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.
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
(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)
“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?