Julian was an anchorite and mystic who lived in solitude in Norwich in the Middle Ages. Over the course of a few days of intense illness at the age of 30, she was gifted with what she called visions. She saw Christ and heard him speaking to her.
She wrote down the content of the visions and for years following, reflected on their meaning. Her book about these visions was the first to be written in English by a woman.
There is one quotation from Julian that many people have heard: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” These were not the words of a naïve optimist, but a woman full of hope because she knew the depth of the love and providence of God. However bad things were in the world or in someone’s personal life, she was confident that God’s love would prevail.
This is all the more remarkable as she witnessed to this deep trust in God during the time of the Great Plague when huge numbers were dying all around her. She is a woman whose message continues to encourage.
1342: Julian is born
1354: The Plague arrives in Norwich
1373: Julian of Norwich, now an anchoress attached to a church in Norwich, has a near-death experience and sees ‘visions’ from God
1373: She writes down her visions under the title ‘Showings’
1388 – 1398: Julian meditates on, revises, and expands upon her visionary work Showings. (This is later, and to this day, published as Revelations of Divine Love)
1413: She is visited by fellow Christian mystic Margery Kempe for counsel
1416: Julian dies
He said not ‘Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be dis-eased’; but he said, ‘Thou shalt not be overcome’.Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love
Luke 12:27-32 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Thought for the Day
For a minute, consider, perhaps even imagine, God looking at you with love
Nada te Turbe from Taizé. Word by Teresa of Avila, Music by J. Berthier.