Julian of Norwich: The Humility of a Sinful Soul is a Lovely Thing Tuesday, Oct 16 2012 

Our good Lord showed me the enmity of the fiend, from which I gathered that everything opposed to love and peace comes from the fiend and his set.

Inevitably we fall because of our weakness and stupidity – and just as surely we get up with even greater joy because of the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit.

Even if our enemy gains something from us when we fall (this is what he likes!), he loses very much more because of our love and humility when we get up again.

This glorious rising up gives him such sorrow and pain (he hates our soul so much) that he burns and burns with envy.

[…] The remedy is to be aware of our wretchedness, and to fly to our Lord. The greater our need, the more important it is to draw near to him.

Let our meaning be, ‘I am well aware that my suffering is deserved. Our Lord is almighty, and may punish me mightily; he is all-wise, and can punish me wisely; and he is all-good, and loves me most tenderly.’

And with the sight of this we have got to stay. The humility of a sinful soul is a lovely thing, and is a work of the Spirit’s mercy and grace, when we consciously and gladly accept the scourge and punishment given by our Lord himself.

It even becomes gentle and bearable when we are really content with him and with what he does.

[…] This was shown, with particular and loving emphasis, that we are to accept and endure humbly whatever penance God himself gives us, with his blessed passion ever in mind.

[…] Our Lord is with us, protecting us and leading us into fullness of joy. For it is an unending source of joy to us that our Lord should intend that he, our protector here, is to be our bliss there – our way and our heaven is true love and sure trust!

This is the message of all the revelations, and particularly in that of his passion where he made me wholeheartedly choose him to be my heaven.

Flee to our Lord, and we shall be strengthened. Touch him, and we shall be cleansed. Cling to him, and we shall be safe and sound from every danger.

For it is the will of our courteous Lord that we should be as much at home with him as heart may think or soul desire.

But we must be careful not to accept this privilege so casually that we forget our own courtesy.

For our Lord himself is supremely friendly, and he is as courteous as he is friendly: he is very courteous.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, 77, 6); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of Week 28 in Ordinary Time, Year 2

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Julian of Norwich: And We Shall Be Full Of Joy Saturday, May 7 2011 

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.

Julian of Norwich: A Great One-ing Betwixt Christ And Us Saturday, Feb 20 2010 

I saw a part of the compassion of our Lady, Saint Mary.

For Christ and she were so made one in love that the greatness of her loving was cause of the greatness of her pain.

For in this shewing I saw natural love, continued by grace, that creatures have to Him.

Which kind Love was most fully shewed in His sweet Mother, and overpassing; for so much as she loved Him more than all other, her pains passed all other.

For ever the higher, the mightier, the sweeter that the love be, the more sorrow it is to the lover to see that body in pain that is loved.

And all His disciples and all His true lovers suffered pains more than their own bodily dying.

For I am sure by mine own feeling that the least of them loved Him so far above himself that it passeth all that I can say.

Here saw I a great one-ing betwixt Christ and us, to mine understanding: for when He was in pain, we were in pain.

And all creatures that might suffer pain, suffered with Him: that is to say, all creatures that God hath made to our service.

The firmament, the earth, failed for sorrow in their nature in the time of Christ’s dying.

For it belongeth naturally to their property to know Him for their God, in whom all their virtue standeth.

When He failed, then it behoved them, because of kindness between them, to fail with Him, as much as they might, for sorrow of His pains.

And thus they that were His friends suffered pain for love…

…Thus was our Lord Jesus made-naught for us; and all we stand in this manner made-naught with Him, and shall do till we come to His bliss: as I shall tell after.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, ch. 18.

Julian of Norwich: It Is God’s Will That We Hold Us In Comfort With All Our Might Wednesday, Jan 27 2010 

And after this He shewed a sovereign ghostly pleasance in my soul. I was fulfilled with the everlasting sureness, mightily sustained without any painful dread.

This feeling was so glad and so ghostly that I was in all peace and in rest, that there was nothing in earth that should have grieved me.

This lasted but a while, and I was turned and left to myself in heaviness, and weariness of my life, and irksomeness of myself, that scarcely I could have patience to live.

There was no comfort nor none ease to me but faith, hope, and charity; and these I had in truth, but little in feeling.

And anon after this our blessed Lord gave me again the comfort and the rest in soul, in satisfying and sureness so blissful and so mighty that no dread, no sorrow, no pain bodily that might be suffered should have distressed me.

And then the pain shewed again to my feeling, and then the joy and the pleasing, and now that one, and now that other, divers times – I suppose about twenty times.

And in the time of joy I might have said with Saint Paul: Nothing shall separate me from the charity of Christ; and in the pain I might have said with Peter: Lord, save me: I perish!

This Vision was shewed me, according to mine understanding, for that it is speedful to some souls to feel on this wise: sometime to be in comfort, and sometime to fail and to be left to themselves.

God willeth that we know that He keepeth us even alike secure in woe and in weal.

And for profit of man’s soul, a man is sometime left to himself; although sin is not always the cause: for in this time I sinned not wherefore I should be left to myself – for it was so sudden.

Also I deserved not to have this blessed feeling. But freely our Lord giveth when He will; and suffereth us to be in woe sometime. And both is one love.

For it is God’s will that we hold us in comfort with all our might: for bliss is lasting without end, and pain is passing and shall be brought to nought for them that shall be saved.

And therefore it is not God’s will that we follow the feelings of pain in sorrow and mourning for them, but that we suddenly pass over, and hold us in endless enjoyment. Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, ch. 15.

Julian of Norwich: The Loving Soul Sees the Courtesy of God Friday, Jan 15 2010 

After this our good Lord said: I thank thee for thy travail, and especially for thy youth.

And in this Shewing mine understanding was lifted up into Heaven where I saw our Lord as a lord in his own house, which hath called all his dearworthy servants and friends to a stately feast.

Then I saw the Lord take no place in His own house, but I saw Him royally reign in His house, fulfilling it with joy and mirth, Himself endlessly to gladden and to solace His dearworthy friends, full homely and full courteously, with marvellous melody of endless love, in His own fair blessed Countenance.

Which glorious Countenance of the Godhead fulfilleth the Heavens with joy and bliss.

God shewed three degrees of bliss that every soul shall have in Heaven that willingly hath served God in any degree in earth.

The first is the worshipful thanks of our Lord God that he shall receive when he is delivered of pain. This thanking is so high and so worshipful that the soul thinketh it filleth him though there were no more.

For methought that all the pain and travail that might be suffered by all living men might not deserve the worshipful thanks that one man shall have that willingly hath served God.

The second is that all the blessed creatures that are in Heaven shall see that worshipful thanking, and He maketh his service known to all that are in Heaven.

And here this example was shewed: A king, if he thank his servants, it is a great worship to them, and if he maketh it known to all the realm, then is the worship greatly increased.

The third is, that as new and as gladdening as it is received in that time, right so shall it last without end.

And I saw that homely and sweetly was this shewed, and that the age of every man shall be made known in Heaven, and he shall be rewarded for his willing service and for his time. And specially the age of them that willingly and freely offer their youth unto God, passingly is rewarded and wonderfully is thanked.

For I saw that whene’er what time a man or woman is truly turned to God; for one day’s service and for his endless will he shall have all these three decrees of bliss. And the more the loving soul seeth this courtesy of God, the more willing is  he to serve him all the days of his life.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, ch. 14.


Julian of Norwich: Christ Sits Worshipfully in the Soul Thursday, Dec 17 2009 

And then our Lord opened my spiritual eye and showed me my soul in the midst of my heart.

I saw the soul so large as it were an endless world, and as it were a blissful kingdom. And by the conditions that I saw therein I understood that it is a worshipful city.

In the midst of that city sits our Lord Jesus, God and Man, a fair person of large stature, highest bishop, most majestic king, most worshipful Lord. And I saw Him clad majestically.

And worshipfully He sits in the soul, straight-set in peace and rest.

And the Godhead rules and sustains heaven and earth and all that is – sovereign Might, sovereign Wisdom, and sovereign Goodness – but the place that Jesus takes in our soul He shall never remove….

For in us is His homeliest home and His endless dwelling.

And in this sight He showed the satisfaction that He has in the making of man’s Soul.

[…]The blessed Trinity enjoys without end in the making of man’s soul. For He saw from without beginning what should please Him without end.

[…] Our soul may never have rest in things that are beneath itself. And when it comes above all creatures into the self, yet may it not abide in the beholding of its self, but all the beholding is blissfully set in God who is the Maker dwelling therein.

For in man’s Soul is God’s very dwelling; and the highest light and the brightest shining of the city is the glorious love of our Lord, as to my sight.

And what may make us more to enjoy in God than to see in Him that He enjoys in the highest of all His works?

For I saw…that if the blessed Trinity might have made man’s soul any better, any fairer, any nobler than it was made, He should not have been full pleased with the making of man’s soul.

And He wills that our hearts be mightily raised above the deepness of the earth and all vain sorrows, and rejoice in Him.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416): Showings, ch. 67.


Julian of Norwich: This Wonderful Courtesy and Familiarity of our Father Sunday, Oct 25 2009 

So it is with our Lord Jesus and us, for truly it is the greatest possible joy, as I see it, that he who is highest and mightiest, noblest and most honourable, is lowest and humblest, most familiar and courteous.

And verily and truly he will manifest to us all this marvellous joy when we shall see him.

And our good Lord wants us to believe this and trust, rejoice and delight, strengthen and console ourselves, as we can with his grace and with his help, until the time that we see it in reality.

For the greatest abundance of joy that we shall have, as I see it, is this wonderful courtesy and familiarity of our Father, who is our Creator, in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our brother and our saviour.

But no man can know this wonderful familiarity in this life, unless by a special revelation from our Lord, or from a great abundance of grace, given within by the Holy Spirit.

But faith and belief together with love deserve the reward, and so it is received by grace. For our life is founded on faith with hope and love. This is revealed to whom God wills, and he plainly teaches and expounds and declares it, with many secret details which are a part of our faith and belief, which are to be known to God’s glory.

And when the revelation, given only for a time, has passed and is hidden, then faith preserves it by the grace of the Holy Spirit to the end of our lives. And so in the revelation there is nothing different from the faith, neither less nor more.

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. 7, pp. 188-9.


Julian of Norwich: The Highest Form of Prayer Saturday, Oct 17 2009 

For highest form of prayer is to the goodness of God, which comes down to us in our humblest needs.

It gives life to our souls and makes them live and grow in grace and virtue.

It is nearest in nature and promptest in grace, for it is the same grace which the soul seeks and always will, until we truly know our God, who has enclosed us all in himself.

...For he does not despise what he has made, nor does he disdain to serve us in the simplest natural functions of our body, for love of the soul which he created in his own likeness.

For as the body is clad in the cloth, and the flesh in the skin, and the bones in the flesh, and the heart in the trunk, so are we, soul and body, clad and enclosed in the goodness of God.

Yes, and more closely, for all these vanish and waste away; the goodness of God is always complete, and closer to us, beyond any comparison.

For truly our lover desires the soul so to adhere to him with all its power, and us to adhere to his goodness. For of all things that the heart can think, this pleases God most and and soonest profits the soul.

For it is so precisely loved by him who is highest  that this surpasses the knowledge of all created beings. That is to say, there is no created being who can know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly the Creator loves us.

And therefore we can with his grace and his help persevere in spiritual contemplation, with endless wonder at this high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in his goodness has for us;

and therefore we may with reverence ask from our lover all that we will, for our natural will is to have God, and God’s good will is to have us, and we can never stop willing or loving until we possess him in the fulness of joy.

And then we can will no more, for it is his will that we be occupied in knowing and loving until the time that we shall be filled full in Heaven.

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. 6, pp. 185-6.