JULIAN OF NORWICH
1342 - 1423
"Go forward securely, joyfully, and swiftly on the path
of prudent happiness, so that nothing prevents you from offering
yourself to the Most High."
We do not know the real name of the woman known as Julian of Norwich.
She was an anchoress associated with the parish church of St. Julian of Norwich
who served the community through her prayer and wise counsel.
As a young girl she survived a wave of plague that came to Norwich in the year 1349.
Subsequent outbreaks of the disease and the path of fear, suffering and death it left behind
colored her spiritual and theological reflection. She herself had a near-death experience
when she was about 30 years old. This event sealed a profound relationship with God
and Julian felt taught directly by God over the course of her illness.
After her recovery, she continued to reflect on the “showings” or revelations
she had received, and she wrote a theological commentary on them,
which she revised later in her life. Through her writing and through her spiritual counsel,
she developed with her contemporaries one of Christianity’s core insights:
that humanity is made for relationship with God, a relationship that fills us
with life and imbues us with the love and strength that we need,
in order to serve God by helping others and promoting the common good.
Julian’s own physical suffering gave her deep insight and empathy
for her contemporaries. She knew firsthand the very real suffering
that people often experience out of love for others, and she wanted people
to know God’s love and solidarity in ways that would help people
find meaning in the context of grief, loss, and trauma.
She understood suffering to be physical, psychological and spiritual,
and she sought to provide deep consolation through spiritual and theological wisdom. Her major work, Showings or The Revelations of Divine Love, was written in 1373 shortly after her near-death experience, and then again in 1393. The book contains a thoroughly integrated theological, pastoral and spiritual vision of a loving God whose absolute solidarity with humanity teaches us the nature of love in action.
desiring to imitate Your Spouse."
"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity!
Place your soul in the brilliance of glory!
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance
And, through contemplation,
Transform your entire being into the image
of the Godhead Itself,
so that you, too, may feel what friends feel
in tasting the hidden sweetness
that from the beginning,
God has reserved for all who love God wholeheartedly."
"What you hold, may you always hold.
What you do, may you do and not stop.
But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet,
So that even your steps stir up no dust,
May you go forward
Securely, joyfully, and swiftly,
On the path of prudent happiness,
Agreeing with nothing
That would dissuade you from this commitment
Or would place a stumbling block for you on the way,
So that nothing prevents you from offering
Your vows to the Most High in the perfection
To which the Spirit of God has called you."