Julian of Norwich

PRAYER: Third Saturday Of Advent by Mitch Finley

December 22, 2018

From Season of Promises As truly as God is our father, so just as truly is he our mother.  In our father, God Almighty, we have our being; in our merciful mother we are remade and restored.  Our fragmented lives are knit together and made perfect man.  And by giving and yielding ourselves, through grace, to the Holy Spirit we are made whole. (Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love) One of the images of Advent: the Christmas manger scene in the church or in our home, all the figures arranged, Mary here, Joseph there, the shepherds thus, the animals just so, maybe the magi over there.  But during Advent, the season of patient waiting, the crib is empty, waiting, ready to be the resting place of the Child. What does this image of [...]


December 22, 2016

From The School of Charity He shewed me a little thing, says Julian of Norwich, the quantity of a hazel nut in the palm of my hand; and it was as round as a ball.  I looked thereupon with the eye of my understanding and thought: “What may this be?”  And it was answered generally thus: “It is all that is made.”  In this Little Thing I saw three properties.  The first is that God made it, the second is that God loveth it, the third, that God keepeth it. That is a saint’s comment on the first article of her Creed.  It is a vision that takes much living-out in the world in which injustice and greed are everywhere manifest; full, too, to tendencies which we are able to recognize as evil, and of misery and [...]

POETRY: All Shall Be Well, by Julian of Norwich

November 30, 2016

(Adapted from Revelations of Divine Love) And so our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts that I might make, saying comfortingly: I may make all thing well, I can make all thing well, I will make all thing well, and I shall make all thing well; and thou shall see thyself that all manner of thing shall be well. Where He says, I may, I understand it for the Father; and where He says, I can, I understand it for the Son; and where He says, I will, I understand it for the Holy Ghost; and where He says, I shall, I understand it for the unity of the blessed Trinity; three Persons and one Truth; and where He says, Thou shall see thy self, I understand the oneing of all mankind; that shall be saved unto the blessed Trinity. And in [...]

PRAYER: Chapter XIX (short text), by Julian of Norwich

July 27, 2015

From Showings After this our Lord revealed to me about prayers.  I saw two conditions in those who pray, according to what I have felt myself.  One is that they will not pray for anything at all but for the thing which is God’s will and to his glory; another is that they apply themselves always and with all their might to entreat the thing which is his will and to his glory.  And that is what I have understood from the teaching of Holy Church; for this is what our Lord too taught me now, to accept faith, hope, and love as gifts from God, and for us to preserve ourselves in them to the end of life.  For this we say the Our Father, Hail Mary, I Believe, with such devotion as God will give us.  And so we pray for all our fellow [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: God Makes, Loves, Keeps by Evelyn Underhill

February 23, 2015

From The School of Charity If the Reality of God were small enough to be grasped, it would not be great enough to be adored; and so our holiest privilege would go. “I count not myself to have grasped; but as one that has been grasped, I press on,” says Saint Paul.  But if all real knowledge here is a humbly delighted knowledge of our own ignorance – if, as the dying artist said, “The word we shall use most when we get to Heaven will be ‘Oh!'” – still we can realize something of what it means, to consider our world from this point-of-view.  It means that everything we are given to deal with – including ourselves and our psychological material, however intractable – is the result of the creative [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Fourth Station — Jesus Christ Is Met By His Mother by Evelyn Underhill

March 16, 2014

From The Path of Eternal Wisdom, written under the pseudonym, John Cordelier The Eternal Wisdom Encounters Human Love It is surely humanity’s most poignant moment when the best that it has produced confronts the best that the spiritual universe has given. Then, as at no other station of our journey, the awful travail of the Eternal Wisdom is revealed to the soul in whom he has been born, and who has learned to love him as her dearest possession, adore him as her God. In this supreme hour she looks into the eyes of that Perfection who is at once her creator and her son: the most intimate of all mysteries, the most mysterious of all intimates.  That glance brings with it the full realization of her impotence, as well as of her love.  [...]

PRAYER: Prayer As Suffering — Aridity, by Donald Spoto

December 9, 2013

From In Silence For much of her life as a nun, Teresa of Ávila found prayer a tedious, depressing duty that left her feeling frustrated, a failure; it is said that during these years, she regularly shook the hourglass, as if to hurry time along.  “I spent nearly twenty years on that stormy sea,” she wrote in her autobiography.  “I had not joy in God and no pleasure in the world.”  In addition, she endured a series of grave illnesses; hers was not, in other words, a comfortable and soothing life of easy piety. On the brink of despair, she thought of Christ alone and afflicted, praying to God in agony the night before his death – “simple thoughts of this kind.”  Then someone gave her a copy of [...]

GRATITUDE: I Am What I Am by Michael Casey

November 26, 2013

From Reflections On The Prologue Of Benedict’s Rule In the same way, Paul the Apostle did not attribute anything of his preaching to himself but said, “It is by God’s grace that I am what I am.” There is a growing trend these days for authors to include a lengthy list of acknowledgements at the beginning or end of their books.  I am often bemused by these, especially when they include those who were simply hired for their services.  Cynic that I am, I often wonder whether this is not just an elaborate form of political correctness rather than a sincere admission of indebtedness.  The same holds for winners of Academy Awards and other forms of social recognition.  Am I really expected to be gushingly grateful to [...]

POETRY: On A Theme From Julian’s Chapter XX by Denise Levertov

March 15, 2013

Six hours outstretched in the sun, yes, hot wood, the nails, blood trickling into the eyes, yes— but the thieves on their neighbor crosses survived till after the soldiers had come to fracture their legs, or longer. Why single out the agony? What’s a mere six hours? Torture then, torture now, the same, the pain’s the same, immemorial branding iron, electric prod. Hasn’t a child dazed in the hospital ward they reserve for the most abused, known worse? The air we’re breathing, these very clouds, ephemeral billows languid upon the sky’s moody ocean, we share with women and men who’ve held out days and weeks on the rack— and in the ancient dust of the world what particles of the long tormented, what [...]

WOMEN’S ORDINATION: The Supremacy Of The Womb

February 12, 2013

It has been many years, many decades, really, since I rolled up my sleeves and took on God’s assignment to look into the issue of the ordination of women.  At the time, I was very much not interested in church politics, and had the most naive opinion that the Anglican/Episcopal Church would never do anything that would hurt its own congregants. And so I entered the fray of that time, not understanding the rules of bare-knuckle fighting that had become so quickly the norm of online “discussion” groups.  I learned eventually that nothing was off-limits to one’s opponents, that character shredding was very often offered as theological opinions, and that God took a very, very back seat to rampant individualism.  In [...]

JUDGMENT: Discernment — A Rare Bird by Benedicta Ward

December 6, 2012

From The Way, Supplement 64; London 1989 Discretion is a very rare bird upon the Earth. (Bernard of Clairvaux) In the Christian tradition, diakresis, discernment, has always been highly esteemed.  It has been seen not as merely part of the natural virtue of prudence but as one of the direct gifts of the Holy Spirit, both the way into and the fruit of life in Christ.  In the first thousand or more years of Christian living, discernment (also called discretion) was discussed with complete unanimity, not because each writer repeated what his predecessors said without further thought but because the practice of Christian life continued to make abundantly clear the nature and purpose of discernment.  It would be possible to summarize and [...]