I watched with all my might for the moment when Christ would expire, and I expected to see his body quite dead.

But I did not see him so, and just at the moment when by appearances it seemed to me that life could last no longer, and that the revelation of his end must be near, suddenly, as I looked at the same Cross, he changed to an appearance of joy.

The change in his blessed appearance changed mine, and I was as glad and joyful as I could possibly be.

And then cheerfully our Lord suggested to my mind: “Where is there now an instant of your pain or of your grief?”

And I was very joyful.

I understood that in our Lord’s intention we are now on his Cross with him in our pains, and in our sufferings we are dying, and with his help and his grace we willingly endure on that same Cross until the last moment of life.

Suddenly he will change his appearance for us, and we shall be with him in heaven.

Between the one and the other, all will be a single era; and then all will be brought into joy.

And this was what he meant in this revelation: “Where is there now an instant of your pain or of your grief?”

And we shall be full of joy.

And here I saw truly that if he revealed to us now his countenance of joy, there is no pain on earth or anywhere else which could trouble us, but everything would be joy and bliss for us.

But because he shows us his suffering countenance, as he was in this life as he carried his Cross, we are therefore in suffering and labour with him as our nature requires.

And the reason why he suffers is because in his goodness he wishes to make heirs of us with him in his joy.

And for this little pain which we suffer here we shall have an exalted and eternal knowledge in God which we could never have without it.

And the harder our pains have been with us on his Cross, the greater will our glory be with him in his kingdom.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, translated by Edmund Colledge OSA and James Walsh SJ (New York: Paulist Press, Classics of Western Spirituality, 1978), ch. 21, pp. 214-215.