***Group Read: Revelations of Divine Love (or The Showings of Julian of Norwich)

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***Group Read: Revelations of Divine Love (or The Showings of Julian of Norwich)

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Mar 5, 2011, 9:49am

Robert and I are doing a group read of Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich, which is also called The Showings of Julian of Norwich for Lent this year. We are going to read 2 chapters a day (with 1 on Sundays) from the long text version. The chapters are quite short. We will start on Ash Wednesday, March 9. Please join us!

Mar 5, 2011, 10:01am

OK, I was kind of looking through the wiki page and did not really understand the editing of it (what else is new about me?). Today I have both of my girls in town. I will come back on Monday night with my husband and figure out how to add this to the wiki page. Sorry for the delay.

Mar 5, 2011, 11:25am

I am over-committed already, but I may have to try to join you in this one. I've read "in" *Revelations/Showings* but never read the whole thing. If I don't make it, I'll look forward to reading the thread.

Mar 5, 2011, 12:28pm

With the caveat that I am monumentally rubbish at sticking to group reads but will try to keep up...

I have a copy of Revelations of Divine Love on a shelf around here somewhere, I haven't ever read through the whole thing systematically, and I hadn't picked out a Lent read yet, so I will join in.

Mar 5, 2011, 1:21pm

Awesome! The more, the merrier! Feel free just to read the parts you want. See y'all Wednesday!

Mar 5, 2011, 2:33pm

I've added a link to this thread on the wiki.

Mar 5, 2011, 5:55pm

OK, I've read the introduction to my copy. It basically explains what an anchorite was and says we don't know much about Julian apart from what's in the book, not even her name. She was called Julian after the church she stayed in. Then the editor says a bit about key points of J's theology, but I'll read that again if I get stuck in the book itself.

Are people going to read it in Middle English or a modern adaptation?

Mar 5, 2011, 6:06pm

I have a Penguin translation from the '80's.

Mar 5, 2011, 7:25pm

#6> Jim, thank you so much for adding this to the wiki for me.

#7> I am going to read in translation to modern English.

Mar 6, 2011, 3:52am

I have downloaded it to my Kindle and are ready to join you. Looking forward to some new revelations during Lent.

Mar 6, 2011, 8:13am


Mar 9, 2011, 12:49am

I read the first three chapters today (Ash Wednesday).

The first chapter is basically the equivalent of a table of contents, while chapters 2 and 3 are an introduction before the first showing/revelation gets going in chapter 4.

I do find the idea of praying for God to make you so ill that you nearly die very odd.

Mar 9, 2011, 6:14pm

Today (Ash Wednesday, too), I finally read all the introductory material as well as the first three chapters. I have a guide at the back to line up somewhat the short and long texts, so I am also reading the short text. So far, they are mostly the same. The request to suffer a deadly illness also seems odd to me. I guess she feels that this suffering will enable her to understand and share in the suffering of Christ more fully. Suffering is a part of all lives, but asking for it to this extent is unusual.

Mar 10, 2011, 8:53am

Revelation 1, Chapters 4 and 5

God as maker (Father), keeper (Son), and lover (Holy Spirit).

I found a great picture of Jesus with the crown of thorns, by Lucas Cranach.

Chapter 5 has the famous simile of the world as a hazelnut.

Mar 10, 2011, 5:41pm

Chapters 4 & 5:

Thanks for the link to the painting!

Reading about Mary reminded me of Pope John Paul II's Letter to Women that I studied a year and half ago and his discussion of Mary and her fiat and how much she trusted God. It was beautiful.

Here is a quote that I liked:

We need to know the littleness of all created beings and to set at nothing everything that is made in order to love and possess God who is unmade.

I don't recall ever hearing about the hazelnut simile before.

I forgot to start my other Lenten reading yesterday. So, I am off to start on that now. See you tomorrow!

Mar 10, 2011, 7:56pm

I had to read this for university a few years ago, so I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on it. Can you articulate what your expectations are?

Mar 10, 2011, 8:59pm

I don't really have particular expectations. I just want to read about her personal experience with God. I like to do extra reading during Lent to prepare for Easter. I had never heard of her before Robert mentioned that he was reading this for Lent. But it seems like lots of other people are familiar with her writings.

Mar 11, 2011, 1:07am

I forget when I first heard of her. All I really knew was the she was an anchoress (though I wasn't exactly sure what an anchoress was) who had visions emphasising God's love.

The hazelnut metaphor and the saying "All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" were what I was aware of as the famous bits.

Beyond that I didn't really know what to expect. I've been working my way very sporadically through a chronological list of "great English writers" and she was the next on the list, and I wanted something to read which would be suitable for Lent, and so it all came together.

Today I read chapters 6 and 7. The theme seems to be direct, unmediated, prayer to God, which was maybe unusual for her time, and God's closeness and goodness to us.

Mar 11, 2011, 12:01pm

Chapters 6 & 7:

Yes, I agree that she says that direct prayer is above intercessory prayer. She also speaks with humility and emphasizes that her beliefs are in conformity with the Church. I like her message about God and love. Here is my quote for the day:

... that is to say that there is no being made that can know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our Maker loves us.

Where did you get your list of great English writers?

Mar 11, 2011, 7:26pm

Oh dear. I'm not getting to her as I am doing other Lenten reading. I'll continue to check the thread though, as I look forward to the concept that I remember - the one that makes feminists happy.

Mar 11, 2011, 7:33pm

Mar 11, 2011, 9:40pm

Thanks for the link, Robert.

Mar 12, 2011, 7:15am

Chapters 8 and 9. Basically a summary of what has been said so far to round off the first showing/revelation.

Mar 12, 2011, 10:22am

Yes, just a recap. Next showing coming up tomorrow. Are we just reading one chapter tomorrow?

Here is my quote from the very end:

But I trust that our Lord God almighty will out of his own goodness and love for you make you receive it more spiritually and more sweetly than I can or may tell it.


Mar 13, 2011, 4:33am

I've had some busy days so only today I catched up with Julian. Read chapter five to nine. Here are some thoughts:

I like her explanation on the Trinity - The Maker, The Lover, The Keeper. I have to keep that in mind. Specially chapter five was beautiful with a lot of thoughts to dwell and meditate on.

I wrote down the opening prayer of ch. 5: "God of Thy Goodness, give me Thyself; only in Thee I have all" - a good small prayer.

I liked her emphasis on the Goodness of God: "I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortabe for us: He is our clothing that for love wrappeth us, claspeth us, and all encloseth us for tender love, that He may never leave us; being so all-thing that is good, as to mine understanding".

For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those tings that are so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is All-mighty, All-wise, All-good. For He is the Very Rest.

I just needed this week to be reminded of the Goodness of God - and also that he is The Keeper - that I can rest in Him knowing He will keep me. That His love is like a clothing that "encloseth us for tender love". Here I find my rest. Not with the little things of this world.

Mar 13, 2011, 8:52am

The Second Showing/Revelation is just one chapter. Julian ponders the difference between how Jesus appeared on Earth, especially on the cross, and his beauty in heaven. Somehow, and I'm not quite sure how, this reminds her that seeking God is all we can do, the rest is up to him.

Editado: Mar 13, 2011, 10:26am

Maybe it is because her vision of the suffering Jesus is only seen "darkly" - and she desired to see more of Him, "to have seen more clearly" - and then she reflects about the desire to seek in order "to see Him more blissfully".

She writes: And this (dim) vision was a learning, to mine understanding, that the continual seeking of the soul pleaseth God full greatly: for it may do no more than seek, suffer and trust.

She also writes: "For we are now so blind and unwise that we never seek God till He of His goodness shew Himself to us.

There are indeed some good sound biblical thoughts on seeking God in this Second Revelation.

Mar 13, 2011, 5:46pm

I thought it was interesting how she brought up the cloth with Jesus' face on it.

Here is my quote from this part today:

Seeking with faith, hope and love pleases our Lord, and finding pleases the soul and fills it with joy.

This chapter was longer than the others have been. I have to say that this group read commitment has made me feel more grounded in Lent. I hope I stick with it all the way! :)

Mar 14, 2011, 1:57am

The third Showing/Revelation is Chapter 11. She seems to be saying that there is no such thing as sin because God is in all things and he does all things, working out what he planned from the beginning.

I don't quite understand how she can say that there is no such thing as sin, but there's a footnote to say she discusses this more in Showing/Revelation XIII.

As for all things happen because that's how God has willed them from the beginning, that's a hard thing to accept, particularly this week.

The fourth Showing/Revelation is in chapter 12. It's a chapter in praise of Christ's blood.

(So far my favourite bits have been whole paragraphs rather than individual sentences, too much to type out, especially in Middle English.)

Mar 14, 2011, 3:39pm

#11 and #12 seemed to contradict for me. In 11, she seems to say that there is no free will, and no act is sin as all actions are directed by God. (This might explain why there is no imprimatur.) Then at the end she says that she must comply, which to me contradicts the lack of free will. In 12 she says that the blood of Christ washes away sin. How is that after 11? Not sure what to think of these two showings in a row. And the hinted at "naked sin" in Showing 13. I will be looking for that one, as I don't know what it means.

Are you reading this in Middle English, Robert? I am impressed. I am reading in translation. There are a couple of excerpts in the back in Middle English and I tried to read them, but it was too difficult for me to follow.

Mar 15, 2011, 1:57am

I get most of it, though usually I have to read it through twice before I can start to understand it.

Revelation/Showing 5. Chapter 13 is about the powerlessness of the devil because of Christ's passion.

Revelation/Showing 6. Chapter 14 is about the bliss we will get in heaven through God's thanks to us. That section I did have a hard time following :-)

Mar 15, 2011, 1:19pm

I kind of have a hard time following exactly what her thoughts on God are. In particular, I am wondering about her thoughts on suffering and bliss. Here is my quote from the end of #14:

And the more the loving soul sees this generosity in God, the gladder he is to serve him all the days of his life.


Mar 15, 2011, 1:25pm

Just found this group read thread.... I love Julian's writings, have dipped in and read certain passages (in middle english and in translation) but never read all through. I am very bad at keeping to group reads so I won't commit to trying to do this, especially as I'm a week behind already, but I will look forward to following your comments, and may even be prompted to dust off my copy and read some more myself.

Mar 16, 2011, 4:18am

Revelation/Showing 7 Chapter 15 Julian alternates between joy and pain as a sign that God is with her whatever her circumstances.

Revelation/Showing 8 Chapter 16 A vision of physical decay starting in Jesus's dead body.

Mar 16, 2011, 2:45pm

Genny, we are reading through this very slowly, so you can catch up if you want. Or just hang around and read the parts you want to read. :)

I got confused and reread some of yesterday's readings. Luckily, I could tell that I had read it before and came here to check out what you read, Robert. I was glad to see that I recognized what I read yesterday! :)

My quote today is from #15:

But our Lord gives generously when he so wishes and sometimes allows us sorrow; and both come from the same love.

I thought that this was worth pondering. I look for the good that can come out of suffering, but sometimes it is hard to see.

#16 seems to be just the beginning of the next showing, so I wonder where it will go from there?

Mar 16, 2011, 5:07pm

#35 Thanks - I'll see what happens, certainly will hang around!

Editado: Mar 17, 2011, 2:27am

Revelation/Showing 8 ctd. Chapters 17 and 18.

More about the decomposition of Jesus's body, and the effect on the body of the crown of thorns. How Jesus's pains affect the believer.

A picture by Hans Holbein to go with this Showing. (Click on the image to enlarge it)

Mar 17, 2011, 4:24pm

I thought it was a pretty heart wrenching description of the suffering of Christ.

Mar 18, 2011, 10:52am

Revelation/showing 8 ctd. Chapters 19 and 20.

Jesus is Julian's heaven, despite the spilt between the outward, this worldly, part of her and the inner, heavenly part of her.

The Godhead's suffering through Jesus.

Mar 18, 2011, 12:06pm

Here is my quote from this section:

Regret and conscious choice are opposites, which I then felt both at the same time.

I do not really understand this statement. I agree that they are not the same thing, but I am not sure that they are opposites.

Mar 18, 2011, 8:03pm

Mine says for this "Repentyng and wylfulle choyse be two contrarytes, whych I felt both at that tyme."

Looking at the whole paragraph, I think it means that they are contrasted rather than opposites. The repentyng/regret was the reaction of her outward, physical, self because these visions were physically painful to her. The wylfulle/conscious choice OTOH was a quality of her inner self, in that she consciously by an act of will chose to have the visions and direct her attention to Jesus as her heaven.

Mar 19, 2011, 6:53am

Revelation/Showing 8, chapter 21

We are suffering along with Jesus on the cross because it is the only way we can get to heaven with him.

Revelation/Showing 9, chapter 22

If Christ could suffer more, he would, out of his great love for us.

Mar 19, 2011, 10:56am

Thanks, Robert. That makes a lot more sense to me now. I am glad that you are able to read the original words that she wrote.

We are moving along on these Showings, aren't we? I especially like your comments on these two chapters. Here is my quote for the day:

And here I saw complete joy in Christ; for if God could have ordered it any better, his joy could not have been complete.

Actually, like you mentioned earlier, it was the entire last paragraph of Chapter 22 that I like. I just put in the summary sentence for brevity.

Mar 20, 2011, 9:36am

Here is my quote from Chapter 23:

The Father is pleased, the Son is glorified, the Holy Ghost rejoices.

I only read the one chapter this morning.

Mar 21, 2011, 5:20am

Missed yesterday's (Sunday's) chapter. A new relationship does tend to cut it into reading time ;-)

Chapter 23 concludes and ties together the previous chapters.

Revelation/Showing 10, Chapter 24 turns the focus onto the wound in Jesus's side from Longinus's spear.

For once I'll give a quote:

And with this oure good Lorde seyde well blessydfuly, "Lo how I love the," as yf he had seyde, "My darlyng, behold and see thy Lorde, thy God, that is they maker and thy endlesse joy. See thyn owne Brother, they Savyoure. My chylde, beholde and see what lykyng and blysse I have in thy salvacion, and for my love enjoye with me".

Mar 21, 2011, 8:43am

Sounds like a good reason to me! :)

I haven't done the reading yet, but I wanted to mention that I really like the quote you picked. I am going to have my coffee so I can read Chapter 24. Back in a little while.

Mar 21, 2011, 9:25am

Now that I have had my coffee and read the chapter, I would say that you picked out the very best quote from it. Here is the second best one:

'For my pleasure is your holiness and your endless joy and bliss with me.'

This showing was quite short! I will be out of town tomorrow, but I still think that I will return in time to do the next two chapters. It will just be later in the evening.

Mar 22, 2011, 1:37am

Revelation/Showing 11 Chapter 25 Christ offers a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Revelation/Showing 12 Chapter 26 This must be the shortest Revelation. Christ in Glory, but more so.

Often tymes oure Lorde Jhesu seyde: I it am, I it am. I it am that is hiyghest. I it am that thou lovest. I it am that thou lykyst. I it am that thou servyst. I it am that thou longest. I it am that thou desyryst. I it am that thou menyste. I it am that is alle.

Mar 22, 2011, 8:25am

Love that quote!

Mar 22, 2011, 8:22pm

Nice quote!

I will take my quote from the chapter on Mary:

And he wants it to be known that all those who rejoice in him should rejoice in her and in the joy that he has in her and she in him.

I like seeing the middle English. See you tomorrow!

Mar 23, 2011, 6:31pm

Now at last we are to showing 13, which seems longer and more involved. I hope that I will be able to understand it all by the time we finish with it. My quote is from #28:

And then I saw that whenever a man feels kind compassion with love for his fellow Christian, it is Christ within him.

Mar 24, 2011, 1:30am

Didn't have time to post yesterday as I had to go to the dentist.

Revelation/Showing Chapters 27/28.

Sin does not exist. It is an absence of the good rather than something that exists in its own right.

This is the source for the famous quote:

(Synne is behovely, but) alle shalle be wele, and all shalle be wele, and all manner of thynge shalle be welle.

Mar 24, 2011, 2:02am

I hope the trip to the dentist went well.

Mar 24, 2011, 2:32am

Revelation/Showing 13 Chapters 29/30

The Fall was the worst thing that ever happened. Christ has undone the Fall and so has also undone all lesser evils.

God has openly declared that Jesus is our Saviour and salvation. Anything beyond that is God's secret and we shouldn't worry about it.

Mar 24, 2011, 11:11am

#29 & 30:

Here is my quote:

'Since I have turned the greatest possible harm into good, it is my will that you should know from this that I shall turn all lesser evil into good.'

This Showing 13 is pretty interesting. I am not really sure what I think of it yet.

Mar 25, 2011, 10:24am

Revelation/Showing 13 ctd. Chapters 31 and 32

Chapter 31 ties this showing in with some of the previous ones, while Chapter 32 begins Julian's attempt to reconcile Christ's statement that all will be well and belief in hell.

Mar 25, 2011, 11:36am

# 31 & 32:
This section is interesting to me with the discussion of a great deed to be performed at the end of time that will make all things well. To me, of course, the great deed has already been performed with the crucifixion and resurrection. Yet she says that we cannot know or understand it until that time comes, which I can believe that we could not know in advance. I did a year long Bible study about how the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus, the New Covenant. We studied a lot about the interrelationship of the Old and New Testament. Is this a newer covenant? I am not sure. But it is very thought-provoking. I did hear a homily once about how all people would be saved, but that is unusual in the Catholic Church (which is the Church that I attend). Most priests say that we cannot know for sure but that God's mercy is wider than we can imagine. This year I have been studying Matthew and Jesus talks a great deal about sin and forgiveness. Anyway, there is lots of food for thought in this Showing. Here is my quote:

Thus he has pity and compassion for us, and he has longing to have us, but his wisdom and love do not permit the end to come till the best time.

And another quote:

And how the deed shall be done there is no creature under Christ that knows or shall know until it is done, so far as I understood our Lord's meaning at this time.

This has been quite an interesting read!

Mar 25, 2011, 7:23pm

I don't know where it's from but I heard the Orthodox believe: "We know where God's mercy is, we do not know where it is not".

Mar 25, 2011, 11:26pm

I like that.

Mar 27, 2011, 12:52am

I almost forgot the Saturday reading, #33 & 34:

I don't have a quote for these. She seems worried about her Showings not being in line with the Church, so she spends a lot of time discussing how she is following the Church. She still seems to contradict herself in places, but this is a long Showing and might clear up later.

Mar 28, 2011, 8:28am

I'm a bit behind, so Revelation/Showing chapters 33-35:

Chapter 33:
Julian emphasises that her showings do not contradict what the church teaches. The focus of the showings is on God's love through Christ's passion, so she doesn't see hell or see clearly those who cause Christ's suffering.

Chapter 34:
The secrets Julian refers to are not only secret because God wills it so but because of our blindness.

Chapter 35:
The showings deal with general principles not particular people. God's delight in his creation. At the end we will understand why God allows sin.

Mar 28, 2011, 12:18pm

I forgot to comment on #35. I was really tired yesterday. I thought it interesting that God was not interested in her particular friend that she was praying for but only in generalities. I guess that I thought that was only with respect to the Showings, so that they would be relevant to more people. Maybe all will be clearer for me as we finish up this Showing 13. It it so long after all the other super-short ones.

Mar 28, 2011, 10:03pm

I definitely took it as meaning that Julian's showings were restricted to generalities. It would be contradictory for the Showings to stress God's love and then say he wasn't interested in particular people.

Mar 29, 2011, 11:45am

Revelation/showing 13 ctd. Chapters 36 and 37

I'm not at all sure I understood 36, but apparently God is going to do something towards our salvation, which is different from Christ's passion and from the secret deed that will not be known till we get to heaven.

Chapter 37:
Sin is inevitable, but only our lower earthly self sins, not our higher spiritual self, which cannot sin. God loves us just as much here as he will do in heaven where we will not sin.

Mar 30, 2011, 1:50am

#36 & 37:

I still do not really understand what she means about sin and the ones who are chosen to be saved. Anyway, here is my quote:

Failure of love on our part is the only cause of all of our suffering.

I thought that was a pretty good statement. To me this showing is interesting in the talk of an additional redemptive act so that "all will be well." But I can't seem to get a handle on her understanding of sin. However, I am kind of getting ready to move on to the next showing, so I am glad that this one is almost over.

Mar 30, 2011, 6:19pm

Here are my thoughts on #38 & 39:

I still do not clearly understand what Julian is trying to communicate about sin and who is saved. Only one more chapter to go with this showing. Here is a quote:

By contrition we are made pure, by compassion we are made ready and by true longing for God we are made worthy.

This sounds fairly traditional to me. Here is one more quote:

Peace and love always live in us, being and working, but we do not always live in peace and love; so God wants us to pay attention to this: he is the foundation of our whole life in love, and moreover he watches over us for ever and is a powerful defence against our enemies, who attack us fiercely and furiously; and our need is the greater because we give them the opportunity when we fall.

Sometimes she seems to say that the suffering of sin is just our sorrow for having sinned. And sometimes she seems to say that all will not be saved, but at other times I think she is saying that all will be saved. I think you understand all of this better than I do, Robert. And you are reading in Middle English, and I have a translation. :)

Mar 31, 2011, 7:48am

As I'm getting a bit behind I read 3 chapters today, chapters 38 - 40, to finish off Revelation/Showing 13.

Sin is the only evil. Even bad things that happen to us are not evil if they are not because of sin. Even sin, when transformed by contrition and penance becomes a wound which God will honour in heaven. But one shouldn't use that as an argument to sin more so that God will have more to forgive.

God's words to the forgiven sinner: "My dere darlyng, I am glad thou arte come to me in alle thy woe. I have evyr ben with the, and now seest thou me lovyng, and we be onyd in blisse".

I'm not sure that Julian is clear in her own mind whether everyone will be saved or only Christians in good standing with the church. But I think I might have to read this whole showing through again to be really sure what her view is on this point.

Mar 31, 2011, 11:37am

I read #40 to catch up with you, and this chapter seems more traditional to me in thought. There was one kind of thought-provoking quote:

And I was shown no harder hell than sin, because for a well-natured soul there is no hell but sin.

This has been a pretty interesting set of chapters. I noticed that the next showing is three chapters, so I might read that one all at once to keep it together. I am glad that it is shorter than the last one. :)

Mar 31, 2011, 7:53pm

In my copy, Revelation/Showing 14 is even longer than 13. It's chapters 41 - 63.

Abr 1, 2011, 10:36am

Revelation 14 Chapters 41-43 The theme of this showing seems to be prayer

Chapter 41
We beseech God, i.e., we pray to seek unity with him, because he implanted the desire to do so in us. So how can he refuse us?

Chapter 42
Neither prayer nor God's action are sufficient in themselves. If we pray but do not see God's action, we suffer from doubt. If God acts but we do not pray, we do not honour him as we should.

Chapter 43
God takes pleasure in our prayers because they show a desire to be united with him.

Abr 1, 2011, 10:37am

In my book, Showing 14 is #41-43, but then Showing 15 is #64-65. So there is an interlude? I thought it odd myself. Showing 16 is listed as 67-68. This is the first time that there are chapters not listed as parts of Showings except for the first three introductory chapters. I don't know what is right. Your book is probably right, because it seems to be closer to the original.

#41-43 is about prayer and praying for God's will. Here is my quote:

Prayer is a new, gracious, lasting will of the soul united and fast-bound to the will of God by the precious and mysterious working of the Holy Ghost.

I felt back on firmer ground here.

I guess I will see if the next few chapters are a continuation of the previous ones or what they are about.

Abr 2, 2011, 3:22am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 44-46

Chapter 44
The soul has the same properties as God: truth, wisdom, and love. But in God these properties are not created, while they are created in the soul by God. It is because the soul shares these properties with God that it seeks God.

Chapters 45-6
Julian is aware that it is difficult to reconcile her revelation that God is love, not wrath, with the teachings of the Church, and she is going to discuss this later in a parable of a lord and a servant.

Abr 2, 2011, 5:35pm

#44, 45, & 46

Here is my quote from #46:

God is the goodness that cannot be angry, for he is nothing but goodness; our soul is united to him, unchangeable goodness, and in God's eye there can be neither anger nor forgiveness between him and our soul; for through his own goodness our soul is completely united with God, so that nothing can come between God and soul.

I agree that God is goodness. I don't necessarily agree that that means that there can be no forgiveness. I guess I have more to ponder.

I don't know if I mentioned this, Robert, but I was reading both the short and long texts back and forth with the appendix in the back listing the Showings and which chapters, more or less, correspond. I finally got so near to the end of the short text that I went ahead and finished it, so now I can stop having quite so many bookmarks in my book. But I am staying on track with you for the long text. I am wondering what I will think of all of this at the end? See you tomorrow or the next day.

Abr 3, 2011, 9:37am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapter 47

The causes of sin. The continuous workings of the soul.

Abr 3, 2011, 11:19pm

I just barely got this read today. Sundays are busy, busy. :) Here is my quote:

There are two points which are the duty of our soul: one is that we should wonder reverently, the other that we should suffer meekly, always rejoicing in God; for he wants us to know that in a short time we shall see clearly in him all that we desire.


Abr 4, 2011, 2:18am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 48-50.

Chapter 48:
It is Man that feels wrath, not God, because anger is contrary to peace and love.

Chapter 49:
God's love is proved by the fact that we do not perish when we sin. When through God's working on our hearts we find peace and love we will be united with God.

Chapter 50:
Julian is troubled how to reconcile this with the teachings of the church.

Abr 4, 2011, 4:22pm

#48, 49, & 50

Here is my quote:

Mercy is a pitiful property which belongs to motherhood in tender love, and grace is an honourable property which belongs to royal lordship in the same love; mercy works -- protecting, tolerating, reviving and healing, and all through the tenderness of love; and grace works -- raising, rewarding and going infinitely beyond what our love and our effort deserve, spreading far and wide, and showing the great and abundant generosity of God's royal lordship through his marvellous courtesy.

Well, that was a long one to type! I was interested in the compare/contrast of mercy and grace. I have never seen this articulated before.

Thanks for keeping us on track, Robert!

Editado: Abr 5, 2011, 7:45pm

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 51 and 52.

Chapter 51
Julian introduces the showing/parable of the lord and the servant. She explains that the lord is God the Father, while the servant is a mixture of Adam (i.e., Man) and Christ. The Fall was ultimately a good thing, as it produced the Incarnation so that Man is better off than if he had stayed in Eden all along.

Chapter 52
Julian continues her exposition of the showing/parable of the lord and the servant. Like the servant, we are a mixture, we have a higher part, which God loves, and a lower, which God pities.

Two quotations from the beginning of Chapter 52:
And thus I saw that God enjoyeth that he is our Fader, and God enjoyeth that he is our Moder, and God enjoyeth that he is our very Spouse and our soule his lovyd wyfe. And Crist enoyeth that he is our Broder, and Jhesu enjoyeth that he is our Savyour.

Alle that shall be savyd, for the tyme of this lyfe we have in us a mervelous medelur both of wele and of woo. We have in us oure Lorde Jhesu Cryst up resyn, and we have in us the wrechydnesse and the myschef of Adam's fallyng. Dyeing by Cryst, we be lastynly kept, and by hys gracyous touchyng we be reysed in to very trust of salvacyon. And by Adam's fallyng we be so broken in oure felying on dyverse manner by synne and by sondry paynes, in whych we be made derke and so blynde that unnethys we can take any comforte.

(medelur = medly, mixture, unnethys = scarcely, hardly)

Abr 5, 2011, 11:46pm

#51 & 52:

Boy, today's reading was really long compared to all the other readings. I found the parable quite interesting. It was long and complex. I think that my favorite part to quote was what you quoted above.

Abr 6, 2011, 2:16am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 53-54

Chapter 53
God has always loved and will always love Man without any beginning or end. The physical body is made from the dust of the ground, but the soul was made out of nothing and shares God's nature.

Chapter 54
The higher part of the soul is inseparable from God. God dwells in us and we dwell in God, although we are created things and he is not.

Abr 6, 2011, 12:32pm

# 53 & 54:

I read this early this morning, but I did not have time to post. I am impressed with how much she thinks about these showings in order to explain them to us. There is such an enormous difference between the short and long text. Here is my quote for this part:

Therefore he wants us to know that the noblest thing he ever made is humankind, and its supreme essence and the highest virtue is the blessed soul of Christ. And furthermore he wants us to know that his precious soul was beautifully bound to him in the making with a knot which is so subtle and so strong that it is joined into God; and in this joining it is made eternally holy. Furthermore, he wants us to know that all the souls which will be eternally saved in heaven are bound and united in this union and made holy in this holiness.

Kind of a long one today, I guess. :)

I am wondering what are her thoughts on free will. I understand her thoughts on God and love, but does she think that man can turn away from God?

Abr 6, 2011, 12:33pm

OK, thinking about this some, she thinks that the human part of man can turn away from God, but the soul cannot. Is that right?

Abr 6, 2011, 7:08pm

That's the impression I get as well.

Abr 7, 2011, 6:18pm

#55 & 56:

I have one quote from each today.

And in spite of all our feelings, weal and woe, God wants us to understand and believe that we area more truly in heaven than on earth.

God is nearer to us than our own soul, for he is the ground on which our soul stands and he is the means by which essential being and sensory being are kept together, so that they shall never be separated; for our soul sits in God in complete rest and our soul stands in God in complete strength and our soul is naturally rooted in God in eternal love.

My work load is going to increase quite a bit starting tomorrow, but I think that this read will be ok since it is just a few pages a day. Hope you have a nice weekend.

Abr 7, 2011, 7:49pm

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 55 and 56. I found these hard to follow.

Chapter 55
Our soul has three parts, reflecting the Trinity. The parts are the higher part which is like God and is in heaven, the lower part which is in this world and is the part the Holy Ghost works on, and the join between the two which is where Christ dwells in us. Also just as our soul has two parts, a higher, heavenly part and a lower, sensory part, Christ has a heavenly and earthly part.

Chapter 56
It is easier to know God than our own soul, but we cannot know God without knowing our soul first. Common nature with God, grace, and mercy work together, as do reason, memory, and love. In each case we need all three, not just one of them.

Abr 8, 2011, 12:20am

I think that she has a lot of interesting ideas in general, but I often have a hard time reconciling her various arguments.

Abr 8, 2011, 1:28am

So did she. Chapter 51: For twenty yere after the tyme of the shewyng save thre monthys I had techyng inwardly as I shall sey

Abr 8, 2011, 11:45am

Twenty years is a long time to think about these showings. She strikes me as conscientious and thoughtful. I could tell by the long chapter on her parable how much time she had spent thinking about things.

Abr 9, 2011, 1:29am

#57 & 58:

Here is my quote:

For our whole life falls into three parts. In the first we exist, in the second we grow and in the third we are completed. This first is nature, the second is mercy, the third is grace. As for the first, I saw and understood that the great power of the Trinity is our father, and the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our mother, and the great love of the Trinity is our lord; and we have all this by nature and in our essential being.

I had a little trouble deciding on a quote for these two. But this is the one that interested me the most.

Abr 9, 2011, 6:28am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 57 and 58

Chapter 57
More about how the structure of the soul reflects the Trinity. Faith comes about by mercy and grace, which also produce obedience to God's commands and teachings.

Chapter 58
The structure of the Trinity. God is our Father, Christ is our Mother, and the Holy Ghost is our Lord.

I found Chapter 58 very interesting. Nowadays, it seems to be the Holy Spirit/Ghost that is viewed as feminine. Having Christ as the feminine one was quite a surprise.

Abr 9, 2011, 2:36pm

That is what I was thinking, too.

Abr 10, 2011, 3:33am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 59 and 60

Chapter 59
More about the Trinity, with the emphasis on Christ as the Mother.

Chapter 60
Christ as our Mother as expressed in the Incarnation and the sacraments.

Abr 11, 2011, 2:09am

Revelation/Showing 14 ctd. Chapters 61-63

Chapter 61
Although it may not seem so to us, it is a good thing when we stumble and fall because it teaches us to rely on God and honour him more.

Chapter 62
God loves us just as much in our worst, most sinful moments, as he does when we are at our best.

Chapter 63
We should hate sin as being against our proper nature, but Christ our Mother will restore and heal us and bring us into the presence of the Father.

Abr 11, 2011, 7:47pm

I am sorry that I have gotten so far behind. I will try to catch up tonight. My Sundays have gotten long and challenging. I over-volunteered at Church this year.

Abr 11, 2011, 11:11pm

59, 60, 61, 62 & 63:

I finally got all caught up. My quote is from the last section:

And in taking on our human nature he gave us life, in his blessed death on the cross he gave us birth into life everlasting; and from that time, and now, and for ever until Judgment Day, he feeds and fosters us, just as the great and supreme kind nature of motherhood and the natural need of childhood demand.

I don't know if the talk here of Judgment Day meshes with the fact that the soul has no sin. Well, on to the next Showing!

Abr 12, 2011, 8:14pm

#64 & 65:

The 15th Showing! Here is my quote:

It is more blessed for man to be taken from suffering than for suffering to be taken from man; for if pain is taken from us it may return.

I could not tell for sure if 66 was part of the 15th Showing or part of the 16th Showing. My book has conflicting statements regarding that. What does your book show? I think yours might be more accurate than mine.

Editado: Abr 13, 2011, 1:44am

Revelation/Showing 15 Chapters 64 and 65

Chapter 64
Contrast between the pains and suffering of this life and the bliss of the next.

Chapter 65
If we love God, we are so secure in his love that we are inseparably united with him and with each other that everything God does for anyone is done for everyone.

In my book Showing 15 just contains these two chapters. Chapter 66 is the first chapter of Showing 16.


Revelation/Showing 16 Chapters 66 and 67

Chapter 66
Although during the 15 Showings so far, Julian had not felt her bodily illness, the pain re-asserted itself after the 15th Showing was completed. She started to tell somebody about the showings but stopped herself when he seemed to be taking her too seriously and she forgot about the showings. This was a sin.

Chapter 67
Julian has a dream about the devil, and then the next day sees smoke and smells a foul smell, which are only perceptible to her. She takes refuge in thinking about her showings some more.

Abr 13, 2011, 5:04pm

The final showing! #66 & 67:

I wasn't sure what to quote here, but I decided on this one finally:

And then our Lord opened my spiritual eyes and showed me my soul in the middle of my heart. I saw the soul as large as if it were an endless world and as if it were a holy kingdom; and from the properties I saw in it I understood that it is a glorious city. In the centre of that city sits our Lord Jesus, God and man, a handsome person and of great stature, the highest bishop, the most imposing king, the most glorious Lord; and I saw him dressed imposingly and gloriously. He sits in the soul, in the very centre, in peace and rest.

Only about 20 chapters left to go. I think we will make it!

Abr 14, 2011, 1:40am

Your quote is in chapter 68 in my text.

Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 68 and 69

Chapter 68
The showing of Christ sitting in the soul as if it were a city and he was its king.

Chapter 69
Julian is afflicted with another showing of the devil.

Quote from Chapter 68:

He seyde nott thou shalt not be trobelyd, thou shalt not be travayled, thou shalte not be dyssesyd; but he seyde, "Thou shalt not be ovyrcom". God wylle that we take hede at this worde and that we be evyr myghty in feytfull trust, in wele and wo, for he lovyth us and lykyth us. And so wylle he that we love hym and lyke hym and myghtely trust in hym, and all shall be welle.

Abr 14, 2011, 3:15pm

#68 & 69:

Here is my quote, from #68:

He did not say, 'You shall not be tormented, you shall not be troubled, you shall not be grieved', but he said, 'You shall not be overcome.'

I took the previous quote from the very beginning of #67. How many total chapters does your book have? Mine has 86. I wonder if the chapters vary otherwise?

Abr 15, 2011, 12:07am

Yes, 86 chapters.

In mine your quote was the opening of chapter 68. Did you have the dream about the devil in Chapter 67? Your quote from Chapter 68 was the same as the first part of mine. ;-)

Editado: Abr 15, 2011, 9:08am

That part was in chapter 66, I think, in my book. I should have noticed that earlier. Maybe my chapters are out of order.

Abr 15, 2011, 10:24am

#70 & 71:

The quote is from #70:

And therefore, in whatever way he teaches us, he wants us to perceive him wisely, receive him lovingly and hold ourselves to him faithfully, for it seems to me that in this life one can hold to no goodness above faith, and there is not help for the soul below faith, but it is to the faith that the Lord wants us to hold. For by his goodness and by his own work we are able to hold to the faith, and by his permission spiritual enemies test us in the faith and make us strong, for if our faith had no enemy it would deserve no reward, so far as I understand our Lord's purpose.

This was from the end of the chapter.

Abr 16, 2011, 9:36am

Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 70 and 71

Chapter 70
The importance of faith. To prove that Julian is not mad, God shows her the whole series of Showings 1-15 again.

Chapter 71
More on the importance of faith. God's three expressions: through the passion, through pity for our sinfulness, and through eternal joy with him in heaven.

Abr 16, 2011, 11:07am

#72 & 73:

Here is my quote from the end of 72:

We need to have three kinds of knowledge: the first is to know our Lord God; the second is to know ourselves, what we are through him in nature and grace; the third is to know humbly what we ourselves are where our sin and weakness are concerned. And, as I understand it, the entire showing was made for these three.

Three is quite important in these showings. I guess because of the Trinity. But we see that number all the time.

Abr 17, 2011, 10:34am

Revelation/Showing 16ctd. Chapters 72 and 73

Chapter 72:
God is faithful to us and is always with us and is never separated from us, but our sins render us unable to see him.

Chapter 73:
The two worst sins are lack of patience and despair. We should take Christ as our example of how to bear pain patiently. Despair arises through a consciousness of our sinful state and an unwillingness to believe we have been forgiven.

Forgot to write up yesterday's. Here is today's.

Revelation/showing 16 ctd. Chapter 74
There are four types of dread: dread of attack, good because it teaches us to take precautions; dread of pain, good because it keeps from sin out of fear of death and the next life; doubtful dread, which God can use to teach us about his love; and reverent dread, which is owed to God as our Lord and Father.

Abr 17, 2011, 3:03pm

Here is my quote from #74:

For the same natural profit which we gain from fear in this life through the gracious working of the Holy Ghost, shall in heaven be gracious, courteous and delightful in God's sight. And so in love we should be familiar and near to God, and in fear we should be gracious and courteous to God, and both equally.

Looks like we are right on schedule for finishing at the end of Holy Week!

Abr 17, 2011, 7:34pm

Yes, that's what I thought. And then I've got various scholarly essays on different topics in the back of the book to read as well.

Abr 18, 2011, 7:08am

Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 75 and 76

Chapteer 75:
We need three thing's: God's love and pity for us, and his longing for us to join him in heaven. Our bliss when we see God produces awe.

Chapter 76:
If we truly accept the Holy Ghost's/Spirit's teaching, ourhorror and loathing for sin will be greater than our fear of the pains of Hell. Jesus is with us whatever the state of our soul. We should not let the devil persuade us that we are beyond Jesus's love or make us dread appearing before God.

Abr 18, 2011, 10:30am

#75 & 76:

Here is my quote from #76:

This blessed friend is Jesus, and it is his will and his advice that we should bind ourselves to him and direct ourselves towards him, familiarly, for evermore, in whatever state we may be, for whether we are sinful or pure his love for us is the same.

I don't have any essays in the back of my book. I did have an intro, but I can't recall all that much of it now. My memory is like that. If you find any insight into her thinking, would you let me know? Have a great day!

Abr 19, 2011, 5:01pm

#77 & 78:

Here is my quote from 78:

From this I was taught that though we may be lifted up high in contemplation through the special gift of our Lord, yet at the same time we must have knowledge and sight of our sin and our feebleness; for without this knowledge we cannot have true humility, and without this we cannot be saved.

My postings during the next few days may not exactly match our schedule, because my Holy Week commitments are kind of busier than usual this year.

Abr 20, 2011, 2:04am

Revelation 16 ctd. Chapters 77 and 78

Chapter 77
Some bad things happen in life as a punishment, others just happen. However good or bad we are we cannot avoid woe. But we can get comfort from God.

Chapter 78
God gives us awareness of our sin to lead us to repentance but keeps from us the full horror of it because we would otherwise fall into despair.


Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 79 and 80

Chapter 79
We have to avoid the opposite perils of presuming too much on God's love so that we do not try to avoid sin and of being overwhelmed by dread of what is due to us because of our sins so that we forget his love.

Chapter 80
We have three helps: our natural reason, the teaching of the Church, and the ministering of the Holy Ghost/Spirit. Christ alone did the work necessary for our salvation. He loves us, cares for us, and is waiting to receive us in heaven.

I suspect my posting might get a bit erratic as well ;-)

Abr 20, 2011, 3:59pm

#79 & 80:

I decided to take my quote this time from the very end of #80:

He is here for all of us alone: that is to say, he is only here for us. And whenever I am cold towards him through sin, despair or sloth, then I let my Lord stand alone, to the extent of my sin; and so do all of us who are sinners. But although it is true that we often do this, his goodness never allows us to be alone; but he is always with us, and he tenderly excuses us, and he always shields us from blame in his eyes.

It looks like the few remaining chapters are really short.

Abr 21, 2011, 1:36am

Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 81 and 82

Chapter 81
God has appeared on Earth in many guises, but has only taken up his dwelling in the human soul.

Chapter 82
We cannot avoid sin completely but God pities us and has mercy. In his sight we never fall into sin and in our own sight we cannot stand upright. Both are true but God's viewpoint trumps ours.

Abr 21, 2011, 2:19am

Tonight I attended a Creed Service for RCIA. The person who I am sponsoring to enter the Church was looking through a book of Saints to pick a Confirmation name. And whose name did I see as she flipped through the pages? Our own Julian of Norwich! I wanted to read about her in the book, but there wasn't enough time before the service. It was a beautiful service.

Abr 21, 2011, 4:28pm

# 81 & 82:

I took my quote from 82:

If there be any lover of God on earth who is continuously kept from falling, I do not know of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and in rising we are always tenderly protected in one love; for as God beholds us we do not fall, and as we behold ourselves we do not stand, and both these seem to me to be true, but our Lord God's view is the highest truth: so we are much indebted to God for showing us this great truth while we are still in this earthly life.

This is pretty much what you said, too.

Abr 21, 2011, 7:16pm

Jakarta was snarled in a massive traffic jam last night, so I missed most of the Maundy Thursday service. I should have gone with my instincts and walked!

What is a Creed Service?

Abr 22, 2011, 12:32am

Our RCIA director had all the candidates write their own creed of what they believe. Each person read his or her own creed aloud and lit a candle. The sponsors then gave them each a copy of the Nicene Creed which we all recited together. This was not an official ceremony, but it was very nice. I just got in not too long ago from our Holy Thursday services. Tomorrow Stations of the Cross and Good Friday services. Last Friday, our Stations of the Cross were led by an Anglican priest. Maybe I mentioned it last week; I can't remember anything these days. That was the first I had realized that non-Catholics did the Stations.

Anyway, one woman in her creed mentioned that she had a baby learning to walk. When she fell down, the mom picked her back up again. She would not even think of punishing her for falling. Similarly, when we fall into sin, God picks us back up again. (OK, she said that so much more eloquently than I can recall.) I thought that was a nice thought and it kind of reminded me of Julian.

Sorry about your traffic jam. Traffic makes me crazy and Tulsa is not a very big place, so our traffic jams are not too big really.

I might finish the last four readings tomorrow (Friday) since they are not too long. I have a retreat at Church, followed by rehearsal, followed by the 3 hour Easter Vigil Service which ends at midnight. I am not sure I will be able to read any Saturday. I haven't been to the Easter Vigil Service since I went through RCIA 24 years ago. I can't wait! :)

Abr 22, 2011, 9:28am

We had a lovely Good Friday service and then I invited some friends back from church to my apartment where we watched a DVD of The Gospel of John.

Revelation/Showing 16 ctd. Chapters 83 and 84

Chapter 83:
The three properties of God which are the basis for the revelations: light, love, and life. Our faith is the light.

Chapter 84:
The light is charity, which keeps us in faith and hope. The three types of charity, charity unmade (God), charity made (our soul in God), and charity given (virtue).

Abr 22, 2011, 9:59am

#83 & 84:

This quote is from the end of 83:

Thus I saw and understood that our faith is our light in our night, light which is God, our everlasting day.

I thought this quote was a good one as the Easter Vigil service takes place after dark by candlelight. All the candles are lit from the one Paschal candle.

Abr 23, 2011, 1:24am

#85 & 86:

This quote is from 86:

'Do you want to know what your Lord meant? Know well that love was what he meant.'

And I do think that is the central message of the entire book. I really enjoyed reading this for Lent. I can't wait to hear what you think of the essays that you also have in your book.

Abr 23, 2011, 8:34am

Revelation/Showing 16ctd Chatpers 85 and 86

A quotation from Chapter 85:

And therfore whan the dome is gevyn and we be alle brought uppe above, than shalle we clerely see in God the prevytees whcyh now be hyd to us. And then shalle none of us be steryd to sey in ony thyng, "Lorde, yf it had ben thus, it had ben wele." But we shalle alle sey with one voyce, "Lorde, blessyd mott thou be, for it is thus, it is wele. And now we see verely that all thyng is done as it was thyn ordynawnce or ony thyng was made."

Chapter 86:
Love was the reason for the showings, just as love was the reason God created us.

Abr 23, 2011, 5:22pm

Happy Easter, Robert!

Editado: Abr 24, 2011, 9:51pm

Happy Easter. He is risen indeed.

We did it. We got through the whole book. (mutual pats on the back emoticon)

Abr 25, 2011, 12:53am

Yea! :) (Of course, I did not read it in the original Middle English like you did!)

Editado: Abr 28, 2011, 8:55pm

Read some extracts from Julian's contemporaries, including a description of a vision of the Passion which Margery Kempe, who actually met Julian, had. It would seem Mel Gibson's gore-fest comes from a long tradition.

Abr 29, 2011, 11:28am

I had something about Margery Kempe in my book, too, but I can't recall what it was. It was quite short. You know, I got that movie on dvd, but I have not been able to watch it. I saw it in the theater and it was painful to watch.

Maio 1, 2011, 10:37am

The essays in the back of the book weren't terribly helpful or informative, but what I did get out of them was this:

That Julian's contemporaries would have been expecting an emotional wallow in the gory details of the Passion, but Julian doesn't give them that, but instead goes off into theological reflection. (And incidentally, that is why I don't like the film, because I think it does wallow emotionally in the gore, not because I'm squeamish about the gore in itself.)

That Julian's book was unusual in being a reflection on the meaning of the showings developed over time, rather than a handbook on how to achieve mystical experiences yourself.

That the idea of Jesus as mother was quite common at the time. There were precedents in the church fathers, but in the Middle Ages Christ as mother was somehow tied into a growing emphasis on Christ's humanity and an emotional identification with him. Also breast milk was thought to be some sort of processed blood, so mothers give their blood just as Christ does in the Eucharist.

Maio 1, 2011, 9:46pm

Wow, that was all so interesting. Thanks so much for sharing all of that. I had thought that God as mother was very recent.

My niece was Confirmed today. It was fun to see all the family, but I am glad to be home if only for two days.

Thanks again for sharing this group read with me.

Maio 9, 2011, 8:10pm

I missed it where I am, but it's still valid where you are, BJ, so Happy Feast of Julian.

Maio 9, 2011, 9:02pm

You are so on top of things! I had no idea! And thanks for letting me know. :)

Maio 9, 2011, 10:04pm

It's what comes of having a wide variety of FB and Twitter friends.

Maio 29, 2011, 9:06pm

Sorry I dropped out of following you on this thread - things got too busy at work as Easter approached. I always remember Julian's feast day as it is the same day as my sister's birthday.

The Jesus as mother idea was indeed quite common; there's also a prayer of St Anselm that picks up Jesus' own image of himself as a mother hen gathering her chicks, and develops it further.

Anyway, as we are still in Eastertide, may I wish you both a Happy Easter!

Editado: Maio 30, 2011, 12:36am

And Happy Easter to you, Genny! Thanks for sharing the info about Jesus as mother. This was new to me, for sure.

And Happy Birthday to your sister!