Wouldst thou learn of thy Lord’s meaning in this thing?
Learn it well:
Love was His meaning.
Who shewed it thee?
What shewed He thee?
Wherefore shewed it He?
Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know or learn therein other thing without end. Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning.
And I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be. And in this love He hath done all His works; and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us, and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning; in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end.
Revelations of Divine Love.
For the first 30 years of my life I lived within 10 miles of the City of Norwich, where Julian of Norwich had lived as an anchoress in a tiny cell attached to St Julians church. The City of Norwich suffered much bomb damage during the Second World War, with much of its medieval architecture lost, but as a sign of the fondness of the people for their anchoress…it was decided by public subscription to rebuild St Julians Church, one of only two churches to be rebuilt. Today visitors from around the world visit the church and tiny cell, to pay homage and give thanks for this woman’s dedication and life and the wonderful mystical work she left us through time.
Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416) was an English anchoress who is regarded as one of the most important Christian mystics. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches, but has never been canonised or beatified. Written around 1395, her work, Revelations of Divine Love, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. Julian of Norwich lived in a time of turmoil, but her theology was optimistic and spoke of God’s love in terms of joy and compassion, as opposed to law and duty. For Julian, suffering was not a punishment that God inflicted, as was the common understanding. She believed that God loved everyone and wanted to save them all. Popular theology, magnified by catastrophic contemporary events such as the Black Death and a series of peasant revolts, asserted that God punished the wicked. Julian suggested a more merciful theology, which some say leaned towards universal salvation.
Her manuscript was protected and hidden by the Nuns of Carrow Priory, in Norwich and was copied and passed on via their sister houses in Europe. This is the simple way in which it was protected from the power structures of the Church by small groups of women and it survived. What Julian wrote was dangerous, on the absolute edge of acceptable faith doctrine; and she could have been put to death for it. Many who wrote or spoke of such things were. Such words as she spoke below, can be dangerous even today.
For those of you who would like to know more…here is a link.