Monday, November 02, 2009

Julian of Norwich

The Anchoress known as Julian of Norwich (born in late 1342) is thought of as one of the greatest English mystics. Virtually nothing is known about her aside from what she writes in her remarkable book, but even there she reveals little about herself, preferring instead to talk about her “courteous” God. In her work (considered to be the first book written by a woman in English), Julian recounts an amazing series of visions she had while suffering from a life-threatening illness; as she reflects on the meaning of her visions, she reveals a profound level of mystical wisdom and insight that, over six hundred years later, remains on the cutting edge of Christian theology. Today, Julian is best known for her optimism; she is most-often quoted for saying “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” (which was Christ’s response to her when she wondered about why sin had to exist). A lesser known but equally lovely quote: “The fullness of joy is to behold God in all.” Julian is also celebrated for naming both God and Christ as “Mother.” More than a cute theological ploy, she articulates a fully-formed spirituality of the motherhood of God, yet always within the parameters of an orthodox appreciation of the Christian faith.

The deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother
in whom we are all enclosed

I beheld the action of all the blessed Trinity.
In that sight I saw and understood these three aspects:
the aspect of the Fatherhood,
the aspect of the Motherhood,
and the aspect of the Lordhood,
in one God.

- The Revelations of Divine Love of Blessed Julian of Norwich

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