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:
The second Revelation is of His discolouryng etc; of our redemption, and the discolouring of the vernacle; and how it plesith God we seke Him besily, abiding Him stedfastly and trusting Hym mightily. Tenth chapter.
Then I saw with my own eyes,
confronting the crucifix before me,
which I continually beheld,
a part of His passion –
spite, spitting and sullying,
and buffetting and many languishing pains,
more than I can tell,
and often changing colour.
Once I saw half the face,
beginning at the ear,
over-gone with dry blood
covering 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,
if God would show me more
He must be my light;
I needed none but Him,
for Him I sought.
So I had seen Him and sought Him,
for we are so blind and unwise
that we never seek God
until He shows Himself to us
in His goodness.
When we have a glimpse of Him by His grace,
we are stirred by that same grace
to seek with great desire to see Him more.
So I saw Him, I sought Him;
I had Him and wanted Him.
This is, and should be, our common purpose.
Once in my mind I was led down
into the deep sea bed,
where I saw green hills and dales,
moss-grown with sea-wrack and gravel.
Then I understood.
Even under the sea,
a man or woman may still see God,
for God is with man continually.
He would be safe in body and soul
and take no harm.
Above all, he should have more solace,
more comfort than all this world can tell.
He wants us to know we see Him always
though we think it is but little,
and in this belief
He gives us everlasting grace.
He will be seen, He will be sought.
He will be awaited and trusted.
This second shewing,
so low, so little, so simple,
made my spirits mourn,
filled them with dread and longing.
and I doubted it was a shewing.
little by little our good Lord
gave me true understanding.
It was a shewing,
an image of our foul mortal flesh
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 changing colour.
The holy vernacle of Rome. According to the legend of the vernicle, St. Veronica’s kerchief became impressed with an exact image of the face of the suffering Christ when she compassionately wiped His face as He carried the cross to Calvary. Preserved at St. Peter’s in Rome, the cloth became an object of pilgrimage.
Many marvel how brown and black,
rueful and wasted 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 Holy Church’s teaching,
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,
by that same love would restore him
to the same or greater bliss,
of the image of the Trinity
seen in our first creation,
to be like Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
in heaven without end,
in our remaking.
Then, between our creation and remaking,
He would, for love and worship of man,
make Himself as a man in this mortal life,
in our foulness and our wretchedness,
as man might be without guilt.
This is the meaning of that written above –
it was an image of our foul, black, mortal flesh
wherein our fair, bright, blessed Lord God is hid.
But fully and surely I dare to say,
that never was so fair a man as He,
until His fair colour was changed
with travail and sorrow and passion,
More of this is in the Eighth Showing,
where it says of the vernacle of Rome,
it moves by changing colour and expression,
sometimes more comfortable and lifelike,
sometimes more rueful and deathly.
And in this vision I learnt
the soul’s continual search pleases God greatly,
for it can only seek, suffer, and trust.
And this, in the soul that has it,
is the work of the Holy Spirit,
clarity of finding
comes by His special grace when He wills it,
seeking, with faith, hope, and love
pleases our Lord,
finding pleases the soul
and fills it with joy.
And thus was I taught in my mind,
that seeking is as good as beholding
while He allows the soul to be in travail.
And God wishes us to seek to see Him.
For by this He shall show Himself to us,
by His special grace, when He wills it.
And how a soul shall be, beholding Him,
He, Himself shall teach.
That is most worshipful to Him
and profit to thyself,
and receives most meekness and virtues
with the grace and leading of the Holy Spirit.
For a soul fastening onto God
with nothing but true trust,
by seeking or by beholding,
does the greatest worship possible to Him,
as to my sight.
Two workings may be seen in this vision:
seeking and seeing.
Seeking is available to all;
Holy Church’s discretion and teaching
that every soul may have,
and ought to have with God’s grace.
God wishes us to have
three things in our seeking.
First, that we seek wilfully,
and busily, without sloth,
through His grace, gladly, merrily
without senseless heaviness
without vain sorrow.
Second, that we wait on Him steadfastly,
for His love, without grumbling,
without striving against Him,
to our life’s end,
for it shall be but for a while;
Third, that we trust Him greatly
in full, secure faith,
for this is His will.
We know He shall appear suddenly,
blissfully to all His lovers,
He works secretly but we shall see Him,
He shall appear suddenly,
and He will be believed,
for He is fully courteous and homely.
Blessed may He be.