of destruction among us—greed, power, and control—are in mortal struggle with the seeds of life.

And now, so accustomed have we become to destruction in the name of progress, we are on the brink of commercializing seed, of politicizing seed, of monopolizing seed, of genetically modifying seeds for the sake of someone’s control of creation, of making seed the new military weapon of the twenty-first century.

It is all a matter of valuing the money we can make today more than we value the life that is meant to come.

But the problem is that we ourselves are all seeds, too. We are either seeds of universal love or seeds of exploitative racism. We are seeds of eternal hope or we are seeds of starving despair. We are seeds of a new humanity or we are the harbingers of humanity’s decay.

It is a choice. A conscious choice that depends on what we see in seeds and how we treat them and whose we think they are and what we will do to keep them free and available. Or not.

We are the seed of our own life to come and the life of the planet as well. Indeed, “In the seed is everything that is.

Joan Chittister

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Difficulty and Grace

“And this has been a comfort to me, that I choose Jesus as my Savior-by His grace. In my suffering and sorrow He has taught me that I should choose only Him for my salvation in my well being and sorrow.”

–Julian of Norwich

Long ago Julian found a way to touch the grace of God in difficult times of her life. In our very trying and difficult world ,we too, can

St Margaret's church - stained glass - geograp...

find this grace and make challenging times of life opportunities for growth and grace. Let us vow to make our difficult times teach us to rely and His grace.

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

—–1 Peter 4:13

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A Touch of Grace

“And this has been a comfort to me, that I choose Jesus as my Savior-by His grace. In my suffering and sorrow He has taught me that I should choose only Him for my salvation in my well being and sorrow.” 

 –Julian of Norwich

Julian Norwich 2Long ago Julian found a way to touch the grace of God in difficult times of her life. In our very trying and difficult world , we too, can find this grace and make challenging times of life opportunities for growth and grace.

 

Prayer Thought – Lord help me to find and understand grace as it is freely given by you.

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Day 30 – April 8

lent1.jpgEphesians 6:11-13

Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

 

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

― Julian of Norwich

Prayer Starter – Lord help us to perceive our battle and make us wise enough to count on you.

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Day 29 — April 7

Lent_2011_40days

1 John 4:8-10

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

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

― Julian of Norwich

Prayer Starter – Lord give us knowledge so that we may love as you love.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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More through Grace

JulianThe 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.

—-Julian of Norwich

Lady Julian lived the simple life of a hermit, but she knew that she could experience limitless revelation through the grace of God. One of her great desires of life was to feel the pain and abandonment of the passion of Christ. This knowledge would allow her to better understand the depth of God’s extravagant love towards us.

Like Lady Julian, we can have more of God through His grace. Words could not adequately express how much more God wants to give to us if we only ask. We have long settled for second best, because we have depended on our ability and not his grace to take us on this quest. Julian urges us to call upon His grace.

She was keenly aware that she could never really attain her goal of viscerally experiencing the pain and sorrow of the passion of the Christ except through grace. The kind of grace that allows us to achieve beyond our ability or strength is what desire. What a sad fact it is that most people turn to “self-help” and expect to find the answers to life’s great mysteries in manmade formulas. This lesson of Julian is that grace is the way to achieve more.

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