Julian’s 3rd Showing

Chapter 11. 

“The third Revelation etc.; how God doth al thing except synne, never chongyng His purpose without end, for He hath made al thing in fulhede of goodnes. The eleventh chapter.”

And after this I saw God in a tiny point,
that is to say, in my understanding
I saw that He is in all things.

I saw and considered,
seeing and understanding the sight with a soft awe,
and thought: What is sin?

For I saw truly that God does everything, however little.
Nothing comes by chance without His foresight.
If it seems so, our blindness,
our poor foresight, is the cause.

Those things in God’s foreseeing wisdom
from without beginning fall suddenly,
unsuspectedly to us;
by our blindness, by our lack of forsight,
we see them as happenchance.
But to our Lord God they are not so.

  fro withoute beginning: an interesting term whose sense
is perhaps preserved in the Scottish term outwith, ‘apart from’
or in this case ‘outside’ the beginning which points to something other
than mere unending time: something outside time, the eternal,
for which we have no true words.
Even ‘eternal’, from words meaning ‘lasting for an age’
inadequately expresses in temporal words, something outwith time.
(Compare Jeremiah: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart
)

So I must grant all that is done, is done well ,
for our Lord God does all.
I saw our Lord God at work in His creatures,
not the work of His creatures,
for He is the mid-point of everything;
and I was sure He does no sin.

And I saw here truly that sin is no deed,
for in all this sin was not shown.
I would no longer wonder at this,
but saw what our Lord would show.
My soul was shown the rightfulness of God’s work.

Rightfulness has two fair properties:
it is right, it is full,
as are all the works of our Lord God;
needing neither the working of mercy nor grace,
for all is rightful,
nothing fails.

Another time He showed me sin nakedly,
as I shall say later,
where He uses the work of mercy and grace.

This vision was shown to my understanding.
For our Lord wishes the soul to turn
to see Him truly,
and all His works generally,
for they are fully good,
and all His doings are easy and sweet, and greatly easing,
turning the soul from the blind judgement of man
to the fair, sweet judgement of our Lord God.
For a man sees some deeds well done
and some evil.
But our Lord beholds them not so.
For just as all that exists in nature is of God’s making,
so all that is done is of God’s doing.

That the best deed is well done
is easy to understand.
And as the best and the highest,
so is the least deed done,
and all in the way and order our Lord has ordained
from without beginning,
for there is no doer but He.

I saw with certainty,
He never changes His purpose,
nor ever shall, without end.
For nothing was unknown to Him
forever, from without beginning.

Everything was set in order and made,
and it shall stand without end,
and nothing shall fail in that point.
He made everything in full goodness,
in the blessed Trinity,
forever fully pleased in all His works.

And all this He showed blisfully, meaning thus:

See, I am God;
see, I am in everything;
see, I do everything;
see, I never left my hands off my works,
nor ever shall without end;
see I lead everything to the end I ordained
from without beginning
by the same might, wisdom and love that I made it.
How should anything be amiss?

Thus mightily, wisely, and lovingly
my soul was examined in this vision.
Then I saw truly,
I had to assent with great reverence,
delighting in God.

Her 4th & 5th visions follow in a couple of weeks.

Julian’s 2nd Showing

A little before the fourteenth century, the word for our species, ‘Man’, had begun to be used also for the male of our species. Even ‘he’ and ‘she’ had once been different local accent words for person with no gender significance until ‘she’ shifted to mean a female person (for more see here). I have differentiated between man meaning a male person, and Man meaning a member of the species of either gender, by using a capital M for the species term.

Chapter 10

“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,
the crucifix continually before me,
part of His passion –
spite, spitting, sullying, buffetting
and many languishing pains, more than I can tell,
with often changing colour.

Once I saw half the face, beginning at the ear,
covered with dry blood to the centre.
Then the other half similarly,
while the first vanished as it came.

I saw this with my own eyes, dimly,
straining to see more clearly.

It was put in 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 glimpse 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 to the deep sea bed.
There I saw green hills and dales,
moss-grown with sea-wrack and gravel.

Then I understood.
if a man or woman could keep sight of God,
who is with Man continually,
even under the sea he would be safe,
in body and soul, taking no harm.
Above all, he would have more solace and comfort
than all this world can tell.

God wants us to know we see Him always
though we think it is but little,
and in this belief He gives us everlasting grace.

For He wishes to be seen,
He wishes to be sought,
He wishes us to wait for Him,
and trust Him.

This second shewing,
so low, so little, so simple,
made my spirits mourn.
It filled them with dread and longing,
and I doubted it was a showing.

Little by little our good Lord
gave me true understanding.
It was a showing –
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,
how 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 He that made Man.

He that made Man for love,
would restore him by that same love
to the same or greater bliss,
in the image of the Trinity
seen in our first creation.
Like Jesus Christ, our Saviour,
in heaven without end, in our remaking.

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 a 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 I dare to say, fully and surely,
that never was so fair a man as He,
until His fair colour was changed
with travail and sorrow and passion,
dying.

More of this is in the Eighth Showing,
where it says the vernacle of Rome moves,
changing colour and expression,
sometimes more comfortable and lifelike,
sometimes more rueful and deathly.

And in this vision I learned
the soul’s continual search pleases God greatly,
for it can only seek, suffer, and trust.

In the soul that has it,
this is the work of the Holy Spirit, finding clarity
when He wills it by His special grace.
Our seeking, with faith, hope, and love,
pleases our Lord.
Our finding pleases the soul,
filling it with joy.

So I was taught, in my mind,
that seeking is as good as seeing
while He allows the soul to be in travail.

God wishes us to seek to see Him.
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,
most profitable to you,
and receives greatest meekness and virtues
with the Holy Spirit’s grace and leading.

For a soul fastening onto God
by seeking or beholding,
with nothing but true trust,
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.
Every soul may have the discretion
and teaching of Holy Church;
and ought to have,
with God’s grace.

God wishes us three things in our seeking.

First, that we seek wilfully, through His grace,
busily, without sloth,
gladly, merrily,
without senseless heaviness,
without vain sorrow.

Second, that we wait for His love,
steadfast, without grumbling,
without striving against Him, to our life’s end,
for it shall be but for a while;

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.

Third, that we trust Him greatly
in full, secure faith,
for this is His will.

Blessed may He be.

Julian’s third showing will follow in the beginning of May.

Julian’s 1st Showing – part 2

Introduction>

Chapter 7

“How our Lady, beholdyng the gretenes of hir Maker, thowte
hirselfe leste; and of the great droppys of blode renning from
under the garland; and how the most joy to man is that God
most hie and mightie is holyest and curtesiest. – Seventh chapter.”

To teach me this, our Lord God showed our Lady Saint Mary
also beholding the high wisdom and truth of her Maker,
so great, so high,
so mighty, and so good.

This great nobility seen in God
filled her with reverend awe,
seeing herself so little,
so low, so simple, so poor,
compared to her Lord God,
that she was filled with meekness.
By this she was filled with grace
and all manner of virtues,
surpassing all creatures.

As I said before,
all the time He showed this
I saw, in spiritual sight,
the continuing, profuse bleeding of His head.
Great drops of blood fell down
from under the garland like pellots
as though they came from the veins.

In coming out it was brown red,
for the blood was full and thick,
and in spreading abroad it was bright red,
and when it came to the brows it vanished.
This bleeding continued
’till many things were seen and understood.

It was clear and lifelike, full and undisguised,
profuse as drops of water falling from the eves,
dropping so thickly after heavy rain,
that no man may number them.
They were round as scales of herring
spreading on the forehead.
This showing was quick, lively, hideous,
dreadful, sweet and lovely.

Of all I saw this was most comforting,
that our Lord God, so reverent and awesome,
is so homely and courteous.
This filled me with most delight
and security of soul.

To help understand this
He showed this open example.

The most worship a solemn King or great Lord
may do a poor servant
is to be homely with him,
particularly if he shows it himself,
with full, true meaning and with glad cheer,
both privately and before all.

Then this poor creature thinks:
Ah, what more might this noble Lord do
in worship and joy to me
than to show me that am so simple
this marvelous homeliness?

Truly it gives me more joy and happiness
than if he gave me great gifts
but were himself aloof in manner.
This bodily example was so generous
that man’s heart might be ravished,
almost forgetting himself
in the joy of that great humility.

So it is between our Lord Jesus and us,
for truly it is the highest joy that can be,
as I see it,
that He that is highest and mightiest,
noblest and worthiest,
is lowest and meekest,
homeliest and most courteous.

And truly, genuinely, this marvelous joy
shall be shown us all when we see Him.

And our Lord wishes that we desire and believe,
rejoice and delight,
comforting and solacing ourselves
with His grace and help,
until we really see it.

For the fullest joy we shall have,
is, in my sight,
the marvelous courtesy and homeliness of our Father,
our maker, in our Lord Jesus Christ,
our brother and our Saviour.

But in this lifetime,
none may know this marvelous homeliness
except by our Lord’s special showing,
or by great plentiful grace
given inwardly by the Holy Spirit.

But faith, hope and love deserve the reward;
so grace is certain;
for our life is founded in faith,
in hope, and in love.

This showing, made to whoever God will,
teaches the same, plainly and openly,
declared with many matters of our faith
which are worshipfull to know.

And when the showing, given once, is past and hidden,
then, by the Holy Spirit’s grace,
faith holds until our life’s end.

Thus the showing is none other than our faith,
not less, nor more,
as may be seen as our Lord’s unchanging word
until it comes to the end.

Chapter 8

“A recapitulation of that is seid; and how it was shewid to hir generally for all. Eighth chapter.”

And as long as I saw this sight,
the profuse bleeding of the head,
I could not cease saying,
“Benedicite, Domine.”

In this showing I understood six things.

First,
the tokens of the blessed passion
and profuse shedding of His precious blood.

Second,
the Maiden, His precious Mother.

Third,
the blissfull Godhead
that ever was, is, and ever shall be,
almighty, all wisdom, all love.

Fourth,
all that He has made:
Heaven and earth and all that is made,
is vast – large, fair and good,
but it showed as so little in my sight
because I saw it in the presence of Him,
the maker of all things.
To a soul that sees the maker of all,
all that is made seems very little.

Fifth,
He that made all things for love;
by that same love it is kept
and shall be without end.

Sixth,
God is everything that is good, as I see it,
and the goodness everything has
is Him.

All these our Lord showed me in this first showing
with time and space to behold it.
The bodily sight faded,
the spiritual sight stayed in my understanding.
I remained in reverent awe, rejoicing in what I saw,
desiring, if it were His will,
and as much as I dared,
to see more,
or see the same for a longer time .

In all this I was greatly stirred,
in love for my fellow Christians,
that they might see and know that which I saw,
for I wished it to be comfort to them.
For this sight was shown for all.

Than I said to them that were about me,
“Today is doomsday with me”;
expecting to die,
and in my understanding,
the day a man dies,
he is judged for eternity.

I said this wanting them to love God better,
to remind them that this life is short,
as they might see in my example,
for I expected to die.
That was strange to me,
and somewhat sad,
as I thought this vision was for the living.

I say this personally, to all my fellow Christians,
for in our Lord God’s spiritual showing
I have learnt that He intends this.
I pray you all for God’s sake,
and counsel you for your own profit,
do not behold the wretch to whom this vision came,
but mightily, wisely, and meekly behold God,
who, in courteous love and endless goodness,
wishes it shown generally
to comfort us all.

For God’s wishes you to take it
with great joy and happiness
as if Jesus had shown it to you all.

Chapter 9

“Of the mekenes of this woman kepeing hir alway in the feith of Holy Church; and how he that lovyth his evyn Cristen for God lovith all thing. Ninth Chapter.”

This showing does me no good unless I love God better.
And inasmuch as you love God better,
it is more value to you than to me.

I do not speak to the wise, for the wise know it well,
but I say it to you that are simple
for your ease and comfort.
We are all one in comfort.

Truly I was not shown that God loved me better
than the least soul in grace.
I am sure there are many who have had no showing,
or sight other than Holy Church’s teaching,
that love God better than I.

If I look only to myself I am truly nothing;
but if I look to all I am one in hope and charity
with all my fellow Christians.

For in this unity stands the life of all mankind
that shall be saved.
For God is all that is good in my sight.

God has made all that is made
and loves all that He has made;
and he that loves all his fellow Christians,
for God’s sake,
loves all that is.

For in mankind that shall be saved,
all is understood as saying 
all that is made,
and also the Maker of all;
for God is in man,
and God is in all.

And I hope by God’s grace, that he that sees this,
shall be truly taught,
and strongly comforted when he needs comfort

I speak of those that shall be saved,
for at this time God showed me no other.

But in everything I believe as Holy Church believes,
and preaches and teaches.

The faith of Holy Church, was always in my sight.
I hope, by God’s grace, I kept with all my will,
in use and custom, forever willing and meaning,
to receive nothing that might be contrary to it.

With this intent I beheld this showing
with all my diligence, for in all its blessedness
I saw it at one with God’s meaning.

All this was shown three ways,
in my bodily sight,
by word formed in my mind,
and by spiritual sight.

But I cannot, may not, show the spiritual sight
as openly and fully as I would wish.

But I trust our Lord God Almighty,
that He shall in His goodness,
and for your love,
make you take it more spiritually,
more sweetly, than I can or may tell it.

This ends Dame Julian’s first showing.
I shall post her second in the first week of April.

Introduction>

Julian’s 1st Showing – part 1

Introduction>

Many of Julians ‘showings’, or visions, were short, but this first is longer and I have divided it. The second part will be at the beginning of March.

(The ‘Julian’ tab is no longer accessible as I considerably reworked those pages which I had previously condensed.)

Chapter 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter 5

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

In this same time our Lord showed me
a spiritual sight of His homely love.
I saw He is to us all that is good,
and comfortable for us.

He is our clothing that wraps us in love,
embraces us and all encloses us
for tender love,
that He may never leave us.
I know He is all that is good to us.

In this He showed a little thing
the size of a hazel nut
in the palm of my hand,
round as a ball.

I looked at it, in the eye
of my understanding and thought,
What may this be?

The answer was all-inclusive:
It is all that is made.
I marvelled how it could last.
I thought it so little
it might suddenly fall to nothing.

And I was given to understand:
It lasts and always shall,
for God loves it;
so by God’s love everything has its being.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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