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Theme:
Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich

Saturday, May 16, 2020
Summary: Sunday, May 10 — Friday, May 15, 2020

Like all mystics, Julian realized that what Jesus was saying about himself, he was simultaneously saying about all of reality. That is what unitive consciousness allows you to see. (Sunday)

Perhaps the best answer to the question “Why Julian now?” is that in our age of uncertainty, inconceivable suffering, and seemingly perpetual violence and war . . . Julian shows us the way toward contemplative peace. —Veronica Mary Rolf (Monday)

The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another person. —Julian of Norwich (Tuesday)

It follows that as truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother. Our Father wills, our Mother works, our good Lord the Holy Ghost confirms. Therefore it belongs to us to love our God, in whom we have our being. —Julian of Norwich (Wednesday)

Julian’s radical insistence that we know there is “no anger in God” directs us all to look at ways in which we project our own bitterness, anger, and vengeance upon God. —Mary C. Earle (Thursday)

“When he said these gentle words,” Julian writes, speaking of God-the-Mother, “he showed me that he does not have one iota of blame for me, or for any other person. So, wouldn’t it be unkind of me to blame God for my transgressions since he does not blame me?” —Julian of Norwich (Friday)

 

Practice: Nothing Will Separate Us From Love

In a way we may find difficult to understand today, prayer was absolutely essential for people in earlier times. People in the Middle Ages did not know the division between science and faith that impacts us today. Mystics, saints, and everyday people would have spent much of their time earnestly bringing their pain and longings to God. Surely, if we are willing to do the same, we may find some measure of solace. Theologian Bruce G. Epperly describes Julian’s life and faith:

Life was particularly difficult in the fourteenth century. Plague, death, and social upheaval characterized everyday life. Death equalized the wealthy and impoverished, and no place could offer escape from the ravages of disease. Scholars believe that unnamed mystic Julian, whose name came from her cathedral home, lived through three plagues and may have lost her husband and children to the dreaded Black Death. Despite the tragedy and loss she experienced, Julian affirmed that God will redeem all things, all sin will be forgiven, and everyone will find wholeness in God’s everlasting realm. . . .

Julian was painfully aware of life’s contingency. She no doubt saw thousands die from the plague. . . . She survived a life-threatening illness. Still she trusted God’s promise, “You will be safe. You will not be overcome.” God holds the future in God’s hands; what mortals plan for evil, God can turn into an opportunity for growth. God your Mother will protect you and God your Father will guide you through all the seasons of life.

I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38–39).

Consider your greatest fears and place them in the passage along with Paul’s list. For example, you may make affirmations such as:

  • Cancer [or other illnesses] will not separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Unemployment will not separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Bereavement will not separate me from the love of God.

Let go of your burdens, including your sin, guilt, and shame, to a Wisdom and Guidance greater than your own. Imperfection is inevitable in earthly life, but all shall be well.

We invite you to spend some time with the following “Prayer of Awareness and Transformation”:

Holy Wisdom, Mother God, you hold my time in your hands. Your providence guides the stars and my cells. Your compassion opens my heart to healing in the midst of pain. Help me rest in you, trusting the future in your care and giving comfort to those who mourn, hurt, and face personal challenge. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Reference:
Bruce G. Epperly, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-Filled World (Upper Room Books, 2017) 98–101.

For Further Study:
Mary C. Earle, Julian of Norwich: Selections from Revelations of Divine Love—Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Paths: 2013)

Julian of Norwich: Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Paulist Press: 1978)

The Revelations of Divine Love of Julian of Norwich, trans. James Walsh (Harper and Brothers: 1961). Walsh’s earlier translations preserves more of Julian’s own words.

The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love, eds. Nicholas Watson and Jacqueline Jenkins (Pennsylvania State University Press: 2006). This book offers a close transcription of Julian’s original text, along with extensive notes.

Richard Rohr and James Finley, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013)

Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008)

Veronica Mary Rolf, An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich (IVP Academic: 2018)

Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019)

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

A Radically Optimistic Theology
Friday, May 15, 2020

My friend Mirabai Starr is gifted with the ability to deliver the teachings of the mystics straight to our hearts. Here is what she says about Julian of Norwich:

The medieval English anchoress Julian of Norwich bequeathed us a radically optimistic theology. She had no problem admitting that human beings have a tendency to go astray. We rupture relationships, dishonor the Divine, make unfortunate choices, and try to hide our faults. And yet, Julian insists, “All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.” [1]

Take that in.

This assertion is meant to penetrate the fog of our despair and wake us up. . . . Julian repeats her declaration three times—most emphatically the third: All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well. She does not ask us to . . . [relegate] everything that unfolds to the will of God, calling it perfect against all evidence to the contrary. She squarely faces the inevitability that we will miss the mark [what Julian calls “sin”] and that there is wickedness in this world. Even so, she is convinced that the nature of the Divine is loving-kindness, and she wants us to absorb this into every fiber of our being.

In her mystical masterwork The Showings, Julian shares that she used to obsess about sin. She couldn’t figure out why God, who is all-powerful, wouldn’t have eliminated our negative proclivities when he made the world. “If he had left sin out of creation, it seemed to me, all would be well.” But what God-the-Mother showed Julian in a near-death vision [during her thirteenth revelation] was that all shall be well anyway. Not in spite of our transgressions but because of them. [Or, as I like to say, we come to God, not by doing it right, but by doing it wrong. —RR]

Julian unpacks this for us [in chapter 27]. In doing so she dispenses with the whole concept of sin and replaces it with love. “I believe that sin has no substance,” Julian writes, “not a particle of being.” While sin itself has no existential value, it has impact. It causes pain. It is the pain that has substance.

But mercy is swiftly forthcoming. It is immediately available. Inexorable! It is frankly rude of us to doubt that all will be well. . . . “When he said these gentle words,” Julian writes, speaking of God-the-Mother, “he showed me that he does not have one iota of blame for me, or for any other person. So, wouldn’t it be unkind of me to blame God for my transgressions since he does not blame me?” The merciful nature of God renders the whole blame game obsolete. . . . In fact, it is when we stumble that the Divine looks most tenderly upon us. Our vulnerability is beautiful to God-the-Mother.

References:
[1] Julian of Norwich, The Thirteenth Revelation, ch. 27. All quotes from Julian in this meditation come from this chapter.

Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019), 175–176.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

There Is No Anger in God
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Author and Episcopal priest Mary Earle explores the difficult questions that beset individuals during Julian’s time as well as our own. She writes,

In a social and cultural context [the fourteenth century was] so saturated with suffering and death, it is no wonder that many believers interpreted these [plagues] as clear signs of God’s anger with humanity. (Certainly, we still see vestiges of this way of interpreting events) . . . The underlying theology draws on a medieval doctrine known as substitutionary atonement . . . [which] held (as it still does today) that because of our many sins, we owe God a debt we can never repay—our burden of debt is so vast and we are finite. That is why Jesus, by dying on the cross, offers himself . . . as a sacrifice in order to satisfy the Father’s wrath. It is easy to see how this theology in its crudest form evolved into a belief in an angry and vengeful God, visiting humanity with punishing events. [1]

Thus in Julian’s day popular devotional art often depicted horrific scenes of the Last Judgment, scenes in which souls were being cast into hell, tortured endlessly by devils. Laymen and [lay]women of the fourteenth century would have constantly been wrestling with the “Why?” of suffering and the wrath of God. . . . When someone receives a terminal diagnosis, or a sudden death occurs, or a natural disaster devastates a region, the first question that occurs is usually, “Why me?”. . . The context out of which Julian writes, although in some ways so remote from our own, is one full of universal questions and themes. . . .

One of Julian’s most radical insights, with which I fully concur, is that there can be no wrath in GodMary Earle continues,

Julian’s radical insistence that we know there is “no anger in God” [2] directs us all to look at ways in which we project our own bitterness, anger, and vengeance upon God. In a resolutely maternal way, she encourages us to grow up, to cast aside our immature and punitive images of God, and to be honest with ourselves about our own actions that have their roots in spiritual blindness. . . .

Julian tells us, again and again, in a variety of ways, that God is our friend, our mother and our father, as close to us as the clothing we wear. She employs homely imagery and language, the vocabulary of domesticity, to tell us her experience. At the same time, she demonstrates a degree of sophisticated theological language. Julian is firm and steady on these points:

  • God is One.
  • Everything is in God.
  • God is in everything.
  • God transcends and encloses all that is made.

The only point I would add to that list from my own study of Julian is that she really believes that God is Love.

References:
[1] I am thankful that in my own Franciscan tradition, John Duns Scotus (c. 1266–1308) taught us an “alternative orthodoxy” that we often call “at-one-ment.” You can read Chapter 12 of my book The Universal Christ for a greater explanation of the topic.

[2] Julian of Norwich, The Fifth Revelation, ch. 13 (Long Text).

Adapted from Mary C. Earle, Julian of Norwich: Selections from Revelations of Divine Love—Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Paths: 2013), xxi-xxii, xxiv.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

God Is Our True Mother
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In Chapter 54 of Julian’s Showings, we find what I consider the best description I have read of the union of the soul inside of the Trinity. Julian writes, “[God] makes no distinction in love between the blessed soul of Christ and the least soul that will be saved.” [1] God can only see Christ in us, it seems, because we are the extended Body of Christ in space and time. Christ is what God sees and cannot not love and draw us back into the Divine Dance of Love. Julian continues:

And I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my understanding accepted that our substance is in God, that is to say that God is God, and our substance is a creature in God. For the almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and keeps us in him. And the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we are enclosed. And the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. [emphasis mine —RR). [2]

Describing God as both mother and father was quite daring in Julian’s time. She called Jesus our “true Mother” from whom we receive our beginning, our true being, protection, and love. Even in terms of gender, mystics tend to be expansive. In chapter 59 she reflects:

Our high Father almighty God, who is Being, he knew us and loved us from before-any-time. Of which knowing, in his full marvelous deep Charity, by the foreseeing endless counsel of all the blessed Trinity, he willed that the second Person should become our Mother, our Brother, and our Saviour.

Whereof it follows that as truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother. Our Father wills, our Mother works, our good Lord the Holy Ghost confirms. And therefore it belongs to us to love our God, in whom we have our being . . . for in these three is all our life. . . .

And therein is a forth-spreading, by the same grace, of a length and breadth, of a height and a deepness without end [see Ephesians 3:18–19]. And all is one love. [3]

After spending years contemplating her visions, Julian finishes her text with this confident description of God’s meaning:

So I was taught that love is our Lord’s meaning. And I saw very certainly in this and in everything that before God made us [God] loved us, which love was never abated and never will be. And in this love . . . [God] made all things profitable to us, and in this love our life is everlasting. . . . In this love we have our beginning, and all this shall we see in God without end. [4]

References:
[1] Julian of Norwich, The Fourteenth Revelation, ch. 54 (Long Text), Julian of Norwich: Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Paulist Press: 1978), 285.

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Fourteenth Revelation, ch. 59 (Long Text). See The Revelations of Divine Love of Julian of Norwich, trans. James Walsh (Harper and Brothers: 1961), 162.

[4] The Sixteenth Revelation, ch. 86 (Long Text), Colledge and Walsh, 342–343.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush, disc 7 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 download, and

Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 45–46.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

Oneing
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The place which Jesus takes in our soul he will nevermore vacate, for in us is his home of homes, and it is the greatest delight for him to dwell there. . . . And the soul who contemplates this is made like [the one] who is contemplated.  —Julian of Norwich

On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you. —John 14:20

“That day” promised in John’s Gospel has been a long time in coming, yet it has been the enduring message of every great religion in history. It is the Perennial Tradition. Divine and thus universal union is still the core message and promise—the whole goal and the entire point of all religion.

Lady Julian of Norwich uses the idea of “oneing” to describe divine union. In chapter 53 of Revelations of Divine Love, she writes, “This beloved soul was preciously knitted to God in its making, by a knot so subtle and so mighty that it is oned in God. In this oneing, it is made endlessly holy. Furthermore, God wants us to know that all the souls which will be saved in heaven without end are knit in this knot, and oned in this oneing, and made holy in this holiness.” [1]

Julian observes, “If I pay special attention to myself, I am nothing at all; but in general, I am, I hope, in the unity of love . . . for it is in this oneing that the life of all people consists”. . . . [2] She reflects: “The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another.” [3] Finally, let us hear Julian in her own Middle English words, speaking of divine and human unity: “For in the sighte of God alle man is one man, and one man is alle man.”[4]

This is not some 21st-century leap of logic. This is not pantheism or mere “New Age” optimism. This is the whole point! Radical union is the recurring experience of the saints and mystics of all religions. We do not have to discover or prove it; we only have to retrieve what has been re-discovered—and enjoyed, again and again—by those who desire and seek God and love. When you think you have “discovered” it, you will be just like Jacob “when he awoke from his sleep” and shouted, “You were here all the time, and I never knew it!” (Genesis 28:16).

As John states in his first Letter, “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, I am writing to you here because you know it already”! (1 John 2:21; my emphasis). Like John, I can only convince you of spiritual things because your soul already knows what is true, and that is why I believe and trust Julian’s showings, too. For the mystics, there is only one Knower, and we just participate in that One Spirit.

References:
[1] Julian of Norwich, The Fourteenth Revelation, ch. 53 (Long Text). See Julian of Norwich: Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Paulist Press: 1978), 284. Note: Minor edits made here to reflect Julian’s original text, and for more inclusive language.

[2] The First Revelation, ch. 9 (Long Text), Colledge and Walsh, 191.

[3] The Fifteenth Revelation, ch. 65 (Long Text), ibid., 309.

[4] The Fourteenth Revelation, ch. 51 (Long text), The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love, eds. Nicholas Watson and Jacqueline Jenkins (Pennsylvania State University Press: 2006), 279.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 95;

“Introduction,” The Perennial Tradition, Oneing, vol. 1, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), 14 (no longer available); and

Intimacy: The Divine Ambush, disc 7 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 download.

Epigraph: Showings, ch. xxii (Short Text), Colledge and Walsh, 164.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

A Perennial Wisdom
Monday, May 11, 2020

Although Julian of Norwich is an anonymous woman who lived over 600 years ago, seekers and scholars return to her “showings again and again. Author Veronica Mary Rolf describes why Julian’s wisdom is perennial, valuable, and needed whenever there is confusion and suffering, which is to say, in every time and place. Rolf writes:

Perhaps the best answer to the question “Why Julian now?” is that in our age of uncertainty, inconceivable suffering, and seemingly perpetual violence and war (not unlike fourteenth-century Europe), Julian shows us the way toward contemplative peace. . . .  In a world of deadly diseases and ecological disasters, Julian teaches us how to endure pain in patience and trust that Christ is working to transform every cross into resurrected glory. . . .

Moreover, across six centuries, Julian’s voice speaks to us about love. She communicates personally, as if she were very much with us here and now. Even more than theological explanations, we all hunger for love. Our hearts yearn for someone we can trust absolutely—divine love that can never fail. Julian reveals this love because, like Mary Magdalene, she experienced it firsthand. . . .

Precisely because she had the courage of her convictions, Julian of Norwich became the first woman ever to write a book in the English language. . . . Even more, this “unlettered” woman developed a mystical theology that was second to none during the fourteenth century and that continues to break barriers in our own time. . . .

Julian is also emotionally raw, often tempted by self-doubt and discouragement, yet constantly renewed in hope. She does something extremely dangerous for a layperson living in the fourteenth century: she discloses her conflict between the predominant medieval idea of a judgmental and wrathful God and her direct experience of the unconditional love of Christ on the cross. . . .

Why is Julian so appealing today? I think because she is totally vulnerable and transparently honest, without any guile. She is “homely”; in medieval terms, that means down-to-earth, familiar, and easily accessible. She is keenly aware of her spiritual brokenness and longs to be healed. So do we. She experiences great suffering of body, mind, and soul. So do we. She has moments of doubt. So do we. She seeks answers to age-old questions. So do we. Then, at a critical turning point in her revelations, she is overwhelmed by joy and “gramercy” (great thanks) for the graces she is receiving. We, too, are suddenly granted graces and filled to overflowing with gratitude. Sometimes, we even experience our own divine revelations.

Again, and again, Julian reassures each one of us that we are loved by God, unconditionally. In her writings, we hear Christ telling us, just as he told Julian, “I love you and you love me, and our love shall never be separated in two.” [1]

References:
[1] Julian of Norwich, The Fourteenth Revelation, ch. 58 (Long Text).

Adapted from Veronica Mary Rolf, An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich, (IVP Academic: 2018), 18-21.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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Julian of Norwich

A Mystic for Our Times
Sunday, May 10, 2020

Recently I have again been reading Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1416), one of my all-time favorite mystics. Each time I return to her writings, I always find something new.

Julian experienced her sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours. Like all mystics, she realized that what Jesus was saying about himself, he was simultaneously saying about all of reality. That is what unitive consciousness allows you to see.

Afterwards, Julian felt the need to go apart and reflect on her profound experience. She asked the bishop to enclose her in an anchor-hold, built against the side of St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England. Julian was later named after that church. We do not know her real name, since she never signed her writing. (Talk about loss of ego!) The anchor-hold had a window into the church that allowed Julian to attend Mass and another window so she could counsel and pray over people who came to visit her. Such anchor-holds were found all over 13th– and 14th-century Europe.

Julian first wrote a short text about the showings, but then she patiently spent twenty years in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a longer text, titled Revelations of Divine Love. Julian’s interpretation of her God-experience is unlike the religious views common for most of history up to her time. It is not based in sin, shame, guilt, fear of God or hell. Instead, it is full of delight, freedom, intimacy, and cosmic hope. How did she retain such freedom, we ask?  Maybe and precisely because she was not a priest, ordained to speak the party line?

As I read her words this time, what strikes me is the similarity between Julian’s time and our own. Here is how author, scholar, and Episcopal priest Mary Earle describes Julian’s fourteenth-century context:

Julian lived at a time of vast social, [religious,] and political upheaval, incessant wars, and sweeping epidemics. Norwich, with a population of around 25,000 by 1330 . . . was struck viciously by the plague known as the Black Death. At its peak in the late 1340s in England, it killed approximately three-fourths of the population of Norwich. A young girl at this time, Julian was certainly affected in untold ways by this devastation. When the plague returned, she was about nineteen. . . . [1]

In her anchor-hold, Julian may have recognized the potential spiritual benefits of “social distancing” during a time of crisis, such as the awakened ability through solitude to be personally present to divine love. Yet we must remember that she also let God’s love flow right through her to those on the street requesting her counsel, and to us through her writings.

References:
[1] Mary C. Earle, Julian of Norwich: Selections from Revelations of Divine Love—Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Paths: 2013), xx—xxi.  

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Intimacy: The Divine Ambush, disc 7 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2013), CD, MP3 Download.

Image credit: Revelations of Divine Love (detail), mid-15th century, (Add MS 37790) f. 97r from The British Library Manuscript, The British Library, London, England.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Julian [of Norwich] experienced . . . sixteen visions, or “showings” as she called them, all on one May night in 1373 when she was very sick and near death. As a priest held a crucifix in front of her, Julian saw Jesus suffering on the cross and heard him speaking to her for several hours . . . then she patiently spent twenty years as an anchorite in contemplation and prayer, trusting God to help her discern the deeper meanings to be found in the visions. Finally, she wrote a long [text] titled Revelations of Divine Love. —Richard Rohr
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