To read Julian’s Revelations in order, which is far better, begin at the Introduction. She continues here a remarkably interwoven, almost triple-plaited, study of the nature and relationship between the soul and its Creator which she began in chapter 52 .
How we be bowte ageyn and forthspred be mercy and grace of our swete, kynde, and ever lovyng Moder Jesus; and of the propertes of Moderhede. But Jesus is our very Moder, not fedyng us with mylke but with Himselfe, opening His syde onto us and chalengyng al our love.
Now more must be said of this growing,
as I understand our Lord’s meaning,
how, in the Motherhood’s mercy and grace,
by Motherly, kindred love which never leaves us,
we are brought again to our natural state
in which we were made.
Our kind Mother, our gracious Mother –
who would be our holy Mother in everything –
took the ground of His work
full low and mildly in the maiden’s womb
as He showed in the first revelation
when he brought that meek maid to my mind’s eye
in the simple stature she had when she conceived.
Our high God is sovereign wisdom of all.
In this low place He dressed and made Himself
full ready in our poor flesh,
to do the service and office of Motherhood
The Mother’s service is nearest,
readiest, and securest, for it is truest.
No-one might or could do this to the full
but He alone.
We know that all our mothers bear us
to a life of pain and dying,
but what of our true Mother Jesus?
He, all love, bears us to joy and endless life,
blessed may He be.
Thus He sustains us within Himself in love;
He travailed until the full time
that He suffered the sharpest throes,
the most grievous pains that ever were,
or ever shall be – and died at the last.
When He had done all this, and so borne us to bliss,
yet all this might not satisfy His marvellous love in full.
He showed that in these high, surpassing words of love:
If I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
He may die no more, but works no less hard,
because it befits Him to feed us,
precious motherlove has indebted Him to us.
A mother may feed her child with her milk,
but Mother Jesus feeds us with Himself,
fully, courteously, tenderly,
the blessed sacrament,
the precious food of true life.
With all the sweet sacraments He sustains us
fully, mercifully, graciously.
So He meant in these blessed words when He said,
I AM that that Holy Church preaches and teaches.
That is to say,
All the health and life of sacraments,
all the virtue and grace of my word,
all that goodness ordained in Holy Church,
A mother leans her child tenderly to her breast,
but our tender Mother Jesus may lead us
comfortably into His blessed breast
by His sweet open side, showing therein
part of the Godhead and the joys of Heaven
with certainty of endless spiritual bliss.
He showed that in the tenth vision,
in that same sense, in those sweet words,
Lo, how I loved thee,
looking into, treasuring, the wound in His side.
This fair, lovely word Mother,
so sweet, so kind in itself,
may be truly be said of none but Him
and of her, the true Mother of Him
and of all.
True Motherhood is kindred love,
it is wisdom and understanding, it is good;
our bodily birthing is little, low, simple
compared to our higher spiritual birthing,
yet He has undergone it in us by whom it is done.
The natural, Loving Mother
understands and knows her child’s needs,
keeping it most tenderly
as is the nature of motherhood.
changing her care as it grows older,
but not her love.
When it grows older she lets it be disciplined,
breaking down vices to teach virtue and grace.
This, with all that is fair and good,
our Lord does in those for whom it is needed.
Thus He is our kindred Mother,
working by grace in our lower part
for love of our higher part,
and He wants us to know it,
for He wants all our love fastened in Him.
I saw that all our debt, all that we owe,
is in God’s fatherhood and Motherhood,
for God’s fatherhood and Motherhood
is repaid by our true love of God.
Christ works this blessed love in us;
as was shown in all these visions,
and in those high, plentiful words He said,
I AM that that you love.