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

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