“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
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
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.
According 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
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.
—-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.
“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”
—-C S Lewis
Not just children, but all of us need to experience brave knights and heroic courage. Every follower of Christ experiences difficult and dark times and without the encouragement of seeing others overcome adversities, we will fall utterly exhausted. With so many cruel enemies that prey upon the people of sincerity and faith, it is necessary that believers see and experience the stories of the giants of the faith.
For far too many years I neglected to acknowledge the suffering of my soul. Somehow I thought that if I lived a holy enough life, won enough spiritual victories, and just closed my eyes and prayed hard enough all things would be well. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we are given a long list of the behaviors of people of faith and there heroic lives. I have found great strength from the Fathers of the Church who withstood great afflictions to establish the Church that sustains us today. In studying the spiritual and physical afflictions of mystics Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross, I know that sufferings need not be hollow and spiritually useless. If we look closely enough, we can find present day heroes that quietly and faithfully practice their faith in our world. Their spiritual journeys enliven and strengthen my faith. Christians need to seek out and find strength in the stories of brave knights and heroic courage.
- keeping the faith (butterflyawakening.wordpress.com)
And thus prayer makes accord betwixt God and man’s soul. For when the soul is tempted, troubled and left to itself by
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?
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.