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