Julian wrote with a sense of wonder. Setting it in briefer verse form I have left out some beautiful illustrations of God’s love such as her description of an undersea world which are well worth seeking out and reading in the original. This third vision is steeped in the love of God an His desire that we seek Him in this journey of life:
I saw in the face of the crucifix before me,
a part of His passion:
spite, spitting and sullying,
buffeting and enfeebling pains,
more than I can tell,
with often changing colour.
Once I saw half the face, beginning at the ear,
over-gone with dry blood until it covered to the centre.
Then the other half similarly, while the first vanished as it came.
I saw this with my own eyes, straining and dimly,
desiring to see more clearly.
It was put into my mind that if God would show me more,
He must be my light;
I need none but Him,
for Him I sought.
For we are so unwise and blind, never seeking God
until He in His goodness shows His gracious self to us.
And when we see a part of Him through that same graciousness,
we are stirred by that same grace to seek
and with great desire to see Him more blissfully.
So I saw Him, I sought Him; I had Him and wanted Him.
This is, and should be, our common purpose in this life.
All safety, all comfort, is in Him.
He will be seen, He will be sought.
He will be awaited and trusted.
This second shewing
was so low, so little, so simple,
that my spirits mourned,
filled with dread and longing.
and I doubted it was a shewing.
Then little by little our good Lord gave me more sight,
so I truly understood that it was a shewing.
The deep wretchedness and sin of mankind
showing in changing discoloration,
long dried blood,
and distortion of His fair face;
not His own from thorns and blows,
but showing His sharing, without sin,
in that of mankind.
It was an image of our foul deeds’ shame
that our fair, bright blessed Lord bore for our sins;
There is a holy kerchief in Rome,
on which is portrayed His blessed face in His hard Passion,
going with steadfast will to death,
and often change of colour.
Many marvel how the brownness and blackness,
the ruefulness and waste of this image might be,
since He portrayed it with His blessed face,
who is the fairness of heaven, flower of the earth,
and the fruit of the Maiden’s womb.
How can this image be so darkening in colour
and so far from fair?
– I desire to tell it as I have understood by God’s grace:-
We know in our faith, and believe by teaching of Holy Church,
that the blessed Trinity made Mankind in His image.
In the same manner we know
that when man fell so deep,
so wretchedly by sin,
there was no other to restore him
but Him that made man.
He that made man for love, would by that love restore him
to the same or greater bliss, than that He first made
in our image of the Trinity in our first making,
to be like Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
in heaven without end,
in our remaking.
This dark image of fallen mankind,
from which He restored us by His sacrifice,
hides Him from us’
We understand this His grace,
in part and fleetingly in this life.
It is His desire that we seek Him fully and continually,
seeing Him with spiritual understanding in this life,
and fully and truly when our time here is past.