Julian’s 13th Showing, part 3

XXXVII
 
      God kepyth His chosen ful sekirly althowe thei synne, for in these is a godly  will that never assayed to synne. Thirty-seventh chapter.

God brought to my mind that I should sin,
but for my pleasure in beholding Him,
I did not readily listen,
but our Lord, mercifully, waited
giving me grace to attend to Him.
This showing I took especially to myself,
but by all the gracious comfort that follows,
as you shall see,
I was taught to take it for all my fellow Christians,
for all in general, and no-one in special.

Though our Lord showed me I should sin,
‘me’ is to be understood as all.
And in this I felt a mild fear;
and to this our Lord answered,
I keep you fully secure.

This word was said with more love,
security and spiritual care
than I can or may tell.
As it was shown that I should sin,
comfort was also shown,
security and care,
for all my fellow Christians.

And could I love my fellow Christians more?
and see that God loves all that shall be saved
as it were all one soul?

For in every soul that shall be saved
is a godly will that never agreed to sin
nor ever shall.
Just as there is a beastly will in the lower part
that may will no good,
just so there is a godly will in the higher part
which will is so good, it may never wish ill,
but always good.

And so we are what He loves,
and always do what pleases him,
and this our Lord showed in the wholeness of the love
that we stand in in His sight.
Yes, that He loves us now
as well while we are here,
as He shall do when we are there
before His blessed face.

Therefore all our trouble
is only failing of love on our part.

XXXVIII
 
      Synne of the chosen shall be turnyd to joye and worship. Exemple of David, Peter, and John of Beverley. Thirty-eighth chapter.

  • Here Julian sees God, like a loving parent of a misbehaving child, following punishment with a hug at the right time.

God showed that sin shall not become shame
but worship to man.
For, as every sin is answered by true pain,
so for every sin to that same soul
is given bliss in love.
Just as serious pains punish serious sins
so shall they be rewarded with many joys in Heaven
as much as they have been painful
and sorrowful to the soul in earth.

For the soul that comes to Heaven is precious to God,
and that place so worshipful,
that God’s goodness never lets that soul sin
that finally comes there
without that sin being regarded,
made known forever,
blissfully restored in surpassing worship.

In this sight my understanding was lifted into Heaven;
and God brought David merrily to my mind
and others in the Old Testament
without number.

First, in the New Testament,
He brought Mary Magdalen to my mind,
and Peter and Paul;
and Thomas who travelled to India.
Then Saint John of Beverly,
and numberless others also,
how, in the church in earth,
they are known with their sins,
and is now no shame to them,
but is all turned to worship in them.
So our courteous Lord shows it,
here in part, there in fullness.
For there the token of sin is turned to worship.

And our Lord showed Saint John of Beverley,
comfortably to us for his homeliness,
how we know him as a gentle neighbour,
and He called him Saint John of Beverley
plainly as we do, with full, glad, sweet cheer,
now a full, high saint in Heaven
and blissful in His sight.

And with this He made mention
that in his youth and tender age
he was a precious servant of God,
loving God greatly in awe.
Nevertheless God allowed him to fall,
protecting him so he did not perish,
nor spend time in sickness.

Then God raised him to far more grace; 
and for his remorse and meekness
gave him greater joys in Heaven
than if he had not fallen,
and God shows continual miracles
about his body on earth,
to make us glad and merry in love.

Chapter thirty-nine
 
      Of the sharpnes of synne and the godenes of contrition, and how our kynd
      Lord will not we dispair for often fallyng. Thirty-ninth chapter.

Sin is the sharpest scourge to any soul.
beating people so low in their sight,
they feel only fit to sink in Hell,
until remorse, the Holy Spirit’s touch,
turns bitterness to hope for God’s mercy.
Then they begin to heal their wounds,
and the soul to quicken,
turned to the life of Holy Church.

Then he undertakes penance for every sin,
prompted by his confessor
who is grounded in Holy Church
by the Holy Spirit’s teaching.
This meekness greatly pleases God.
God also sends bodily sickness,
and sorrow and shame from without,
and reproof and dispite of this world,
with all forms of grievance and temptation,
cast in body and in spirit.

Our Lord keeps us preciously
when we seem quite forsaken,
cast aside as deserved, for our sin.
For the meekness we get by it
for our great contrition,
and true longing for God,
we are raised high in God’s sight
by His grace and compassion.

Suddenly we are delivered from sin and pain,
taken to bliss, even made high saints.
We are made clean by contrition;
we are made ready by compassion;
and we are made worthy
by our true longing for God.
These are three ways, as I understand,
whereby all souls come to Heaven,
that have sinned on earth and shall be saved,
For each soul must be healed by these medicines.

Though healed, their wounds are seen by God,
not as wounds, but as worship.
And so as we are punished here
with sorrow and with penance,
we shall have reward in Heaven
by God Almighty’s courteous love
who wants none there to lose his travail.
He sees sin as sorrow and pain to His lovers,
to whom His love assigns no blame.

The reward we shall receive shall not be small,
but high, glorious, and worshipful;
and so shame shall be turned to worship
and more joy.

Our courteous Lord does not want us to despair,
neither for frequent nor grievous falling.
Our falling does not stop Him loving us.
Peace and love are always there,
always working in us,
though we are not always in peace and love.

But He wishes us to be aware of this:
He is the ground, the foundation,
of our whole life in love;
and more –
He is our everlasting keeper, defending us mightily
against fully evil and fierce enemies;
and the greater our need, the more we must know,
our falling is why He does this.

Chapter 40
 
Us nedyth to longyn in love with Jesus, eschewyng synne for love; the vyleness of synne passith al peynes; and God lovith wol tenderly us while we be in synne, and so us nedyth to doe our neybor.

This is our courteous Lord’s sovereign friendship,
He keeps us tenderly while we are in sin.
He touches us inwardly, showing us our sin
by the sweet light of mercy and grace.

But when we see ourself so foul,
we think God is wrathful for our sin;
and we are stirred by the Holy Spirit
by contrition into prayers
desiring to amend our life with all our might,
to slake God’s wrath,
until we find a rest in soul,
and softness in conscience,
and then we hope God has forgiven us.
And it is so.

And then our courteous Lord shows Himself to the soul
merrily and with glad cheer with friendly welcoming,
as if He had been in pain and in prison,
saying sweetly thus:
“My darling, I am glad you have come to me;
in all your woe I have always been with you.
Now you see my loving and we are united in bliss.”

Thus are sins forgiven by mercy and grace,
and our soul worshipfully received in joy,
as it shall be when it comes to Heaven,
by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit
and the virtue of Christ’s passion.

Here I understand truly
all manner of thing is made ready for us
by God’s great goodness;
so much that when we are in peace and charity
we are truly safe.

We may not have this fully while on earth,
so we must always fill our lives with prayer
and lovely longing with Jesus our Lord,
Who always longs to bring us to full joy,
as He said where He showed His spiritual thirst.

But now if any are stirred by folly
because of all this spiritual comfort,
to say or think, “If this be so
then it is good to sin for more reward,”
or else consider sin as less –
beware of this; for truly if it comes
it is untrue, and from the enemy
of that true love from which all comfort comes.

That same blest love that teaches us
that we should only hate sin for love.
And I am sure, by my own feeling,
the more that every kind soul sees this
in the courteous love of our Lord God,
the more loath is he to sin,
and the more he is ashamed.

For if before us were laid all the pains
in Hell and Purgatory and in the earth
– death and other – and sin,
we should rather choose all that pain than sin.

Sin is so vile, and is so much to hate,
that it can be likened to no pain,
except the pain of sin.
No harder hell was shown to me than sin;
for a natural soul there is no hell but sin.

And we give ourselves to love and meekness
by the work of mercy and grace
we are all made fair and clean.
And, mighty and wise as God is
to save man, willing as He is,
for Christ is the ground of all Christian laws,
Who taught us to do good against ill.
Here we can see, He is this charity,
He does to us all He teaches us to do.

For He wants us to be like Him
with whole endless love for ourselves
and for all our fellow Christians.
Just as His love for us is not broken
by our sin, neither does He want our love
broken to ourselves or fellow Christians.

But nakedly hate sin,
and endlessly love the soul as God loves it;
then shall we hate sin as God hates it,
and love the soul as God loves it.
For this, God’s word, is endless comfort:
I keep you securely.

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.

Revelations of Love, Chapters 1-3

Julian’s introduction to what is to follow.

These first three chapters outline the whole book:

  • first, a summary of the chapters to follow (omitted for brevity).
  • second, how when younger, she prayed to share or understand more of Christ’s pains.
  • third, her  serious illness in 1373, in which, during receipt of the last rites, she received the ‘shewings’ or visions which occupy the rest of the book.

In fact she survived. The last record of her still living was in 1413.

What follows is far more than I originally intended. Two or three years ago I began a free verse précis of her book, promising completion in a few months, then a year. But I found such richness and compassion in her writing that the précis became a fuller translation and the timescale grew.

Although written in English it is that of the early middle ages. Spelling was elastic then, not only from writer to writer but within a writer’s own work, hence it is very much a translation into modern English. Fortunately I did not have to work from the original mediaeval alphabet or, worse, from handwritten originals. This has been done by far better writers than myself, particularly Georgia Ronan Crampton.

I have kept Julian’s chapter introductions in her Middle English wording in italic, but using our modern alphabet. Her book, as mentioned in an earlier post, was written in a dangerous and unforgiving age; a time of post- Black Death fear of heresy. The shewings should be read in order.

Revelations to one who could not read a letter. Anno Domini 1373.

A Particular of the Chapters, Of the tyme of these revelations, and how shee asked three petitions, and Of the sekenese opteyned of God be petition.

Chapter 1.

 A Particular of the Chapters. The first chapter, off the noumber of the Revelations particularly.

This is a Revelation of love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss,
made in sixteen Showings or special Revelations.

I have omitted this chapter’s summary of her sixteen revelations as, in the light of the historical background in which they were written, they are better read in in order.

Chapter 2

The second chapter. Of the tyme of these revelations, and how shee asked three petitions.

These Revelations were shown to a simple unlettered creature in the year of our Lord 1373, the eighth day of May, which creature had desired previously, three gifts of God.

The first was to understand His passion.

The second was bodily sickness in youth at thirty years of age.

The third was to have God’s gift of three wounds.

As to the first gift,
I thought I had some feeling of Christ’s passion,
but desired more by God’s grace,
as though I were there with Mary Magdalen
and others that loved Christ;
desiring an actual sight
to know more of our Saviour’s physical pains,
our Lady’s compassion,
and of all His true lovers that saw them,
in that way I would be one of them
and suffer with Him.

I desired no other sight
nor showing of God
till my soul departed from my body,
so that by this showing alone
I should more truly understand Christ’s passion.

The second gift came to my mind with contrition,
freely desiring a sickness so deathly hard
that I might undergo all rites of Holy Church,
believing I was dying,
and that all that saw me might suppose the same,
for I would get no comfort from earthly life.

In this sickness I prayed to have
all manner of physical and spiritual pains
that I would feel if I were dying,
with all the dreads and tempests of the fiends,
except the outpassing of my soul.

By this I meant to be purged by God’s mercy,
afterward  to live more to His worship
because of that sickness;
and that it might speed my death,
for I desired to be soon with my God.

These two desires, the passion and the sickness,
I desired with a condition, saying,
“Lord, you know what I desire.
if it be Thy will, may I have it,
and if it be not Thy will,
good Lord, do not be displeased,
for I want nothing but Thy will.”

For the third gift, by the grace of God and the teaching of Holy Church,
I conceived a mighty desire to receive three wounds in my life:

the wound of full contrition,
the wound of kindred compassion,
and the wound of willfull longing for God.

And all this last petition I asked without any condition.

The first two desires passed from my mind,
but the third dwelt with me continually.

Chapter 3

Of the sekenese opteyned of God be petition. Third chapter.

When I was thirty and a half years old,
God sent me a bodily sickness
in which I lay three days and nights.
On the fourth I had rites of Holy Church
and did not expect to live till day;
but after this I languished
two days and two nights.

The third night I often thought I had passed,
as did they that were with me;
still young, I thought it great pity to die;
not for anything in earth
that might give me pleasure to live,
nor fear of any pain,
for I trusted in God in His mercy.

But to have lived to have loved God better
and for a longer time,
that I might have more knowledge and love
of God in the bliss of Heaven.

For I thought,
the time I had lived here was too slight,
too short to deserve that endless bliss.
It seemed nothing.

I thought,
“Good Lord, may the end of my life be Thy worship?”
And I understood by my reason,
by my feelings of pain,
that I should die,
and assented fully, with all the will of my heart,
to be at God’s mercy.

Thus I endured until day,
and by then my body was dead
with no feeling from the middle down.

Then I was stirred to be set upright,
and was leant back with help,
to have more freedom in my heart
to be at God’s will,
thinking on God while my life might last.

My curate was sent for to be at my end,
by the time he came my eyes were fixed
and I could not speak.

He set the cross before my face and said,
“I have brought the image
of thy maker and Saviour.
Look thereon and have comfort therewith.”

I thought I needed no comfort
for my eyes were set upward to Heaven
where by God’s mercy I trusted to come,
but I assented to set my eyes, if I could,
in the face of the Crucifix
and so I did,
thinking I might endure longer
looking ahead than right up.

After this my sight began to fail,
the chamber dark as night about me
except in the image of the Cross
which I saw by its own light,
I knew not how.

All beside the Cross was ugly to me
as if greatly occupied with fiends.

The rest of my body began to die.
I had scarcely any feeling,
with shortness of wind;
and believed I had truly died.

And in this, suddenly, all my pain was taken from me,
I was as hale, and sound in body as ever before.

I marvelled at this sudden change,
I thought it was God’s secret work
and not of nature,
yet feeling this ease
I trusted no more in living.

This ease was no full ease to me,
for I would rather be delivered from this world.

Then came suddenly to my mind
that I should desire the second wound
of our Lord’s gracious gift,
that my body might be fullfilled
with mind and feeling of His blessed passion,
I wanted His pains my pains with compassion,
and afterward to belong to God.

I desired neither bodily sight nor showing of God,
but compassion,
as a kindred soul might have with our Lord Jesus,
who for love became a mortal man.
I desired to suffer with Him.

Julian’s visions follow approximately monthly, interspersed with other posts.

Dame Julian

Revelations of Divine Love

INTRODUCTION

 ‘This is a Revelation of love that Jesus Christ, our endless blisse, made in sixteen Sheweings or Revelations particular.’

Revelations of Divine Love by Dame Julian of Norwich is a remarkable book; probably the first in English by a woman. Some of its themes ran counter to the church’s teaching – dangerous in the troubled century in which she lived. Her calm and compassionate writing, visionary and mystical, came from sixteen visions or ‘shewings’ in 1373 during a severe, paralysing illness, so severe that she received the last rites.

In Middle-English language, she called them shewings (showings) and revelations. Others have called them visions but they were sometimes visual, and other times intellectual, auditory or spiritual. I use showings to keep the sound and intent of the original.

She describes them as personal revelations to herself by God that she was to pass on to her fellow Christians. She reviewed the first 14 showings with twenty in-depth chapters of comment, preparing the way for the dangerous ground in her 15th and 16th showings.

Her Middle-English is hard to read today. Most translations are  readable but use much original wording and phrasing to keep the mediaeval colour. I have tried to avoid this. Words then can have different meanings to the same words today. In my modern renderings of Julian’s visions I have used Georgia Ronan Crampton’s excellent version of her later, longer book here. This is probably the closest to the original Middle-English but uses our modern alphabet. Another more comfortably modernised version is in the Christian Classics Ethereal library here.

Beware: you may find yourself on a beautiful but long road. Sometimes the meanings of words have changed, sometimes it is our understanding of what underlies those words. For instance, fear in Julian’s day carried far more sense of awe than it does today. Now it has been simplified to mean fright. We use the same word but a sense of wondering caution has given way to one of cowering. To fear God has lost something in the process. Dread carried a combined sense of respect and awe rather than horror.

14th Century Background

Continue reading

Julian update

Some of you may have wondered why I have been so slack in continuing my work on  Dame Julian of Norwich’s Shewings. Mea Culpa, or perhaps Rio Culpa! The Rio Olympics, and particularly the Rio Paralympics drew me away almost completely. There is something powerful in the human spirit that makes events such as these very compelling.

Nevertheless I am getting back on course but by a somewhat extended route. In the twenty-three years after recording her visionary ‘shewings’ Julian added twenty chapters of notes on the first fourteen. They are a perceptive and compassionate introduction to the fifteenth and sixteenth showings she received. So, rather than moving straight on to her last two shewings I have begun working, as she did, on her comments on the first fourteen. Without obviously doing so they tread a gentle path among the startling revelations to come. She sees no wrath in God, and no forgiveness either; she finds boundless compassion and love; all this in a time when about a quarter of the world’s population died of the Black Death and its after-effects. In East Anglia where she lived two thirds of the population died. To write as she did, especially as a woman, when all around were looking for cause and blame, took immense character and courage.

You will find the link at the bottom of the Dame Julian tab page or here . Her first fourteen shewings/showings/revelations/visions are linked from the Dame Julian tab. Remember, if you are taking this journey with me, it is work very much in progress and may be revised as we go along.