Julian’s 1st Showing – part 1

Many of Julians ‘showings’, or visions, were short, but this first is longer and I have divided it

Chapter 4

“Here begynnith the first revelation of the pretious crownyng of Criste etc. in the first chapter, and how God fullfilleth the herrte with most joy, and of His greate meekenesse; and how the syght of the passion of Criste is sufficient strength ageyn all temptations of the fends, and of the gret excellency and mekenesse of the blissid Virgin Mary. The fourth chapter.”

In this moment suddenly
I saw the red blood trickle
from underneath the Garland,
as hot, and fresh, and plenteous,
as in His Passion when the thorns
pressed on His blessed head.

He who was both God and Man,
who suffered thus for me,
showed me this directly.
I knew, truly, mightily
and in that showing suddenly
the Trinity filled my heart.
I understood with greatest joy:
it shall be so in Heaven without end
to all that shall come there.

the Trinity is God:
God is Trinity;
the Trinity, our Maker, Keeper,
our everlasting love,
our everlasting joy and bliss,
in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In that First Showing, and in all:
wherever Jesus Christ appears,
I feel the blessed Trinity.

And with a mighty voice I cried,
said and meant for reverence
“Benedicite, Domine!”

I wondered and marvelled that He,
so reverend and awe-inspiring
would be so homely with me,
a sinful creature in wretched flesh.

Awe-inspiring: in the original the word used is “dredfull” but in Mediaeval English, dread implied awe rather than apprehensive fear.

This I took for my time of temptation,
for I thought God would have me tempted
by fiends before my death.

With this sight of the blessed passion,
with the Godhead I saw and understood,
knowing well it was strength enough for me,
yes, and to all creatures living,
against all fiends of Hell
and spiritual temptation.

Then He brought our blessed Lady to my mind.
I saw her ghostly, in bodily form,
a simple, meek maid,
young, and little waxen above a child,
in that stature she had
when she conceived with child.

And God showed me in part
the wisdom and truth of her soul.
I understood the reverence
with which she beheld her God, her maker,
marveling that He would be borne of her,
a simple creature of His making.

And this wisdom and truth,
knowing the greatness of her Maker
and the littleness of herself,
led her to say meekly to Gabriel,
“Lo, me, God’s hand-maid.”

In this I truly understood
that she is more than all that God has made
all else is beneath her
in worthiness and grace.
Above her, I could see,
nothing that is made
but the blessed manhood of Christ.

Chapter 5

“How God is to us everything that is gode, tenderly wrappand us; and all thing that is made, in regard to Almighty it is nothing; and how man hath no rest till he nowteth himselfe and all thing for the love of God. The fifth chapter.”

In this same time 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, in the eye
of my understanding and thought,
What may this be?

The answer was all-inclusive:
It is all that is made.
I marvelled 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;
so by God’s love everything has its being.

In this little thing I saw three properties:
God made it,
God loves it,
God keeps it.

But what my maker, my keeper,
and my lover, truly is
I cannot tell,
for till I am fully one with Him
I may never have full rest nor true bliss;
that is to say, till I am so joined to Him
that there is truly nothing made
between my God and me.

We need to know the littleness of creatures
and to count as nothing all things made,
so as to love and hold to God
that is unmade.

For this is why we are not all
in ease of heart and soul,
for we seek rest here in those things
that are so little,
in which there is no rest,
and do not know our God
who is almighty, all wise and all good;
for He is true rest.

God wishes to be known,
and likes us to find rest in Him.
For all that is less than Him
is less than enough for us.
This is why no soul has rest
till it sets at nothing all made things.

Whoever sets all aside for love,
to have Him that is all,
can only then have spiritual rest.

Our Lord God showed His full, great pleasure,
when a simple soul comes to Him
unadorned, plain and homely.

This is the kindred yearning of the soul
by the Holy Spirit’s touch,
as I understand this showing:
“God of Thy goodness, give me Thyself,
Thou art enough for me,
I may ask nothing that is less
that it may be my full worship to Thee.
If I ask anything less I remain wanting;
only in Thee do I have all.”

And these words are full and lovely to the soul,
touching, full, and close, to God’s will and goodness.
For His goodness includes all His creatures
and all His blessed works
surpassingly without end.

He is endlessly over all,
He has made us only for Himself
restored us by His blessed passion,
keeps us in His blessed love;
and all this by His goodness.

He is endlessly over all,
He has made us only for Himself
restored us by His blessed passion,
keeps us in His blessed love;
and all this by His goodness.

Chapter 6

How we shold pray; and of the gret tender love that our Lord hath to mannes soule, willing us to be occupyed in knowing and loveing of Him. The sixth chapter.

In the 14th century the words ‘of’, ‘off,’ and ‘from’  (or ‘fro’) were not yet fully differentiated. They were often used as different spellings of one another, even within the work of the same author. In the following chapter, I have used, particularly in her references to ‘praying of His goodness’, forms which seem to yield the most suitable understanding to us today.

This showing was made to teach our soul
to cleave wisely to God’s goodness.
Then, how we pray was brought to mind,
how for lack of understanding,
and knowledge of love,
we use so many ways.

I saw greater worship to God,
and truer delight,
if we pray in faith to Him for His goodness,
cleaving to it by His grace,
with true understanding,
held steadfast by love, that truest light,
than if we used all means the heart can think.

For if we use all these means,
it is too little,
and not full worship of God.
But if our prayer is wholly in His goodness,
then truly, nothing fails.

For as I shall say, this came to my mind:
when we pray to God for His holy flesh,
for His precious blood, His holy passion,
His dear and worthy death and wounds;
all the blessed kindness –
the eternal life we gain –
all this is His goodness.

And we pray to Him of His sweet mother’s love,
the love that bore Him,
and all the help we have of her,
all this is His goodness.

By prayer by the Holy Cross He died on,
the virtue gained, the help of His Cross,
is all from His goodness.

And on the same wise,
all the help we have of special saints
all the blessed company of Heaven,
the dear, worthy love,
the endless friendship we have of them,
it is all from His goodness.

God in His goodness has ordained,
full, fair and many means to help us;
of which the chief and principal
is His blessed kindred with us in the Maid,
with all the means before and after,
which belong to our redemption
and our eternal salvation.

So it pleases Him that we seek Him,
worshipping by many means;
but understanding and knowing
that He is the goodness of all.

For the goodness of God is the highest prayer
coming down to the lowest part of our need.

It quickens our soul
it brings it life,
makes it wax in grace and virtue.
It is our nearest kindred
and readiest in grace.

It is the grace the soul seeks, and ever shall,
till we know our God truly
that has us all enclosed in Himself.

For He does not despise His creature,
nor distains to serve the simplest office
belonging to our body in nature,
for love of the soul that He has made
in His own likness.

For as the body is clad in cloth,
the flesh in its skin,
the bones in the flesh,
and the heart in the breast,
so are we, soul and body,
clad in the goodness of God.

Enclosed, yes, and more homely,
for all these may waste and wear away,
but God’s goodness is ever whole,
nearer to us beyond any likeness;
for truly our lover desires our soul
to cleave to Him with all its might,
cleaving forevermore to His goodness.

For of all our heart might hope to do,
this pleases God most,
with quickest gain,
for our soul is so specially loved
by Him that is highest,
that it surpasses all creaturely knowledge.

There is no creature made
that may know how much,
how sweetly, and how tenderly
our Maker loves us.

So, with His grace and help,
our spirit may see, marvelling forever,
this high, surpassing, inestimable love
Almighty God has for us of His goodness.

So we may ask our lover with reverence
all that we wish.
For our natural desire is to have God
and God’s good desire is to have us,
and we may never stop willing,
nor longing,
untill we have Him in fullness of joy.
Then we may desire no more.

For He wishes us always
to be knowing and loving Him
until we shall be fulfilled in Heaven.
So this lesson of love was shown,
with all that follows, as you shall see,
for in this first showing
was shown the strength and ground of all.

Above everything,
beholding and loving its Maker
makes the soul seem least in its own sight,
filled with reverend awe and true meekness,
with great charity to his fellow Christians.

Part 2 of this first showing will follow in a few weeks.

Swirls in a Vast Depth

The universe seems to be made of fundamental particles –
photons, quarks, electrons-
but these in turn appear to be nodes,
points of action,
resonances in the vibrance
of a universal frame;
infinite resonating fields
whose interacting harmonies
we see as particles,
nodes of waveforms in the deep.

We cannnot pin down a single node,
but how can they be points of action
if the energy that drives them
pervades the whole cosmos?
They are, perhaps, not points of energy
but pointers to energy,
mere signposts,
eddies in a greater stream,
swirls in a dark, vast depth:
the whole cosmos.

In the Beginning

In the beginning God,
who had no beginning,
created waves of darkness;
dark, vital waves of energy,
a vast outpouring constancy,
that streamed beyond all knowing,
powerful, steady, flowing.

His spirit brooding, moving,
stirred eddies in the darkness,
eddies around eddies,
round eddies around eddies,
which were and yet were not.
A sea of possibility,
potential and intensity,
chaotic, void and dark.

God, with no beginning,
created our beginning,
brooding on creation,
until the first conditions
were settled and were right.
God spoke, ‘Let there be light.’

Eddies spinning, lasting, shining,
light and dark in harmony,
light in darkest energy,
and time began.

Then –

In a new beginning,
God who is eternal
entered His creation.
He who is eternal, other,
entered space-time in Christ.
He who created time and space,
who is other than time, other than space,
energy pervading, streaming through creation,
whose spirit brooded over the waves,
in that Trinity revealed in Christ,
celebrated by shepherds,
wise men, kings,
came to a human birth,
to an earthly mother,
to us.

Now –

Near fourteen billion years since first creation,
four thousand years since Abraham,
two thousand plus since Christ,
we celebrate a feast of flesh and wine,
and giving of gifts as a sign
of the greatest gift.

We decorate our darkest hours
with thorn-bearing holly,
poisonous mistletoe,
and a tree.

Beginning

I have written little poetry for a year or so but I feel things begin to return. The following lines are a somewhat mystical view of creation.

Beginning is a blossoming bud,
	the Spirit’s breath,
	the moment all moments begin.
Eddies spin in the flood,
	billowing, drifting, breathing, brooding
	over shifting uncertain waves,
Gathering, from grain to garden,
	from daisies to chains to garlands,
	as echoes roll into time,
Images of beauty and truth;
	of a stream that flows forever 
	from a Source, Other than this world,
New Earth from eternal Heaven;
	from the spring of being,
	from breathing, brooding, creating Spirit:
New, nothing into everything, 
	moving over the waves
	more than beauty of bud and blossom.
Imagined in that moment and known,
	that Allos, that other,
	that is both hope and home;
Named, I AM, sharing our nature,
Good, glowing, gathering all creation
		Into One.

 

Notes on meanings: Continue reading

Cosmos

Cosmos once meant order –
universe meant a single turning point.
We were bounded by the spheres,
the eternal turning stars,
where wanderers made their way alone,
bright Venus, dull red Mars,
and others that we named for gods.
– Cosmos once meant order.

Now we have found infinity,
like turmoil of a dream
of love and hope and yearning.
tossed in an unknown stream,
Galaxies, stars, planets, dust,
spread with wilder turning,
dark energy’s pull,
dark matter’s thrust,

Now in our infinity
all we see is just
a hundredth part or more
of a far darker shore.
Are we cast there alone,
faithless, hopeless, loveless, lost?

See.
Hear.
This vast turning sphere,
dark energy, dark matter and dark fear,
is smaller than a hazel in my hand.
A multiverse infinity of worlds
would be as hazel-small and sweet
as this round which my fingers curl.

And I so loved it that I entered
as My own Son to bring you life;
became your brother, servant, friend.
I, you thought so other,
so high above, so Godly-grand,
loved so much I died
at my lovers’ hand.

There is truth and turmoil in your dream,
the unseen dark, a flowing stream,
of love and loss.
Matter is energy, dark and light.
Those who love the light,
who believe in Me,
flow on to light.
Those who love the dark flow into dark,
lost in the passing of this age.
Yet I did not only come to earth to save,
I descended into hell,
and seek you there as well.

Creationtide

A couple of years ago I wrote a poem on the wonder of creation, All the Time in the World, and another on Creationtide, Saving the Earth. In that second poem I touched on a problem I have with our attitude to Creationtide; the following is not truly a poem, more a succession of thoughts:

The Cross is not a Hat Stand

Many things mean much to us,
they differ in degree
to different people,
to you,
to me:
world peace, poverty, politics,
care of the elderly, the sick,
social and family relations,
feminism, education,
prison welfare, crime prevention,

but the cross is not a stand
on which these hats can hang.
Yet we have turned Creationtide into ecologytide,
fueled by guilt or fear of global warming,

It should not be a time of guilt
for our misuse of the world God gave us,
but a time of wonder
of how God so loved the world
from In the beginning at the dawn of time
nearly fourteen billion years ago,
to Christ’s last words on the cross:
It is finished.

All that hung upon the cross was love,
the love of God, in Christ, for the world.
All that we can hang upon the cross
is our love in return,
for God, in Christ,
sent to give us eternal life.

The day will come when after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, that we will harness for God the energy of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.         Teilhard de Chardin

Collar and Tie

I was challenged in my teens (long, long ago in the late nineteen-fifties, but still seems like yesterday) for wearing a sweater to church, ‘You would not turn up at work dressed like that so why do so in the house of God?’

As I was a student in London, and under my sweater was wearing a collar and tie. You might think I had a readily available answer but in those days even students wore jackets and ties to college. I gave a mildly apologetic response.

Things have changed since then.

Within ten years I had stopped wearing a tie to church; not from lack of respect but because I noticed that when strangers came into a service they often had open-necked shirts and looked self-consciously out of place. The presence of a few others similarly dressed gave them a chance to feel more at home.

Now things have changed even more; the wearing of ties has become rarer. For many, ties are not worn even for church. I find myself only wearing them on those autumn or winter days when a scarf might be too warm. One day perhaps I might sport a tie more regularly to ease the embarassement of strangers who come dressed in what they have seen in their only attendences at weddings and funerals – or will these also follow the current fashion?

There may be worse reasons for not dressing for church:

There is a story, a parable, of a king inviting guests to his son’s wedding feast
(which carries echoes of the King who invites guests to His Son’s wedding feast).

The kingdom of heaven is like a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He sent his slaves to call guests to the banquet,
but they would not come.

He sent other slaves, saying,
‘Tell those I invited,
“Look! The feast is ready.
My oxen and fatted cattle are slaughtered,
everything is ready.
Come to the banquet.” ’

But they were indifferent and went away,
one to his farm, one to his business.
The rest seized his slaves,
insolently mistreated or killed them.

The king was furious!
He sent soldiers to put those murderers to death
and set their city on fire.

He told his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready,
but those invited were unworthy.
Go into the main streets,
invite all you find to the banquet.’
They went out into the streets and gathered all they found,
filling the wedding hall with guests.

But when the king came
he saw a man not wearing wedding clothes.
He asked him,
‘Friend, how did you get in without wedding clothes?’
but he had nothing to say.
The king told his attendants,
‘Tie him hand and foot
throw him out into the darkness,
where there will be weeping and gnashing teeth!’

Many are called, but few are chosen.

Why was the guest thrown out for not wearing wedding clothes? Was he too poor? Probably – he had been called in off the street when the king’s rich friends turned their invitations down, but the king knew that and would have allowed for it. So why was he not wearing them?

He seems no better than the rich guests, disdainful of the king’s generosity. He came to eat but without bothering to wear the clothes provided. Rich or poor we can still get it wrong.

We have the King’s clothes to wear
for the wedding feast of His Son:
compassion, care, a held-out hand,
love and the acceptance of love,
the Image of God that God bestowed on Man.

Who is the bride?

The earliest account of Christ’s Great Commission,
translated literally from Mark’s Greek, is
When you have gone into all the world,
preach the Good News to all creation.

All creation is His bride,
over which as His hearers believed,
God set all Mankind to rule.

The true clothing of a ruler
is that of the Servant King:
compassion, care, a held-out hand,
love and the acceptance of love,
the Image of God that God bestowed on Man.