How we shold pray; and of the gret tender love that our Lord hath to mannes soule, willing us to be occupyed in knowing and loveing of Him. The sixth chapter.
This showing was made to teach our soul
to cleave wisely to God’s goodness.
Then, how we pray was brought to mind,
how for lack of understanding,
and knowledge of love,
we use so many means.
I saw it greater worship to God,
and truer delight,
if we pray in faith to Him of His goodness,
cleaving to it by His grace,
with true understanding,
held steadfast by love, that truest light,
than if we used all means the heart can think.
For if we use all these means,
it is too little,
and not full worship of God.
But if our prayer is wholly in His goodness,
then truly, nothing fails.
For as I shall say, this came to my mind:
when we pray to God for His holy flesh,
for His precious blood, His holy passion,
His dear and worthy death and wounds;
all the blessed kindness –
the eternal life we gain –
is His goodness.
And we pray to Him of His sweet mother’s love,
the love that bore Him,
and all the help we have of her
is His goodness.
by prayer by the Holy Cross He died on,
the virtue gained, the help of His Cross,
is of His goodness.
And on the same wise,
all the help we have of special saints
all the blessed company of Heaven,
the dear, worthy love,
the endless friendship we have of them,
it is of His goodness.
God in His goodness has ordained,
full, fair and many means to help us;
of which the chief and principal
is His blessed kindred with us in the Maid,
with all the means before and after,
which belong to our redemption
and eternal salvation.
Wherefore it pleases Him that we seek Him,
worshipping by many means,
but understanding and knowing
that He is the goodness of all.
For the goodness of God is the highest prayer
coming down to the lowest part of our need.
It quickens our soul
it brings it life,
it makes it wax in grace and virtue.
It is our nearest kindred
and readiest in grace.
It is the grace the soul seeks, and ever shall,
till we know our God truly
that has us all enclosed in Himself.
For He does not despise His creature,
nor distains to serve the simplest office
belonging to our body in nature,
for love of the soul that He has made
in His own likness.
For as the body is clad in cloth,
the flesh in its skin,
the bones in the flesh,
and the heart in the breast,
so are we, soul and body,
clad in the goodness of God
enclosed, yes, and more homely,
for all these may waste and wear away,
but God’s goodness is ever whole,
nearer to us beyond any likeness;
for truly our lover desires our soul
to cleave to Him with all its might,
cleaving forevermore to His goodness.
For of all our heart might hope to do,
this pleases God most,
with quickest gain,
for our soul is so specially loved
by Him that is highest,
that it surpasses all creaturely knowledge.
That is to say,
there is no creature made
that may know how much,
how sweetly, and how tenderly
our Maker loves us.
So, with His grace and help,
our spirit may see, marvelling forever,
this high, surpassing, inestimable love
Almighty God has for us of His goodness.
So we may ask our lover with reverence
all that we wish.
For our natural desire is to have God
and God’s good desire is to have us,
and we may never stop willing,
till we have Him in fullness of joy.
Then we may desire no more.
For He wishes us always
to be knowing and loving Him
until we shall be fulfilled in Heaven.
So this lesson of love was shown,
with all that follows,
as you shall see, for in this first showing
was shown the strength and ground of all.
beholding and loving its Maker
makes the soul seem least in its own sight,
filled with reverend awe and true meekness,
with great charity to his fellow Christians.
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.
And to teach me this,
our Lord God showed our Lady Saint Mary
beholding, in that same way,
the high wisdom and truth of her Maker,
and so good.
This great nobility beheld in God
filled her with reverend awe,
seeing herself so little,
so simple and 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
in spiritual sight I saw
the continuing, profuse bleeding of His head.
The 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.
So 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,
round as scales of herring
spreading on the forehead.
This showing was quick and lively,
hideous and 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 most with 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 strange 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 this,
that we desire and believe,
rejoice and delight,
comforting and solacing ourselves
as we may 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,
and hope, and love.
The 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 at a time,
is past and hidden,
then, by the Holy Spirit’s grace,
faith keeps until our life’s end.
And 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.