Julian’s 13th Showing, part 2

XXXIII

Al dampnyd soule be dispisid in the syte of God, as the devil; ; and these Revelations withdraw not the feith of Holy Church, but comfortith; and the more we besy to know Gods privites, the less we knowen. Thirty-third chapter.

I dared to ask to fully see
both Hell and Purgatory.
I did not mean to test what we believe,
for I truly believed their purpose
as Holy Church teaches us.

But to learn more fully
all that belongs to faith,
and live more to God’s worship,
and my profit.

But I learned nothing of what I asked
except as said earlier in the fifth showing,
where I saw the devil reproved by God
and endlessly damned.
In which sight I understood
that all creatures in this life,
that share the devil’s condition
and die in it,
no more mention is made of them
before God and all His holiness
than of the devil,
whether that they are of mankind,
or whether they have been christened or not.

Though this Showing was of goodness,
with little mention of evil,
yet it did not draw me
from any point of faith
that Holy Church teaches me to believe.

For I saw Christ’s passion in several showings,
in the first, the second, the fifth, and the eighth,
where I felt part of our Lady’s sorrow
and that of His true friends
that saw Him in pain.

But I did not see so fully,
the Jews that put Him to death,
even though I knew in my faith
they were accursed, damned without end,
except those that converted by grace.

And I was strengthened and taught throughout
to keep in the faith in every point,
and by all I had learned in the showings,
with God’s mercy and grace,
to desire and pray with intent
to continue in it to my life’s end.

And God wishes us to highly regard
all that He has done,
but we must stop forever wondering
how a deed is done
and desire to be like our brethren
who are saints in Heaven
wishing nothing but God’s will.

Than we shall only enjoy God,
and be happy with both the hidden and the shown.

For I saw truly in our Lord’s meaning,
the more we busy ourselves us to know His secrets,
in this or any other thing,
the farther shall we be from knowing them.

Chapter 34
 
      God shewyth the privityes necessarye to His lovers; and how they plese God mekyl that receive diligently the prechyng of Holy Church. Thirty-fourth chapter.

Our Lord God showed two secrets

One is this great secret with all its mysteries.
He wishes us to know these mysteries are hidden
until the time that He will show them clearly to us.

The other are secrets He will make open and known to us;
for He wishes us to know He wants us to know them.
It are secrets to us,
not because He wishes them secret to us,
but they are secrets to us because of our blindness and ignorance.
In this He has great compassion
and will make them more open to us
so we may know Him,
love Him, and cleave to Him.

God showed His full, great pleasure in all men and women
that mightily and meekly and wilfully
take the preaching and teaching of Holy Church,
for it is His Holy Church.
He is the ground, He is the substance,
He is the teaching, He is the teacher,
He is the goal, He is the reward
to which every natural soul travels

All that helps us to know and understand,
our Lord will show us
with full courtesy ,
that is with all the preaching and teaching of Holy Church.

And this is known and shall be known
to every soul to which the Holy Spirit declares it.
And hope truly that all those that seek this,
He shall help, for they seek God.

All this that I have now said,
and more I shall say later,
is comforting against sin.
For in the third showing
when I saw that God does all that is done,
I saw no sin, and then I saw that all is well.

But when God showed me, instead of sin,
He then said, All shall be well.

Chapter 35

How God doith al that is good and suffrith worshipfully al by His mercy, the which shal secyn whan synne is no longer suffrid. Thirty-fifth chapter.i

Almighty God had showed so plentifully,
so fully of His goodness,
that I asked if a certain creature I loved
should continue in good health,
which I hoped, by God’s grace, had begun,
but I seemed hampered by this one desire,
for I was taught nothing at this time.

a certeyn creature that I lovid: According to Georgia Ronan Crampton in an excellent book, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, which she edited, Julian’s short text written some twenty years earlier, indicates that this beloved soul was a woman:
‘It has been proposed that the person may have been a child, Emma, the daughter of Sir Miles Stapleton, whose house was visible from the cell window of Saint Julian’s church, according to Robert Flood. Lady Emma Stapleton later was a recluse at White Friars Priory (1421-42). Flood imagines the circumstances of Julian’s concern for this neighbour child, who would have travelled the road past the cell on her way to another of the Stapleton residences: “Doubtless she had many conversations with the lady through her window . . .” (p. 39). Of course any such identification is speculative.’

And then was I answered in my reason,
as though by a friendly mediator:
“Take it generally.
See your Lord God’s courtesy in this showing,
for it is greater worship to God
to see Him in everything
than in any special thing.”

Accepting this, I learned
it is more worship to God
to know all things in general
than like any one thing as special.

If I should be wise after this teaching,
I should not delight in one special thing,
nor greatly stressed for any one thing,
for all shall be well.

Fullness of joy is to see God in all.
By the same blessed might, wisdom, and love
that our good Lord made everything,
He leads it continually to the same end,
and shall bring it to Himself.

And when it is time we shall see it.

And the ground of this was shown in the first
and more openly in the third,
where it says, ‘I saw God in a point’.

All that our Lord does is rightful,
and all He suffers is worshipful,
in which is understood both good and ill;
for all that is good our Lord does;
and all that is evil, our Lord suffers.

I say not that any evil is worshipful,
but our Lord God’s suffering is worshipful,
by which His goodness shall be known endlessly,
in His marvellous meekness and mildness,
by the working of mercy and grace.

Rightfulness is that thing that is so good
that it cannot be better than it is.
For God Himself is true rightfulness,
and all His works are done rightfully
as they are ordained from beyond beginning
by His high might, His high wisdom,
His high goodness.

And just as He ordained all for the best,
so He works continually,
leading it on to that end.
He is always fully pleased
with Himself and all His works.
The sight of this blissful accord
is full sweet to the soul that sees by grace.

All the souls that shall be saved,
in Heaven without end,
are made innocent in God’s sight,
by His own goodness,
in which innocence we are kept,
endlessly and marvellously,
above all creatures.

Mercy is the work of God’s goodness,
and shall work as long as sin is allowed
to pursue innocent souls.

When sin has no longer leave to pursue,
then mercy’s work shall end,
and all shall be brought to innocence
and therein stand forever.

By His sufferance we fall,
and in His blissful love,
in His might and His wisdom,
we are kept and, by mercy and grace,
we are raised to abundant joys.

And so in rightfulness and in mercy 
He will be known and loved without end.
And the soul that wisely beholds this in grace,
is well pleased with both,
and endlessly delights.

XXXVI
 
      Of another excellent dede that our Lord shal don, which be
      grace may be known a party here, and how we shul enjoyen in the same,
      and how God yet doith myracles. Thirty-sixth chapter.

Our Lord God showed that a deed shall be done,
and He shall do it.
And I shall do nothing but sin,
but my sin shall not stop His goodness working.

And I saw that seeing this
is heavenly joy for a reverent soul,
which evermore, by kindly grace
desires God’s will.

This deed shall begin here,
and shall be worshipful to God
and greatly profitable to His lovers in earth.

And whenever we come to Heaven
we shall see it in marvellous joy.
And it shall continue
working thus to the last day;
its worship and bliss shall last in Heaven
before God and all His saints
without end.

So our Lord’s meaning was seen and understood ,
as He told of this deed
so we may delight in Him and all He does.

As I saw His showing continue,
I knew it showed a great thing to come,
that God showed that He should do
a deed with these properties foreshown.
And He showed this quite blissfully,
intending me to take it
wisely, faithfully, trustingly.

But what this deed should be was kept from me.
I saw in this that He does not want us
to fear the things He shows.
He shows them, wishing us to know them,
and, in knowing, He wants us to love Him,
like Him, and endlessly delight in Hym.

And in the great love He has for us,
He shows us all that is worshipful,
all that is profitable for this time.
Those things that He will now keep hidden,
in His great goodness He shows them closed,
because He wants us to believe,
to understand that we shall see them,
truly, in His endless bliss.

Then ought we to delight in Him
for all He shows and all He hides.
And if we do so wilfully and meekly,
we shall find great ease in this,
and have His endless thanks.

Thus the understanding of this word,
is that it shall be done for me,
that is to say for people in general,
that is to say,
for all that shall be saved.

It shall be worshipful, marvellous, plentiful;
and God Himself shall do it;
and this shall be the highest possible joy,
to see the deed that God Himself shall do.

And man shall do nothing right, but sin.

Our Lord God’s meaning in this is as if He said,
“Look, see,
here is the substance of meekness,
here is the substance of love,
here is the substance of seeing yourself as nought,
here is the substance to delight in me,
and for my love delight in me,
for thus of all things,
you may most please me.”   

And as long as we are in this life,
whenever we, in our folly,
turn to watching sinners,
our Lord God gently touches us,
and sweetly calls us, saying in our soul,
Leave all your desire, my precious child.
Listen to me.
I am enough for you,
delight in your Saviour and in your salvation.

I am sure this is our Lord’s work in us,
The soul that understands this by grace
shall see and feel it.
This deed is meant truly for the general man,
excluding no particular person;
for what our good Lord will do for His poor creatures,
is now unknown to me.

But this deed, and the greater spoken of,
are not one and the same, but two.
But this deed shall be done sooner,
and that shall be as we come to Heaven.
And to whom our Lord gives it,
may be known here in part.
But the great deed shall be known
neither in Heaven nor earth till it is don.

And He gave special understanding
and teaching of miracles:
It is known that I have done miracles here before,
many and separate, high and marvellous,
worshipful and great,
and so as I have done, I do now continually,
and shall do in the time to come .

Before miracles comes sorrow,
anguish and tribulation,
so we know that lead by our sin we fall,
through our own feebleness and mischief,
to make us meek, fearing God,
and crying for help and grace.

Miracles come after that,
from the high might, wisdom, and goodness of God,
showing His virtue and the joys of Heaven,
as it may be in this passing life;
and to strengthen our faith,
and increase our hope in love;
so it pleases Him to be known
and worshipped in miracles.

He does not want us to be brought too low
by sorrow and tempests happening to us,
for this has always been so
before miracles.

Julian’s 12th showing & 13 part 1.

Background              

Chapter 26

The twelfth Revelation is that the Lord our God is al sovereyn beyng. Twenty-sixth chapter.

Then our Lord showed Himself
more glorified to my sight than before.
This taught me our soul shall never have rest
until it comes to Him,
knowing He is fullness of joy,
homely and courteously blissful,
and truly life.

Our Lord Jesus often said,
I AM, I AM,
I AM that that is highest,
I AM that that you love,
I AM that that delights you,
I AM that that you serve,
I AM that that you long for,
I AM that that you desire,
I AM that that gives you meaning,
I AM all that is,
I AM that that Holy Church preaches and teaches you,
I AM that that showed me here to you.

Because of the uses of inversion in Middle English,
this can equally be read as:

I AM, I AM,
I AM that that is highest,
I AM that that loves you,
I AM that that delights in you,
I AM that that serves you,
I AM that that longs for you,
I AM that that desires you,
I AM that that gives you meaning,
I AM all that is,
I AM that that Holy Church preaches and teaches you,
I AM that that showed me here to you.

The number of the words passes my wit,
all my understanding and all my might,
and it is the highest, as to my sight.

For all the meaning in them,
– I cannot tell –
but the joy I saw in the showing of them
passes all the heart may wish and soul desire;
therefore the words are not declared here.
But every man, after the grace God gives him
in understanding and in love,
receives our Lords meaning in them.

Her 13th Sharing – part 1.

In this revelation, one of her longest, Julian treads a careful path. As I wrote in the Background these were dangerous times. The revelations she received during her illness appeared at times to stray from the teaching of the Church, particularly concerning Hell, Purgatory and damnation. How could this be reconciled by Christ’s assurance to her that ‘All manner of thing shall be well’? It was not only strict, inquisition-like suppression and punishment of heresy that she had to fear; in a world in which a quarter or more of the population had died in the Black Death there was strong secular fear with reprisals against any suspected of arousing God’s wrath. e.g. Pope Clement VI spoke out (without success) against the mass murder of Jews by the largely illiterate Christian population.

Chapter 27

The thirteenth Revelation is that our Lord God wil that we have grete regard to all His deds that He hav don in the gret noblyth of al things makyng and of etc; how synne is not knowin but by the peyn. Twenty-seventh chapter.

Then the Lord put in my mind
the longing I had for Him before.
And I saw nothing hindered me but sin,
and so I looked generally at us all.
And thought, if there had been no sin,
we should all have been clean
like our Lord as He made us.

So, before this time, in my folly
I had often wondered why,
in the great foreseeing wisdom of God,
the beginning of sin was not prevented.
For then I thought, all should have been well.
This distress was hard to abandon however;
I made mourning and sorrow of it
without reason and discretion.

But Jesus, in this vision taught me all I need,
and answered:
Sin is necessary,
but all shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.

In this naked word sin,
our Lord brought to my mind, all our failings,
and the shameful despite and utter contempt He suffered
for us in this life, and in His dying,
for all the pains and passions of all His creatures,
spiritual and and bodily – for we are all despised in part,
and we shall be despised for following our Master Jesus
till we be full cleansed,
that is to say, until we are fully freed from our mortal flesh
and all our inner failings –
and seeing this, with all the pains that ever were or shall be,
with all these I understand the passion of Christ
as the greatest pain surpassing all.

Yet all this was shown in a touch,
and readily passed into comfort.
For our good Lord would not frighten
my soul by this ugly sight.

But I did not see sin,
for I believe it has no substance
nor any part of being,
nor can it be be known, but by the pain it causes.
Pain, as I see it, is something for a time,
for it purges us and makes us know ourself
and ask mercy.

For our Lord’s passion is comfort to us
against all this, so is His blessed will.
And for the tender love our good Lord has
to all that shall be saved,
He comforts readily and sweetly,
meaning this:
It is true that sin is the cause of all this pain,
but all shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner thing shall be well.

These words were said full tenderly,
showing no manner of blame to me
or to any that shall be saved.
So it were a great unkindness
to blame or wonder at God for my sin,
since He does not blame me for sin.

And in these same words
I saw a marvellous, high secret hid in God,
which He shall make known to us openly in Heaven,
where we shall truly see why He let sin come,
in which sight we shall endlessly delight Him.

Chapter 28

How the children of salvation shal be shakyn in sorowis, but Criste enjoyth wyth compassion; and a remedye agayn tribulation. Twenty-eighth chapter.

Thus I saw how Christ has compassion on us
for the causes of sin.

And just as I was filled before
with pain and compassion for Christ’s passion,
so also in this I was filled in part
with compassion for all my fellow Christians,
for that well, well beloved people that shall be saved.
That is to say, God’s servants, Holy Church,
who shall be shaken in sorrows and anguish
and in tribulation in this world,
as men shake a cloth in the wind.

To this our Lord answered,
I shall make a great thing of this in Heaven,
of endless worship and everlasting joys.

Yes, I saw that our Lord delights so much in His servants,
in their tribulations, with pity and compassion
for each person He loves and longs to bring to His bliss.
He holds them in no blame in His sight,
though in this world they are blamed,
despised, scorned, abused, outcast.

He does this to lessen the harm they should have
from the pomp and vainglory of this wretched life,
and make their way ready to come to Heaven,
and raise them in His everlasting bliss.

For He says,
I shall break you from your vain affections,
and from your vicious pride,
then I shall gather you together,
making you mild and meek,
clean and holy,
as one with me.

Then I saw each kindred compassionate love,
that a man has for his fellow Christians
is Christ in him.

That same humiliation shown in His passion,
was shown again here in this compassion,
in which I saw two meanings.
One, the bliss that we are bought to,
in which He wills us to delight.

That other is for comfort in our pain.
For He wishes us to know it shall all be turned
to worship and profit by virtue of His passion;
and to know we do not suffer alone, but with Him,
and see in Him our ground.

We see His pains and His humiliation
pass so far beyond all we may suffer,
so far beyond all thought;
and seeing this will save us
from grudging despair in our pains.

If we truly see our sin deserves it,
yet His love excuses us;
in His great courtesy He removes all our blame,
and He holds us with sorrow and pity,
willing, innocent children.

Chapter 29

Adam synne was gretest, but the satisfaction for it is more plesyng to God than ever was the synne harmfull. Twenty-ninth chapter.

All this time I stayed watching everything
sadly mourning,
saying to our Lord in my mind
with a full great dread:
“Ah, good Lord, how might all be well
for the great hurt sin has done to your creatures?”

I dared to desire a more open teaching
so I might be eased in this.
Our blisfull Lord answered
most meekly, with full lovely cheer,
showing Adam’s sin as the greatest harm
that was ever, or ever shall be,
done until the world’s end.
And He showed that this is openly known
in Holy Church in all the earth.

He showed me the glorious atonement,
whose making is more pleasing to God
and more worshipful for man’s salvation,
without comparison,
than Adam’s sin was ever harmful.

In this teaching, it is our blessed Lord’s wish
that we should understand this:
Since I have made the greatest harm well,
then it is My will that you know
I shall make well all that is less.

Adam was originally not a name;
it came from Hebrew: ‘a-am-man’
a creature of the genus Man,
a species word not gender.
The male was hus-band-man: Husband-man,
bound to the hus or ham, the house or farm,
the heavy working gender of Man.

Woman came from wo-man, Short for wif-man,
the female of the species Man.
Hus-wif-man, the lighter weight female,
with the care and keeping of the hus or ham.

Living in small hunter-gatherer families,
each took the other’s role in emergency.

Human comes from humus : soil.

Chapter 30

Her thirteenth vision was difficult and dangerous.  In those horrific times in which up to a third of humanity died,  fear and suspicion were more infectious than the plague. Heresy was harshly and fataly punished, the harshest punishment inducing greater penitence,  was thought a merciful alternative to eternal damnation. It begins a series of visions which show doctrines of damnation, as held by the church of the day,  and by some today, in a completely different light – the light of God’s love for all mankind. It becomes increasingly plain that she treads a careful path between fears of heresy,  magnified as they were by the horrors of the Black Death and its aftermath, and her desire to speak faithfully of what she as seen.

How we shuld joye and trusten in our Savior Jesus not presumyng to know His privy counsell. Thirtieth chapter.

He gave me to understand two things:
the first, our Saviour and our salvation,
open and clear, fair, light and plenteous,
for all mankind of goodwill,
that are and shall be,
is understood in this first part.
In which we are bound to God,
drawn and counselled,
taught inwardly by the Holy Spirit,
outwardly by the Holy Church,
in the same grace.

Our Lord wishes us to know this first part,
delighting in Him for He delights in us.
The more plentifully we take to this
with reverence and meekness,
the more thanks we deserve from Him
and the more profit to ourselves,
in this way, may we say,
enjoying our part in our Lord.

The second part is hid and shut from us,
all except our salvation;
it is private to our Lord.
It is the right of God’s royal lordship
to have His private counsel in peace,
not for us to learn.
Our Lord has pity and compassion for us,
though some busy themselves therein greatly.
If we knew how much we would please Him by leaving it,
we would.

The saints in Heaven desire to know
no more than our Lord will show them.
Their love and desire is ruled by His will,
and as we are all alike in God’s sight
we should do likewise.
Then we shall wish and desire
nothing but our Lord’s will ,
as they do.

For we are all one in God’s mind.
And here was I taught that we shall trust
delighting only in our Saviour,
blissful Jesus, for everything.

Chapter 31
 
Off the longyng and the spiritual threst of Criste which lestyth and shall lesten til domys day. And be the reason of His body, He is not yet full gloryfyed ne al unpassible. Thirty-first chapter.
  

And thus our good Lord answered
all the questions and doubts I might make,
saying very comfortably,

I may make all things well,
I can make all thing well,
and I will make all things well,
and I shall make all things well,
and you shall see yourself that all manner of things shall be well.

When He says, I may,
I understand for the Father,
When He says, I can,
I understand it as the Son,
and when He says, I will,
I understand the Holy Spirit,
and when He says, I shall,
I understand three persons, one truth;
the unity of the blessed Trinity.
and where He says, You shall see yourself,
I understand all mankind that shall be saved,
united in the blissful Trinity.

And in these five sayings
God will be enfolded in rest and in peace,
and Christ’s spiritual thirst shall have an end.

For this is Christ’s spiritual thirst,
the love-longing that lasts, and ever shall,
until we see it on Doomsday.
For of us that shall be saved
and shall be Christ’s joy and His bliss,
some are now here, some are to come,
and so some shall be until that day.

This therefore is how I see His thirst:
a love, longing to have us all together,
whole in Him,
for His bliss.

For we are not as fully whole in Him now
as we shall be then.
For we know in our faith,
and in all I was shown,
that Jesus Christ is both God and man.

Concerning His Godhead,
in Him is highest bliss,
from beyond the beginning,
and beyond the end;
endless bliss that can neither be increased
nor lessened in itself.

This was seen fully in every showing,
particularly the twelfth, where He said,
I am that that is highest.

Concerning Christ’s manhood,
it is known in our faith, and was shown to me,
that He, for love, with the virtue of Godhead,
suffered pains and passions and died,
to bring us to His bliss,

And these are the works of Christ’s manhood
in which He delights,
and which He showed in the ninth Revelation,
where He said,
It is a joy, a bliss, an endless liking to me that ever I suffered passion for you.

And this is the bliss of Christ’s works,
this is what He means,
where He says in this showing,
we are His bliss, we are His reward,
we are His worship, we are His crown.

For as Christ is our head,
He is glorified, and cannot suffer pain,
yet His in His earthly body,
in which all His members are knit,
He is not yet fully glorified or incapable of pain.

For that desire and thirst
He had upon the Cross,
which, as I saw, was in Him
from outside the beginning,
He still has, and shall have,
until the last soul to be saved
comes to His bliss.

For as in God there is true sorrow
and true pity,
so there is in Him
true thirst and longing.

Because of Christ’s longing for us
we must long for Him in return,
without this longing none of us finds Heaven.

This longing and thirst
come from God’s endless goodness,
just as pity comes from His endless goodness.

But longing and pity are separate properties.
And the point of the spiritual thirst stands in this:
it lasts in Him as long as we need it,
drawing us to His bliss.

All this was seen in His showing of compassion
that shall last until Doomsday,.
He has pity and compassion for us,
and longs to have us,
but in His wisdom and love
will not let the end come
until the best time.

Chapter 32

How al thyng shal be wele and Scripture fulfillid, and we must stedfastly holdyn us in the faith of Holy Chirch as is Crists wille. Thirty-second chapter.

One time our good Lord said,
All things shall be well,
and another time He said,
You shall see yourself that all manner of things shall be well.

And in these two, the soul understood more than one meaning.
One was this:
He wishes us to know He not only heeds noble things and great,
but also to little and to small,
to low and to simple,
to one and to another.

And so He meant when He said,
All manner of things shall be well.
He wants us to know the least thing shall not be forgotten.

Another meaning is this:
we see such evil deeds done
and such great harms taken,
that a good end seems impossible.
We look on this, sorrowing and mourning,
unable to rest as we should,
or blissfully behold God.

And the cause is this,
our reason is now so blind, low and simple,
we cannot know that high, marvellous wisdom,
the might and goodness of the blissful Trinity.
This is what He means, where He says,
You shall see yourself, that all manner of thing shall be well
as if He had said,
“Take heed now, faithfully and trustfully,
and at the last end you shall see it
in true fulness of joy.”

And thus in these same five words above,
I may make all things well,
I can make all thing well,
and I will make all things well,
and I shall make all things well,
and you shall see yourself that all manner of things shall be well.
I understand the mighty comfort
of all our Lord God’s works that are to come.

I see, in the last day,
the blissful Trinity shall do a deed
and when the deed shall be
and how it shall be done,
is unknown to all creatures under Christ,
and shall be, until it is done.

He wishes us more eased in our soul,
at peace in love, undisturbed by storms
that might stop us truly enjoying Him.
This great deed was ordained by our Lord God,
from beyond beginning,
treasured and hid in His blessed breast,
only known to Himself,
by which He shall make all things well.

As the blessed Trinity made all things of naught,
so the blessed Trinity shall make well
all that is not well.

And at this sight I marvelled greatly
and saw our faith, marvelling thus:
Our faith is grounded in God’s word,
and it belongs to our faith to believe
God’s word shall be kept in all things.

Yet one point of our faith is this
that many creatures shall be condemned
like angels that fell from Heaven for pride
and are now fiends,
and many in Earth that die
outside the faith of Holy Church,
that is to say heathen men,
and many that have received Christianity
but live unchristian lives,
and so die outside charity
– all these shall be damned to Hell without end,
as Holy Church teaches me to believe.

This being so, I thought it impossible
that all manner of thing should be well
as our Lord had said.
To this I had no other answer but this:
That which is impossible to you is not impossible to Me.
I shall keep My word in all things, and I shall make all things well.

Thus I was taught by God’s grace
to hold, steadfastly, the faith
that I had already received,
and that I should firmly believe,
that, as our Lord had said,
all shall be well.

For this is the great deed our Lord shall do,
in which He shall keep His word in all things,
and He shall make well all that is not well.
How it shall be done no creature under Christ knows,
nor shall know it, until it is done.

A Study of Religion

Some years ago at a difficult time, I wrote these words.
The first part is compiled directly from the Oxford English Dictionary, beginning with the word ‘religion’, finding its definition, and repeating that in turn with each keyword I found in the definition.
The second part is a short verse inspired by this, and the third, an introspection leading from it.
I present it as it may (or may not) help those who feel that faith comes easy to some, and that others do not share the same struggles.

I

Religion is the human recognition of,
and response to,
a living being,
higher than man,
possessing superhuman capability and powers;

Having a rightful claim and title
to possess and control the universe
and all creatures in it,
including mankind.

Having an absolute claim, in right and title,
to the reverence,
respect,
adoration,
and devotion of mankind;

Having power over nature and human fortunes,
known by mankind as GOD,
the Supreme Being,
inviolable,
morally and spiritually perfect.
whole, holy.

To this Supremacy,
this Divinity,
there is no other higher power or prior cause.

The universe proceeds from GOD alone,
GOD is its great creator and its king;
created from GOD’s own self by GOD’s own will,
sustained by GOD’s supreme and sole command,
copied from no model,
from no ‘other’ substance drawn,
placed in no ‘space outside’, apart from GOD.

II

Grown within the Earth-womb,
mankind, the child of GOD,
beloved yet poorly loving, lives by grace
herein is love: not that we love GOD
but that GOD loved us first,
we that give him pain
(for we do love, but hurt the one we love,
denying Him in blank and close-walled fear).

True religion
is this recognition
and its due response.

III

I am a Christian.
I believe in GOD the Father Almighty,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord.
and in the Holy Spirit,
Three in One.

I have never seen a miracle,
I have never heard the voice of GOD,
I have never seen an angel,
a vision,
or a ghost,
except at such a time
and in such a need
that I suspect it was hallucination
or a dream.

I have never seen the certain hand of GOD
intervening in His universe.
I have not seen one certain answered prayer,
I have seen many seeming prayers in faith Unanswered.
I have seen Christians go sad to their grave
and wondered why.

My only answer is that of Peter,
‘Lord, to whom shall we go?
Yours are the words of eternal life.’
The unexamined life is not worth living ,
Socrates
wherever Truth may lead us we must go.
To fail to do so is self deceit
and death.

If truth leads to death
we lose only what we never had.
If truth leads to life
we have gained the whole universe
and our souls.

I am not one who has seen and believed,
but one who has not seen, and yet believes.

Heaven and Earth may fade and flee,
First born light in gloom decline,
But while GOD and I shall be,
I am his, and he is mine!1’
                                         J. M. Muller

Eddies

How long had I been roaming through
cloud-misted lanes that run
where fog-dripped tree and dew-dropped flower
and path behind and path before
glow in an unseen sun?

When my way led me where a bridge
arched a broad dark stream,
a flow from source to unknown sea,
ran dark and wide and strong and free;
dark energy, extreme.

The bridge curved high above the flood,
where I stood gazing down,
its ends stretched misting into cloud,
the stream-banks melting in a shroud,
the arching bridge rose high and proud;
the dark stream pouring on.

Below, above a stream-bed rock,
rose eddies in a spin
the handrail melting into mist,
one eddy rose with twirl and twist
and grew, and drew me in.

I found myself within its swirl,
a turning, whirling world,
where, spinning within spinning,
eddies in eddies, singing,
small within smaller, swirled.
And all beyond, more powerful yet,
the stream rolled fast along,
dark and wide, and strong and free,
and though the eddies seemed to be
a mad-cap whirl that I could see,
the dark stream drew them on.

Eddies spun within themselves,
spin within spin in spin.
Each eddy spread from each, to go
turning faster in the flow,
whirled without, within.

I turned and walked on as the mist,
clearing, showed the sky,
and trees and flowers and flowing stream
were no longer what they seem,
but planet, star and galaxies,
spreading in the run
of darker faster energy
beneath another Sun.

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

It’s a Bleeding Blessing!!

I have always liked etymology.
(Etymology: Latin etymon
from ancient Greek, etumon, meaning truth
plus Greek –legein, a suffix meaning speak)
and yet its meaning is not speaking true,
but the study of the history of words.

The history of words is not always
as simple as the etymology
of the word etymology itself.
With time words and their meanings change and shift.
Words may remain while only meanings change;
words may remain while meanings grow and drift.

Blesséd are they that are poor in spirit,
for theirs shall be the kingdom of heaven.

Poor means today what it has always done
but blesséd, blest,
ah, there’s a word to run.

Often it has been said to mean happy
which seems to fit, a comfortable word,
(though comfort means to strengthen and give power;
In French comme forte is furnishing with strength)
but blest is more than simply being happy;
in French again blessure is to wound,
imblessure is a wound that bleeds.
Blé, meaning wheat in French is closely linked,
and came from bládh a growing blade of grass,
from which word blade we get the knife and sword,
blood shedders.
Bless also meant to blow as in the line,
I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows
from which we get blossom and bloom and bleed,
growing, swelling, welling words that promise more.
Farther back, the gallo-roman bladhais
was the growing harvest.

So deep within the happiness of blessing,
we have upwelling, and a blossoming,
the overflowing, fruition
of love.

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