Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dame Julian of Norwich: 8 May 2012 Dame Julian of Norwich was an anchoress who lived from about 1343 to 1442. An anchoress basically lived in a cell attached to a church. There would be windows into the church and sometimes on the outside for communication. When Julian was about 30 years old she received revelations from God, during or just after some sickness. She reflected on these visions for some twenty years and wrote a book based on these reflections. One important thing that Julian gives us is that to know God, we must know ourselves. We are told that Julian desired three things in life, to have in mind the passion of Christ, to have bodily sickness at the age of 30, and to receive wounds of sincere contrition. This happened when she had a severe illness at the age of thirty. Julian offers a counter thought to the times in which she lived. In popular thought, society was suffering because of its great sin. Julian though, saw the black plague as a device used by God to bring us back to him. In Julian’s visions and interpretations, we see more of God’s love for us and a reflection of his father like (and mother like attributes). In fact Julian sees sin as something necessary to bring us to God, and that God’s desire is for all to be saved. In her last vision she is told: …All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,” Julian tells us in her own words: “And from the time that [the vision] was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord's meaning was. And fifteen years and more afterward I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: 'Would you know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing, forever.' Thus I was taught that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end ...” Her book is believed to be the first book written by a woman in English. Psalm 27:5-11 Isaiah 46:3-5 Hebrews 10:19-24 John 4:23-26 Dear Lord, you granted to Dame Juilian visions of unspeakable things and gave her a grace to guide others in their spiritual lives. Raise up in this and every generation people who are willing to share their gifts and build up others in the spiritual life. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

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