The Chrysalis

The tale of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly pleased me as a child. It spoke of something earthly becoming heavenly. It was only an illustration, and it did not matter that the butterfly would also die, but as I got older something seemed to be missing. Now, seeing the problems, in myself and others, of ageing in a changing world, I noticed, like a tap on my shoulder, that what was missing was the chrysalis which seemed only a fleeting stage in the process, but which had an echo which I had to trace,  

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  
Before you were born I consecrated you.

It is part of the beginning of Jeremiah’s account of God speaking to him when he was a young boy. 

Dame Julian of Norwich was shown the whole of creation as no more than a hazelnut lying in the palm of her hand.

"... our Lord showed me a spiritual sight of His homely love. 
I saw He is to us all that is good, and comfortable for us. 
He is our clothing that wraps us in love, 
embraces us and all encloses us for tender love, 
that He may never leave us. 
I know He is all that is good to us. 
In this He showed a little thing 
the size of a hazel nut in the palm of my hand, 
round as a ball. 

"I looked at it ... and thought, What may this be? 
The answer was all-inclusive: 
It is all that is made. 
I marveled how it could last. 
I thought it so little it might suddenly fall to nothing. 
And I was given to understand: 

It lasts and always shall, for God loves it." 

But suddenly I saw all Creation as a Chrysalis

I saw all Creation as a Chrysalis  
lying in the palm of a loving hand,  
each of us, a pupa in it,  
all our senses in tune with it.  

Does the pupa remember its larval stage?
Do the strains of exit feel like the pains of age? 
Does it fear its end? 
Its chrysalis is its whole world.
Does it remember its other form? 
The egg it came from?  
Has it any other sense of time? 
Before I formed you in the womb,  I knew you.  
Before you were born,  I consecrated you.

To leave the known for the unknown, 
this life for another,
its skin must be unfurled.

Near fourteen billion years ago  
our cosmos burst into being,  
a singularity, 
with no dimensions,  no time, 

That first moment had no before; 
no place where space first formed.  
Before when there was no before  
when there was not a when,  
no where, when there was nowhere,  
no here, no there. 

We must think of something other,  
for which we have no words.  
The Greek word Allos, also means all other,  
I use it, with capital A, for that Other 

Spacetime burst from a formless singularity. 
no dimensions, no time; 
Space gave birth to time, time gave birth to space; 
no before, just other;
for which we have no words. 
Allos, “something other”, 
energy or potential, other than spacetime.

To speak of a ‘time before time’, 
or 'some-where' in which space appeared, 
is meaningless.
Allos, is the energy of existence, 
 existence other than that we know, 
without dimensions of time or space. 
It is the energy of our existence. 

A truly primal singularity has no relationships, no time, no dimensions. Spacetime has both. The number of dimensions is still debated but we all know three. Time is thought perhaps to have developed in the same primal moment in which either multi-dimensional space was produced with time as another dimension, or maybe time came from other early spatial dimensions, an initial multi-dimensional time (I can’t imagine that either) which collapsed into the time dimension we know with the others becoming space. 

Whatever the creative process, call it what you will, it needed energy. 

The primal singularity was a result not a cause, 
bringing from the Allos all that we know. 
Before it divided and expanded, 
it held the energy equivalent 
of the entire mass of the known cosmos, 
in a particle of the minimum possible dimensions *.

Now, nearly 14 billion years later, wow! some chrysalis!

*  (Planck density : 1094 grams per cubic centimetre, at a time of 10-43 seconds, with a diameter of 10-35 centimetres).

Julian last chapters: 83 – 85

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

Here I come to the end of ‘The Shewings of Dame Julian of Norwich’, also known as ‘Revelations of Divine Love’, first written after sixteen visions or ‘shewings’ in 1373 during a severe, paralysing illness, so severe that she received the last rites. She first wrote a shorter version, but, reflecting over the years into the mid-fifteenth century she produced this extended commentary. No earlier book in English by a woman has been found.

Eighty-third chapter.

Of three properties in God – Life, Love and Light; and that our reason is in God, accordand. It is heyest gift; and how our feith is a light commeing of the Fadre mesurid to us, and in this night us ledand. And the end of our wo: Sodenly our eye shall be openid in full light and clarity of syte which is our maker, Fader, and Holy Gost, in Jhesus our Savior.

I had partial touch, sight, and feel
of three properties of God
in which the strength and the effect
of all the revelations stand,
and they were seen in every shewing,
but most properly in the twelfth showing
where it says often, I AM.

These properties are life, love, and light.

In life is marvellous homeliness,
and in love is gentle courtesy,
and in light, endless kinship.

These properties were one in goodness,
goodness with which my reason would be one,
cleaving close to it with all its might.

I beheld this with reverent awe,
marvelling in the sight and feel
of the harmony of our reason with God,
the highest gift we have received,
grounded in kinship with God.

Our faith is the light,
the kindred command of God,
our father, our endless day,
by which our Mother Christ,
and our good lord, the Holy Spirit,
lead us in this passing life.

This light is measured with care,
standing by us at need in our night.
The light is the cause of our life,
the night causes our pain and all our woe,
by mercy and grace, we wilfully know
and believe our light,
going into it wisely and mightily,
to deserve God’s reward and thanks.

And at the end of woe,
our eyes shall suddenly be opened,
and see fully in light’s clarity,
which light is God our Maker, and the Holy Spirit,
in Christ Jesus our saviour.

So I saw and understood,
our faith is our light in our night,
which light is God, our endless day.

Eighty-fourth chapter.

Charite is this light which is not so litil but that it is nedefull with travel to deserven endles worshipfull thanke of God. For feith and hope leden us to charite which is in three manners.

The light is Christian love,
measured profitably to us by God’s wisdom,
not strong enough to see our future heaven,
nor concealed from us,
but such that we may deservedly live by,
deserving God’s endless praise.

This was seen in the sixth showing where He said,
I thank you for your service and your travail.

Thus Christian love keeps us in faith and in hope,
and hope leads us in Christian love,
and at the end, all shall be Christian love.

I had three ways of understanding this light,
the light of Christian love.
The first is Christian love unmade.
The second is Christian love made.
The third is Christian love given.

Christian love unmade is God.
Christian love made is our soul in God.
Christian love given is virtue.
And that is a gracious gift working in us
in which we love God for Himself
and ourselves in God,
and that God loves, for God.

Eighty-fifth chapter.

God lovid His chosen fro without begynnyng, and He never suffrith them to be hurte, wherof their bliss might be lessid; and how privities now hidde in Hevyn shall be knowen, wherefore we shall bliss our Lord that everything is so wele ordeynid.

At this sight I marvelled highly,
for our courteous Lord forever delights
to watch over us in our simple life and blindness here,
and of all things we may please Him best
by wisely and truly believing this,
delighting with Him and in Him.

As truly as we shall be in God’s bliss,
endlessly praising and thanking Him,
as truly we have been in God’s foresight,
loved and known in His endless purpose
from without beginning,
in which unbegun love He made us,
and in the same love He keeps us,
never letting us be hurt
which might lessen our bliss.

When the last day is called,
and we are all brought up above,
than we shall clearly see in God
the secrets now hidden to us.

Then none of us need say in any way,
“Lord if it had been thus, then all would be well”;
but we shall all know and say in our hearts,
“Lord, bless you, it is thus, and all is well.”
Now we see truly that all is done
as was ordained before any thing was made.

Eighty-sixth chapter.

The Good Lord shewid this booke shuld be otherwise performid than at the first writing. And for His werking He will we thus prey, Him thankand, trostand, and in Him enjoyand. And how He made this shewing because He will have it knowen, in which knoweing He will give us grace to love Him. For fifteen yeere after it was answerid that the cause of all this shewing was love, which Jhesus mote grant us. Amen.

This booke is begunne be Gods gift and His grace, but it is not yet performid, as to my syte.

For Christian love we all pray to God,
with God’s working, thanking, trusting, treasuring.
For thus our good Lord wishes our prayers,
as by all I understood in all He meant
and in the sweet words where He says,
full merrily, I am the soil your prayers grow in.

For I truly saw and understood our Lords meaning:
He showed it to have it known more than it is,
in which knowledge He will give us grace
to love Him and cleave to Him.

For He watches over His heavenly treasure
with such great love on earth, to give us more light,
more solace in heavenly joy, drawing our hearts
from the sorrow and darkness we are in.

 From the time it was shown I often desired to know our Lords meaning.
And fifteen years after, and more, I was answered in spiritual understanding,
Would you know your Lord’s meaning in this thing?
Know it well, love was His meaning.

Who shewid it you? Love.
What did He show you? Love.
Why did He show it? For love.

Hold yourself therein, and you shall understand,
you shall know more of the same.
But you shalt never know nor understand any other thing without end.

Thus was I taught that love was our Lord’s meaning.
And I saw fully, securely, 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 works,
and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us;
and in this love our life is everlasting.
In our making we had our beginning.
The love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning,
and in that love we have our beginning.
All this shall be seen in God without end,
which Jesus will grant us.

Thus ends the blessed Trinity’s Revelation of love
shown by our Saviour, Christ Jesu,
for our endless comfort, and our endless solace,
to be treasured in Him in the passing journey of this life.

Amen. Jesu. Amen.

I pray Almighty God that this book comes not but to the hands of them that will be His faithful lovers, and to those that will submit them to the faith of Holy Church, and obey the wholesome understanding and teaching of the men that are of virtuous life, dignified age, and profound learning.

For this Revelation is high Divinity and high wisdom, wherefore it may not dwell with him that is in thrall to sin and to the Devil.

And beware you take not one thing after your affection and liking and leave another, for that is the condition of a heretic.

But take everything with every other, and truly understand all is according to holy scripture and grounded in the same, and that Jesus, our very love, light, and truth, shall show to all clean souls that ask with meekness, perseveringly, this wisdom of Him.

And you to whom this book shall come, thank our Saviour Christ Jesus highly and heartily, that He made these showings and revelations for you, and to you, in His endless love, mercy, and goodness, for your and our safe guide and conduct to everlasting bliss; which Jesus can grant us.


Julian Ch. 80 – 82

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

Eightieth chapter.

By three thyngs God is worshippid and we savid; and how our knowing now is but as an ABC. And swete Jhesus doith all, abyding and monyng with us, but whan we arn in synne, Christ monyth alone. Than it longith to us for kindness and reverens hastily to turne agen to Him.

Man stands by three things in this life by which:
God is worshiped;
we achieve our hopes;
we are kept and saved.

First is the use of man’s natural reason.
Second, the common teaching of Holy Church.
Third, the Holy Spirit’s inward, gracious work.

And these three are all of one God:
God is the ground of our kindred reason,
God is the teaching of Holy Church,
and God is the Holy Spirit.

He wants us to regard these gifts greatly
attending closely to them, for these things
work us continually toward God.
He wants us to know them like an ABC,
giving us a little knowledge and help,
which shall be fulfilled in Heaven.

By faith we know none but God took our nature,
Christ alone did all for our salvation,
and none but He, as He alone does still
in these latter days, dwelling here with us,
ruling and governing us, in this life,
to bring us to His bliss, which He shall do
while any soul in earth may come to Heaven;
so that if there only one such soul,
He would remain alone, to bring it to bliss.

 I believe and understand angels
and their ministration, as we are told,
but it was not shown me.
He Himself is nearest, meekest, highest,
and lowest, and does all;
not only all our needs, but also all
that is worshipful for our joy in Heaven.

When I said he waits sorrowing and mourning,
it means all that true feeling we have in ourself,
contrition, compassion, sorrow and mourning
that we are not one with our Lord.

All like that, that is helpful, is Christ in us.
And though some of us may feel it seldom,
it never leaves Christ until He has brought us
out of all our woe – for love and pity are one.

When we fallen into sin and forget Him,
and our soul’s care, then Christ keeps charge of us,
and so stands sorrowfully, mourning.
Then we should turn hastily to our Lord
in reverence and kindness and not leave Him alone.

He is only here for us,
and when, by sin, despair or sloth
I am strange to Him, then all my effort
makes my Lord stand alone.
And so it is with us all who are sinners.

But though we do this often,
His goodness never leaves us alone.
He is always with us, tenderly excusing,
forever shielding us from blame in His sight.

Eighty-first chapter.

This blissid woman saw God in divers manners, but she saw Him take no resting place but in manys soule. And He will we enjoyen more in His love then sorowen for often falling, remembring reward everlasting and liveing gladly in penance; and why God suffrith synne.

Our good Lord showed Himself in various ways,
in Heaven and in earth;
but I only saw Him take His place in man’s soul.

In earth, in His sweet incarnation,
and again in His blessed passion.
In another way He showed Himself in earth,
where I saw God focussed in creation.

He showed Himself another way in earth,
as though in pilgrimage, that is to say,
He is here with us, leading us, and shall be
until He brings us to His bliss in Heaven.

He showed Himself reigning many times,
as above, but principally in man’s soul.
He has taken His resting place there
as His worshipful city, His see,
from which He shall never rise nor leave.

Marvellous and solemn is the Lord’s dwelling,
He wants us to feel His gracious touch,
treasuring His whole love more than sorrow
in our frequent fallings.

The greatest worship to Him of all
is to live gladly, merrily, for His love,
and in penance for our failings.
For He beholds us so tenderly
seeing our whole life here as penance.

Our kindred love for Him is lasting penance
which His mercy works in us, and helps us bear.
For His love makes Him long for us,
allowing us to abide here in His wisdom,
in His truth and His righteousness;
desiring that same response in us to Him.

This kindred penance which surpasses all,
never leaves us until we are fulfilled
when we shall have Him as our reward.
He would have us set our hearts in this,
from the pain we feel into the bliss we trust.

Eighty-second chapter.

God beholdith the monyng of the soule with pite and not with blame, and yet we do nowte but synne, in the which we arn kept in solace and in drede. For He will we turne us to Him, redy clevand to His love, seand that He is our medicyne. And so we must love in longing and in enjoyeing, and whatsover is contrarie to this is not of God but of enmity.

But here our courteous Lord showed the moaning
and the mourning of the soul, meaning thus:
I know well you will live for My love, merrily and gladly suffering all the penance that may come to you. But inasmuch as you do not live without sin, you will suffer for My love all the woe, all the tribulation, and disease that may come to you. This is true, but do not be greatly aggrieved with sin that falls to you against your will.

Here I understood,
the Lord looks on the servant with pity, not blame;
this passing life is not lived wholly without blame,
nor without sin.
He loves us endlessly, but we sin by habit.

He instructs us quite mildly;
and then we sorrow and mourn discreetly,
turning to look on His mercy,
cleaving to His love and goodness,
seeing He is our medicine,
understanding that we do naught but sin.

by our meekness at the sight of our sin,
faithfully knowing His eternal love,
thanking and praising Him, we please Him.
I love you and you love Me, and our love shall not be separated, and I suffer for your profit.
This was shown in spiritual understanding,
in these blessed words:
I keep you fully secure.

Our blessed Lord’s great desire that we live,
longing, enjoying, as this love-lesson shows,
understanding all contrary to us
is not of Him but of enmity.
and He wants us to understand this by
His kindred love’s sweet gracious light.

I do not know if any such lover in earth
is continually kept from falling,
for it was not shown me.
But this was shown, we are preciously kept,
falling and rising, in one love.
For in beholding God we do not fall;
in beholding ourself we do not stand;
and these are both true, as to my sight.
But beholding our Lord God is the highest truth.

Then we are greatly indebted to God,
who wants to show this high truth in this life.
I understood that while we are in this life,
seeing these truths together helps greatly.
The higher vision calms our spirit,
truly enjoying God.

The lower beholding keeps us in dread,
making us feel ashamed of ourself.
He wants us to behold the higher more,
and yet not leave knowing the lower,
until we are brought up above to Him
where we shall have Lord Jesus for our reward,
and be filled with endless joy and bliss.

Julian 78 – 79

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

Seventy-eighth chapter.

Our Lord will we know four manner of goodnes that He doith to us; and how we neede the lyte of grace to knowen our synne and febilnes, for we arn nothing of ourselfe but writchidnes, and we may not know the horribilnes of synne as it is. And how our enemy would we should never know our synne til the last day, wherfore we arn mekil bowndend to God that shewith it now.

Our Lord in His mercy shows us our sin
and feebleness by His sweet gracious light,
for our sin is so vile and so horrible
that He, in courtesy, will not show it,
except in the light of His grace and mercy.

He wants us to know four things.
First, He is the soil in which our whole life and being grow.

Second, He keeps us strongly and mercifully,
when we are in sin with our enemies
so very evilly upon us;
so much that we are in more peril,
for we gave them that chance, not knowing our danger.

Third, how courteously He keeps us,
showing us when we go astray.

Fourth, how He constantly awaits us,
keeping His loving regard, willing us
to turn and unite with Him in love,
as He does us.

In this gracious knowledge we may see our sin
profitably, and without despair.
For we need to see it, and be shamed,
breaking down our pride and presumption.
For we must see truly that we are nothing
but sin and wretchedness.

So by the lesser sight our Lord shows us,
more is broken down than we see.
In his courtesy He limits the sight,
for it is so vile and so horrible
that we could not endure it in full.

Meekly understanding, through contrition,
and through grace, we shall be broken away
from all things that are not of our Lord.
Our blessed Saviour shall perfectly heal us
and unite us to Himself.

Our Lord intends this breaking and healing
for all mankind. God’s highest and nearest
may see himself sinful and needy as me;
and I, the least and lowest that shall be saved,
may be comforted with him that is highest.

So our Lord united us in charity
when He showed me that I should sin.
but for my joy in beholding Him,
I did not attend readily to that showing,
so then our courteous Lord stopped,
and would teach me no further
until He gave me grace and will to attend.

I learned by this; though our Lord’s special gift
may lift us high in contemplation,
we must know and see our sin and weakness.

Without this we cannot be truly meek,
and without this we cannot be saved.
I also saw we may not know this by ourself,
nor of all our spiritual enemies
who wish us little good.
If they had their way we should not see it
until our dying day.

So we are much in debt to God
that, for love, He will, in time,
show us Himself in mercy and grace.

Seventy-ninth chapter.

We are lernyd to our synne, and not to our neighbors, but for their helpe; and God will we know whatsomever stering we have contrary to this shewing, it comith of our enemy. For the gret love of God knowen, we should not ben the more reckles to fallen, and if we fallen, we must hastily risen or ell we are gretly onkind to God.

I also had further understanding in this.

In showing me that I should sin,
I took it nakedly, singularly to myself,
for I was not otherwise stirred at that time.

But by our Lord’s high, gracious comfort,
I saw His meaning was for all mankind,
that is to say, all mankind which is sinful
and shall be until the last day,
of which mankind I hope I am a member,
by God’s mercy.
For the blessed comfort I saw,
is large enough for us all.

Here I learned I should see my own sin,
not other men’s sins, except for the comfort
and help of my fellow Christians.

Also in that same showing,
where I saw that I would sin,
I learned to dread my own uncertainty,
for I knew not how I might fall,
nor the measure nor greatness of that sin.
For that I fearfully wished to have known;
and to that I had no answer.

But our courteous Lord, at that same time,
showed, safely and mightily,
the endless unchangeability of His love.
And, by His great goodness and His grace,
and their keeping within us,
the love between Him and our soul
shall never be parted.
so from this dread I have the meekness
that saves me from presumption.

In this blessed love I have true comfort
and a joy that saves me from despair.  
This homely showing of our courteous Lord,
is a lovely lesson, a sweet, gracious teaching,
of Himself comforting our soul.

For He wants us to know by His sweetness,
and homely loving, that all we see or feel,
within or without, which is contrary to this
is of the enemy, not of God.
So if we are stirred to be more reckless
in our living or our desires through knowing
of this plenteous love, then we must greatly beware.

For this stirring, if it comes, is untrue.
We should hate it greatly,
for it has no likeness to God’s will.
And when we fall by frailty or blindness,
then our courteous Lord touches us, stirs us,
keeps us, wants us to see our wretchedness
and meekly acknowledge it.

But He does not want us not to stay this way,
nor spend time greatly accusing ourselves,
nor to think too wretchedly of ourselves.
But He wants us to eagerly attend to Him,
for He stands all apart*, awaiting us
piteously, lamenting ’til we come,
impatient for us, for we are His joy
and His delight, and He, our balm, our life.

Although I say He stands alone,
I do not speak of Heaven’s blessed company,
but His purpose and work here on earth
upon the condition of the showing.

* apart – interestingly the word Julian used was alufe, which although our 21st century equivalent, aloof, seems to fit well it did not truly become this until about the 16th century. At the time Julian wrote it still had its 14th century meaning of a-luff, the position a ship takes to the luff, or windward, standing off from a dangerous shore.

Julian Chap. 76 – 77

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

Seventy-sixth Chapter.

A loveand soule hatith synne for vilehede more than all the peyn of Hell; and how the beholdyng of other mannys synne (but if it be with compassion), lettith the beholdyng of God; and the devill, be putting in remembrans our writchidness, would letten for the same; and of our slawth.

I speak but little of reverent dread,
for I hope it may be seen here above.
But I know well our Lord showed me no souls
other than those that fear Him.

For I know well, the soul that truly accepts
the Holy Spirit’s teaching hates sin more
for all its vileness, and all its horror,
than all the pains of Hell; for as I saw it,
the soul that beholds Lord Jesus’ kindness,
hates no hell but sin.

Therefore it is God’s will that we know sin,
praying busily, working wilfully,
seeking the Spirit’s teaching meekly,
that we do not fall blindly into sin;
and if we fall, that we rise readily.

For the most pain the soul may ever have,
is to turn away from God because of sin.
When sin comes to mind, the soul wanting rest
should flee it as the deepest pain of Hell,
seeking God for ease and help against it.

Beholding other men’s sins makes, as it were,
a thick mist before the soul’s eye,
so we can no longer see God’s fairness –
unless we can have contrition with them,
beholding them with compassion for them,
and with holy desire to God for them;
for I learned in showing compassion,
that without this the soul that beholds them
is annoyed, tempested and hampered.

In this blissful showing of our Lord,
I have understood two contraries.
The most wisdom any may have in this life;
the other, the most folly.

The most wisdom is to follow the will
and counsel of his highest sovereign friend.
This blessed friend is Jesus.
His will and counsel is that we hold to Him,
and fasten ourselves to Him, homely,
evermore in whatever state we are,
for whether we are foul or clean
we are all one in His love.

He never wants us to flee Him for weal nor woe.
But being changeable we often fall
by the stirring of our enemy, into sin
and by our own folly and blindness.

For they say, ‘You know well you are a wretch,
a sinner, untrue, not keeping the commands;
you often promise our Lord to do better,
and soon after, fall again just the same,
which is sloth and wasting time’.

As I see it, that is the beginning of sin,
for creatures that have given themselves
to serve our courteous Lord,
inwardly beholding his blessed goodness,
making us fearful to appear before Him.

It is our enemy that sets us back
with his false fear of our wretchedness,
for the pain that he threatens us with;
intending to make us so heavy,
and so weary, that we put out of mind
the fair, blissful vision of our everlasting friend.

LXXVII Seventy-seventh chapter.

Off the enmite of the fend which lesith more in our uprising than he winnith be our fallyng, and therfore he is scornyd. And how the scorge of God shuld be suffrid with mynde of His passion. For that is specially rewardid aboven penance be ourselfe chosen. And we must nedes hove wo, but curtes God is our leder, keper, and bliss.

Our good Lord showed the fiend’s enmity,
and all that is contrary to love and peace
is of the fiend and his part, but we fall
through our own feebleness and folly,
but rise to more joy with the mercy
and with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

If our enemy wins anything by our fall,
which is his delight, he loses far more
in our rising by charity and meekness.
Our glorious rising is such great sorrow
and pain to him for his hate for our soul,
that he burns continually with envy.
And all this sorrow he would make us have
shall turn to himself. For this our Lord scorned him,
and which made me laugh mightily.

This then is the remedy –
to know our wretchedness and fly to our Lord,
for always, the needier we are,
the more helpful it is to draw near Him.

Saying in our mind,
‘I know well I have a wicked pain,
our almighty Lord may punish me mightily,
He is all-wise and can punish me skilfully,
and is all goodness and loves me full tenderly.

We must abide this awareness,
that lovely meekness of a sinful soul,
wrought by the Holy Spirit’s mercy and grace,
when we will wilfully and gladly take
the scourge and chastening our Lord will give.
And it shall be fully tender and easy,
if we will only think ourselves repaid
by Him and all His works.

I was shown no penance that man takes himself,
that is to say, no specific penance;
but it was shown especially highly,
with full, lovely, unspoken feeling,
that we shall meekly and patiently bear
and suffer the penance God Himself gives us
in understanding of His blessed passion.

For when we think of His blessed passion
with piety and love, we suffer with Him,
as did His friends that saw it.
And this was shown in the thirteenth showing,
near the beginning where it speaks of piety.
For He says,
Do not blame yourself too much, insisting that all your tribulation and woe is all for your failings, for I do not wish you to be either heavy or sorrowful imprudently. I tell you, whatever you do you shall have woe, so I want you to see this penance wisely, and know that all your life is profitable penance.

This place is prison, and this life is penance;
and He wants us to enjoy the remedy,
which is that He is with us,
keeping and leading us into fullest joy.
For our Lord intends this endless joy,
that He that shall be our bliss when we are there,
and He is our keeper while we are here.

Our way, our Heaven, is true love, sure trust,
which He gave with complete understanding,
showing His passion, by which He made me
choose Him, mightily, for my Heaven.

Fly to our Lord, and we shall be comforted;
touch Him, and we shall be made clean;
cleave to Him, and we shall be secure,
safe from all manner of peril;
for our courteous Lord wants us homely with Him
as heart may think, or soul desire.

But homeliness must not displace courtesy.
Our Lord Himself is sovereign homeliness,
and homely as He is, He is very courteous;
and those to be with Him in Heaven,
He will have like Himself in all things.

And to be like our Lord perfectly,
is our true salvation and our full bliss.
And if we do not know how to do this
let us ask our Lord, and He shall teach us,
for it is His delight and His worship.

Blessed may He be.

Julian 74 – 75

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

Dread, which Julian uses often here, is still a complex word but nowadays we reduce it to fewer meanings, principally using it for extreme fear. In the 14th century, according to its context, it was used to convey respect, awe, wonder, etc. allowing an admixture of other emotions. We have not lost all this; Christians, Jews and Muslims understand the term ‘fear God’ very much in this multi-emotive way, although sadly a few seem to use it to use it mainly as being scared of His punishing us for sin.

Seventy-fourth chapter.

Ther ben four manner of drede, but reverent drede is a lovely true that never is without meke love; and yet thei be not both one; and how we should pray God for the same.

For I understand four forms of awe.

One is the alarm that comes to us from frailty.
This does good for it helps to purge us,
as do bodily sickness or pains that are not sin.
Taken patiently, all such pains help us.

The second is that of suffering, whereby man is stirred,
wakened from drowsy dullness to sin,
unable to know the Holy Spirit’s soft comfort
until he understands the fear of pain,
bodily death and spiritual enemies.
This awe stirs and helps us seek comfort and God’s mercy,
enabling contrition by the Holy Spirit’s blissful touch.

The third is that of doubt.

Our awe of doubt draws us to despair,
which God wishes to be turned into love
by our knowing and understanding love;
that is to say, by turning doubt’s bitterness
to sweet kindred love by grace.
For it can never please our Lord
for His servants to doubt his goodness.

The fourth is reverent awe.

Reverent awe is the most pleasing to God,
it is completely gentle,
the more it is had, the less is it felt,
for sweetness of love.
Love and awe are brothers,
rooted in us by our maker’s goodness;
and shall never be taken from us.

It is our nature to love, and we have grace to love;
awe is in our nature, and we have grace to be in awe.
It is the Lord and Father’s right to be revered,
as is the Lord and Father’s goodness to be loved.

We, His servants and His children must revere Him
for His lordship and fatherhood,
as we must love Him for goodness.

This reverent awe and love, though not divided,
are not one but two, in nature and working.
Neither may be had without the other.
Therefore I am sure that he that loves
also dreads, though he may feel it little.

All fears we have, other than reverent awe,
though having the colour of holiness,
are not so true, and so may be told apart.

That dread that makes us flee hastily
from all that is not good,
falling into our Lords breast
as the child into the mother’s bosom,
with all our intent, with all our mind,
knowing our feebleness and our great need,
knowing His everlasting goodness,
His blissful love, looking only to Him for salvation,
cleaving to Him with secure trust –
that dread is natural, gracious, good, and true.
All that is opposed to this,
is either wrong or mixed with wrong.
This is the remedy: to know them both
and refuse the wrong.

The natural benefit of the dread
we have here by the Holy Spirit’s grace,
shall also be in Heaven before God,
gentle, courteous, and wholly delectable.

And there we shall, in love, be homely,
near to God, and, in respect and awe,
equally gentle and courteous to Him.

We desire to fear our Lord God reverently,
love Him meekly, and trust Him mightily.

When we dread Him, loving Him reverently,
meekly, our trust is never in vain;
the more and mightier we trust our Lord,
the more we please and worship Him we trust.
And if, God forbid, we fail in this,
in this reverent dread, in this meek love,
our trust shall quickly become unruly for a time.

And so we must pray greatly to our Lord of grace
that we may have this reverent dread and meek love
as His gift in heart and action,
for without this no man may please God.


Us nedith love, longing, and pite; and of three manner of longing in God which arn in us; and how in the day of dome the joy of the blissid shal ben incresid, seing verily the cause of all thyng that God hath don, dredfully tremeland, and thankand for joye, mervelyng the gretnes of God and littlenes of all that is made. Seventy-fifth chapter.

I saw that God may do all we need.
And we need three things of which I shall talk:
love, longing, pity.

Pity, or piety, in love holds us
safe in the time of our need,
and longing, in that same love,
draws us into Heaven.

For God thirsts to have all mankind in Him.
His thirst drew all His saints, now in bliss;
and for us on earth, His living members,
He forever draws and drinks,
yet still He thirsts and longs.

I saw three forms of longing in God,
all to one purpose which we share,
the same virtue, and the same end.

First, He longs to teach us to know Him,
to love Him forever, as is suitable and beneficial to us.
Second, He longs to have us up in His bliss
as souls taken out of pain into Heaven.
Third, to fulfil us in bliss,
which shall be fulfilled on the last day, everlastingly.

For I saw, as it is known in our faith,
that pain and sorrow shall be ended
for all that shall be saved.

We shall not only receive the same bliss
that souls before have had in Heaven,
but we new bliss, into and fulfilling us,
plentifully flowing from God.

These are the gifts He has ordained for us
from without beginning;
they are treasured and hidden in Himself,
for until that time no creature is mighty enough
or worthy to receive them.
In them we shall see the true cause of all He has done,
and see evermore the cause of all He has suffered.

The bliss and fulfilling shall be so deep and high
that, for the wonder and marvel, all creatures
shall have for God so great reverent dread,
surpassing what has been seen and felt before,
that the pillars of Heaven shall tremble and quake;
but this trembling and dread shall have no pain.

It belongs to God’s worthy might
to behold His creatures in awe,
trembling and quaking for meekness of joy,
marvelling at God, the maker’s greatness,
over the littleness of all creation.

Beholding this makes the creature
marvellously meek and mild, which God desires,
and it belongs to us by kinship and grace,
to be certain of and acknowledge this,
desiring this sight and His work.
For it leads us in the right way,
and keeps us in true life,
and unites us with God.

As good as God is and as great He is,
as much as it belongs to His Godhead to be loved,
so it belongs to His greatness to be dreaded;
with that reverent dread, the fair courtesy
that is in Heaven before God’s face.

And as much as He shall then be known
and loved beyond what He is now,
so shall He be feared beyond what He is now.
All Heaven and earth shall tremble and quake
when its pillars shall tremble and quake
in meekness and joy.

Julian 71 – 73

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.


Cher occurs frequently in Julian’s following chapters (see intro below in bold). Although it comes from Old French, Latin and Greek words for face it developed a wealth of meanings in her time including face, expression, regard, attitude towards, concern, countenance, etc. and I have used appropriate translations to suit. Our present day cheers! when clinking glasses, and our similar greetings and goodbye (cheerio) come from its sense of unspoken feelings conveyed in eye to eye, or face to face contact.

A couple of centuries after Julian wrote her book, Ben Jonson published a poem ‘To Celia’, perhaps better known as Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes which beautifully, though almost certainly coincidentally, expresses not only this but also the interwoven nature of awe, doubt and love which she presents in this and later chapters.

To Celia’

Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss within the cup
And I’ll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sip,
I would not change for thine.

I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
Not so much hon’ring thee
As giving it a hope that there
It could not withered be;
But thou thereon did’st only breathe,
And sent’st it back to me,
Since when it grows and smells, I swear
Not of itself, but thee.

Benjamin Jonson 1616

Chapter 71 LXXI

INTRO … Jesus will our soules be in glad cher to Hym, for His cher is to us mery and lovely; and how He shewith to us three manner cher, of passion, compassion, and blisfull cher.

The blissful, lovely face our Lord turns to our souls
is glad, merry and sweet,
holding us, living forever in love-longing,
wanting our souls to turn gladly to Him as His reward.

And so I hope, in His grace,
He draws the outer face to the inner one,
and shall do so more and more,
making us one with Him and with each other
in the true lasting joy that is Jesus.

 I understand three expressions of our Lord.

First, the expression of passion He showed
while He was here in this life, dying.
Though this is a mournful and pitiful sight,
yet it shines and pleases, for He is God.

Second, the expression of pity, regret, compassion,
which He shows with strong care
to all His lovers in need of His mercy.

Third, His blissful expression as it shall be forever;
most often shown, and longest continued.

So in the time of our pain and our woe
He shows His face of passion and His cross,
His own blessed virtue helping us endure.

When we sin He shows us His expression
of regret and pity, holding us strongly,
defending against all our enemies.

These two are His common face turned to us,
mingled in this life with the third –
His blissful face, seen here partly,
as it shall fully be in Heaven.

And that comes by the gracious touch,
the sweet light of the spiritual life
which keeps us secure in faith, hope, and charity,
with contrition, devotion, contemplation,
and all manner of true solace and sweet comforts.

Our Lord God’s blissful expressions
work in us by grace.


Synne in the chosen soulis is dedly for a time, but thei be not ded in the syght of God; and how we have here matter of joy and moneing, and that for our blindhede and weyte of flesh; and of the most comfortable chere of God; and why these shewings were made.

Seventy-second chapter.

But now I must tell how I saw deadly sin
in creatures that shall not die for sin,
but live endlessly in the joy of God.

I saw God never holds contrary things as one,
and the most contrary are highest bliss
and deepest pain.

The highest bliss will be seeing Him
in clarity of eternal life,
seeing Him truly, feeling Him sweetly,
having all this perfectly, in fulness of joy.

Our Lord’s blissful face was shown in pity,
I saw sin is the most contrary;
as long as we mix with any part of sin,
we shall never clearly see our Lord’s blissful face;
the more horrible and grievous our sins are,
the deeper we are kept from this blissful sight.
We seem in peril of death, in part of hell,
dead at that time to all sight of our blissful life
for the sorrow and pain that sin is to us.

But in all this I truly saw
we are not dead in God’s sight,
nor does He ever leave us,
but He shall never have His full bliss in us
until, seeing His fair blissful face truly,
we have our full bliss in Him.
For we are ordained so in our kinship,
and we are brought there by grace.

Thus I saw how the time that sin is deadly
in the blessed creatures of eternal life, is short.
And always, the more clearly the soul sees
this blissful expression by loving grace,
the more it longs to see it fully.

Though our Lord God dwells in us, here with us,
fully embracing and enclosing us
in tender love, that He may never leave us,
nearer us than tongue may tell or heart know,
yet may we ever moan, weep and long for Him,
’til we see Him clearly in the light of His face.

In that precious blissful sight no woe may last,
nor any goodness fail,
and in this I saw both joy and sadness.

Joy – for our Lord, our Maker, is so near us
and in us, and we in Him,
securely kept by His great goodness.
Sadness – for our spiritual eye is so blind,
we are borne down by our deadly flesh,
by the darkness of sin,
so we cannot clearly see the light
of our Lord God’s fair, blissful face.

No, in this darkness we can scarce believe,
scarce know, His great love, nor our safe keeping;
nor ever cease our moaning nor our weeping.

Our weeping is not all tears poured from our eyes,
but longing for more spiritual understanding.

Our soul’s desire, from its kindred with God,
is so great, so unmeasurable,
that if given for solace and comfort
with all the grandeur of Heaven and earth
that God ever made, but we saw none
of His fair blissful countenance,
we should not cease our moaning or spiritual weeping,
that is to say, our painful longing,
until we truly see His fair blissful face.

And if we were in all the pain
that heart can think and tongue may tell,
but could see his faire blissful face,
all that pain could not grieve us;
for that blissful sight is the end of all pain
to a loving soul, fulfilling all joy and bliss.

That He showed in the high, marvellous words
where He said,
I AM that is highest; I AM that is lowest; I AM that is all.

We need three ways of knowing:
First, is that we know our Lord God.
Second, that we know what we are to Him
by our kindred nature and grace.
Third that we know ourself meekly
concerning our sin and feebleness.

I understand that all the showings were made for these three.

Seventy- third chapter LXXIII

These Revelations were shewid three wises. And of two gostly sekenes, of which God will we amend us, remembring His passion, knowing also He is al love; for He will we have sekirnes and liking in love, not takyng onskilfull hevyness for our synnes past.

All our Lord God’s blessed teaching
was shown three ways: by bodily sight,
by words formed in my mind,
and by spiritual sight.

For the bodily sight, I have said as I saw,
as truly as I can;
for the words, I have said them as I heard them,
as our Lord showed them to me.
For the spiritual sight, I have said something,
but can never fully tell it;
therefore of this sight I am stirred to say more,
as God will give me grace.

God showed two forms of sickness that we have:
impatience or sloth in bearing travail and pains;
and despair or doubtful fear, as I shall say later.
He did show sin generally, with all that involves,
but in particular He showed just these two,
as these two most trouble and upset us,
and of which He wishes us to be amended.

I speak of men and women that hate sin,
love God, and set themselves to do His will,
but spiritual blindness, and bodily heaviness,
incline us greatly to these faults,
and so it is God’s will they be known,
so we shall refuse them as we do other sins.

To fully help this our Lord meekly showed
His patience in His hard passion, and the joy,
the delight, He has in that passion for love.

And this He showed as an example
that we should gladly, wisely bear our pains
which is greatly pleasing to Him,
endless profit to us.
Our pains trouble us through lack of love.

Though the three persons in the Trinity are equal,
the soul is most understood in love.
Yes, and He wishes, in all things,
that our vision and delight is love.
Yet we are most blind to this knowledge:
some believe God is almighty, and may do all things,
and that He is all wisdom, and can do all things;
but to believe He is all love, and will do all things,
there we stop.

As I see it this, unknowing hinders most God’s lovers,
For when we begin to hate sin,
and mend ourselves by Holy Church’s ordinance,
yet there dwells a dread that hinders us
from beholding ourself, and of our past sins,
and some of us for our everyday sins.

For we neither hold to our covenants,
nor the cleanness our Lord set us in,
and often fall in such wretchedness
that is shameful to see.
Looking on this makes us so sorry, so heavy
we can scarcely find any comfort.
We sometimes take this sorrow for meekness,
but it is a foul blindness and a weakness.
We cannot despise it like other sins,
for it is from our enemy, and untrue.

Of all the blissful Trinity’s properties,
God wishes us to have most confidence,
and most delight, in love;
love makes might and wisdom gentle to us.
Our courteous God forgives repented sin,
but wants us to forgive our own sin
of this dull heaviness and doubtful fear.

Julian’s 16th showing, chaps. 68-70

To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction.

LXVIII Sixty-eighth chapter.

Of sothfast knowing that it is Jesus that shewid all this, and it was no ravyng; and how we owen to have sekir troste in all our tribulation that we shall not be overcome.

This vision of the truly risen soul
was a delectable, restful showing,
in that it is so without end,
Our beholding it while we are here
pleases God fully and fully helps us.

The soul that sees this, is made like Him
who watches over it and unites it
in rest and peace by His grace.

Seeing Him seated was a special joy,
and bliss to me. For His secure sitting
shows His endless dwelling in the soul;
and He let me know truly, it was He
that showed me all that went before.

When I had noted this carefully,
our good Lord showed these words meekly,
without voice or opening His lips,
as He had done before, saying full sweetly:
Now know well it was no raving you saw today, but accept and believe it, keep yourself in it, comfort yourself with it and trust yourself to it, and you shall not be overcome.

These words were said to show, surely,
that everything I had seen, was shown me
by our Lord Jesus, and as in His first words,
meaning His blissful passion,
Herewith is the devil overcome,
so in His last words, with true certainty,
meaning us all, You shalt not be overcome.

And all this teaching, this true comfort,
applies to all my fellow Christians
as has been said before, it is Gods will.

And these words, You shall not be overcome,
were said sharply, mightily,
for the fullest assurance and comfort
against all tribulations that may come.

He did not say, You shall not suffer storms,
you shall not labour in mire,
you shall not be distressed,
but He said, You shall not be overcome.

God wills us to heed these words,
to be always strong, trusting securely
in weal and woe. He loves and delights in us,
wishing us to love and delight in Him,
and strongly trust Him, and all shall be well.

And soon after all was closed, and I saw no more.


Of the second long temptation of the devill to despeir; but she mytyly trosted to God and to the feith of Holy Church, rehersing the passion of Christe be the which she was deliverid.

Sixty-ninth chapter.

After this the fiend came again
with his heat and with his stink
and kept me very occupied,
the stink, so vile, so painful,
a dreadful, disturbing hindrance.

There was also a jangling argument,
as though two spoke busily of me
in soft muttering I could not understand,
to stir me to despair, scorning my rosary,
echoing my prayers in unholy tones.

But my Lord gave me grace strongly,
to trust Him, to strengthen my soul,
speaking to me as I would have done
to another person in similar trial.
I thought it an unearthly affair,
quite unlike any other.

I set my eyes on the same cross
that had comforted me before,
I repeated the words of Christ’s passion,
I recited the faith of Holy Church,
and fastened my heart on God
with all the trust and strength He gave.

I told myself,
‘You must now work hard to keep in the faith
for the enemy must never take you.
Now you must keep yourself from sin,
this is a good, supreme occupation.’

I thought truly, if I were safe from sin
then I was fully safe from all hell’s fiends,
and from all the enemies of my soul.

Thus he kept me occupied all that night,
and through the morning until it was dawn,
then, suddenly, they were all gone
leaving nothing but their stink,
and that still lasted a while.

Then I scorned him and was free of them
by virtue of Christ’s passion;
for thus is the fiend overcome
as our Lord Jesus Christ said before.


In all tribulation we owe to be stedfast in the feith trosting mytyly in God. For if our faith had no enimyte it should deserve no mede; and how all these shewings arn in the faith.

Seventieth chapter.

Our good Lord, throughout this blessed showing,
gave assurance that the sight would pass,
keeping faith with His own goodwill and grace,
for He left left me neither sign nor token
for me to know it save His own blessed word,
telling me, strongly, to believe it
and giving true understanding.

And so I do, blessed may He be.

I believe that He, our Saviour, showed it,
and that it is the faith that He showed;
therefore I believe and treasure it;
so I am wholly bound by His next words,
Keep yourself in it, comfort and strengthen yourself in it and trust yourself to it.

So I am bound to keep it in my faith,
For on the self-same day that it was shown,
as soon as the sight was passed,
as a wretch I forsook it
and openly said that I had raved.

Then our Lord Jesus in His mercy
would not let it perish but showed it fuller
in my soul, in His precious love’s light,
saying mightily but very meekly,
Now know this well, it was no raving that you saw today.
as though He said, ‘For the sight is past,
you outlasted it and could not keep it,
but know it now; now you have seen it.’

This was said not only for that time
but also as the growth-soil of my faith
as He said immediately following,
But take it, believe it, and keep yourself in in it, comfort yourself with it, and trust yourself to and you shall not be overcome.

In the six words that follow “take it”
He means to fix it faithfully in our hearts
for He wants it to dwell with us in faith
to our life’s end, and after in full joy,
wanting us to have secure trust forever
in His blissful commands, knowing His goodness.

For our faith is countered in many ways,
in our blindness, in our spiritual enemy,
within us and without.
so our precious lover helps us
with spiritual vision and true teaching
on matters within and without,
so that we may know Him.

However He teaches us
He wants us wisely aware of Him,
sweetly receiving Him
keeping ourselves faithfully in Him.

I see no goodness in life above faith,
nor help for the soul beneath faith,
but our Lord would have us keep in the faith.
By His goodness and His work within us
we are kept in the faith.

He lets spiritual enemies try us
to make us stronger,
for if our faith had no enmity
it would deserve no reward.

This is the understanding I have received
in the meaning of all our Lords words.