In our world of narrowing down what God does or who he loves, I share with you some of my observations from Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love.
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
Lord give us hearts of inclusiveness that allow us to live with people as you love them. The world seeks to splinter and divide your creation and we know that you came to bring us together and show us a better way.
You want all who are called to serve you.
You offer miracles of grace and healing to those who seek them.
Lets us open our eyes and just see.
“And in this 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 nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.
In this little thing I saw three properties.
The first is that God made it.
The second that God loves it.
And the third, that God keeps it.”
—–Julian of Norwich
Read more of about Julian of Norwich
My first thought was that I really wanted to know what it was like for Jesus to suffer and die. Upon further contemplation my desire was to be there with Him as was Mary Magdalene and the Christ lovers were. Just to be able to experience in the flesh the feelings and sounds of His passion would give me a far deeper understanding of Him. I just want to know His suffering. My first prayer is that God would grant me my desire.
— Julian of Norwich
We spend most of our lives trying to avoid suffering but Julian was godly young woman who prays for great suffering to come upon her. That is quite fascinating, and tells us a lot about her devotion to Jesus as Savior. We all want a Savior, a liberator, a rescuer, but very few want to experience the pain involved with being such a person. Julian was different, she sought it, she welcomed it, because she knew that it was the only way anyone sees God fully.
We all want to achieve great things, learn new skills but the commitment of time and effort and the sacrifice to do so turns us away. The boy who wants to play pro football doesn’t want the concussions and bad knees that plague players for the rest of their lives. In order to experience the fullness of God, we must travel down the road of suffering. Jesus said: “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.” To know God fully we must somehow embody His passion. People go to extremes to know the passion of Christ, some are even nailed to a cross, because it is so important to feel as He felt. In doing so, we see our true worth in His eyes.
Julian gives us a model, a very hard-hitting model, from which to fashion ourselves. She invites this suffering, indeed prays for it, because it will bring her closer to God. I am not saying that we should intentionally hurt ourselves, but I am saying that we should find a way for our hurts to be part of our spiritual journey and not the events that drive us away from God. Our hurts should teach us that we are created in God’s image and are experiencing the very same things He experience on His earthly journey. Suffering, passion and pain are windows to God. We are allowed to see Him fully as we feel that sense of helplessness that comes with such experiences. Like Julian, I feel it is very important to know and feel His pain. The passion is the only way we can know Him fully.
Lord grant that as I suffer, and I will suffer from time to time, that I can use the suffering as a way of drawing closer to you. I pray that I can get a glimpse of what you endure don the cross and carry it with me every day. Help me to take seriously your command to take up my cross and follow you. Help me to find the cross and walk as you walked.
I saw a sign recently that read, “God is a Changer.” How true! The best picture we have of God is Jesus. Jesus – “God with us!” From His first miracle at the wedding in Cana, Jesus was a changer. That day, at His mother’s request, He changed some jugs of water into the best of wines. That of no value became that of great value. Beginning at Cana, Jesus went about making positive changes.
He changed the black world of blindness into the colorful world of sight for a man blind from birth. He changed rotten flesh into spotless, smooth skin for ten outcasts with leprosy. He changed twisted, atrophied legs into strong legs, leaping and running through the streets of Jerusalem for a little girl. He changed a tortured, deranged mind into a pure, clear-thinking mind for a possessed man. He changed unbearable grief into boundless joy for the parents of a dead child brought back to life.
Jesus took a little boy’s school lunch and changed it into a feast for five thousand people. He changed the turbulent waves of the Sea of Galilee and made the water as smooth as glass. He took a hard-headed, rough talking fisherman named Peter and changed him into His greatest disciple. He took the most tormented woman in Jerusalem and changed Mary Magdalene into a woman of great faith.
Jesus changed history. We date our calendar by His birth. He changed our approach to God, our worship, how we pray, and how we relate to others.
Jesus, the great changer, will change you, too. Ask Him! He will change your attitude, your motivation, your priorities, your desires, and your goals. He will change your life from one of no hope to one of everlasting joy!
PRAYER: Father – Make me willing to make changes so that my journey will be one of joy as I grow closer to you.
Filed under Jesus, miracles
I 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.
- Mynde of His Blessyd Passion (interiorcastle8.wordpress.com)
- The Wound of Mission (interiorcastle8.wordpress.com)
(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 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Revelation of Divine Love
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.
- All shall be well… (gracenoteco.wordpress.com)