Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich (1395 AD)


Journal Éveillé is an informal exploration of awakened mind in the art of poetry....

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"All will be well and all will be well and every kind of thing shall be well.” (Julian of Norwich)

"Julian of Norwich is one of the subtlest writers and profoundest thinkers of the Middle Ages, and the earliest woman writer in English. Her Revelations describe a loving and merciful God and a positive vision of humanity....Julian's optimistic theology speaks of a loving and merciful God and of God as our mother, and her beliefs are of particular interest in relation to the position of women and the church. "

"The Revelations of Divine Love is a 14th-century book of mystical devotions written by Julian of Norwich. It includes her sixteen mystical visions and contemplations on universal love and hope in a time of plague, religious schism, uprisings and war. Published in 1395, it is the first published book in the English language to be written by a woman.......

During her early life, the Black Death hit the city of Norwich three times. It is estimated that the plague killed about a third of England's population in one single epidemic. People died so quickly and in such numbers that "the dead could not receive proper burial and in the worst of times, lay stacked in carts like so much cordwood, or in hastily dug pits on the edge of town, or simply where they fell, in the streets"......Seeing these images may have affected Julian, who was just six years old when the plague first hit Norwich. Although she does not speak of the plague directly, her book shows a deep sensitivity to suffering and dying."

"Julian spent much of her life as an anchoress, or religious recluse.... in the early 13th century, laywomen had themselves enclosed for life in a small chamber in a church....They were part of a spiritual movement which began with the desert fathers in the 4th century, whereby holy men and women, known as anchorites (or anchoresses), withdrew completely from the world, choosing a life of solitude consisting of a daily ritual of liturgy and prayers. In a macabre ceremony that included the Office of the Dead, ( The rite actually involved receiving the sacraments of the dying and reading of the Office of the Dead over her as she was bricked up in her cell.)....various prayers were said as someone was bricked up in a small room within a church, with only a small window to receive the sacrament and a slit affording a view of the altar.....The word “anchoress” — most were women — comes from a Greek word, anachoreo, meaning “to withdraw or retire.” The most famous anchoress may have been Julian of Norwich, who died in 1416......While the lifestyle was rigorous — involving a strict cycle of prayer throughout the day as well as work, often at handicrafts for financial support, as well as a Spartan diet — an anchoress was not lonely. In fact, as we look to centers of faith in our Year of Faith, an anchoress’ cell could became a center of faith for the town, with most people confiding in her...."

"Some of her teachings, however, stray towards the deep end of heresy. This is especially true of her position on the nature of the human soul, which can be said to be semi-gnostic in many respects.... The problem arises in her discussion on the nature of the human soul and, more specifically, the soul’s sinless nature.. . . 'I understood with absolute certainty that there is in every soul to be saved a godly will that never has assented to sin, and that never will. This will is so good that it never wills evil, but always wills good, and, in the sight of God, does good' ....within the soul, a portion of God’s will that is without sin. Indeed, this portion of will is not just a gift of God but, rather, is viewed as a deposit of God's very nature within the human soul. Julian “. . . could see no difference between God and our substance: it was all God, so to speak." This view is very gnostic. ".....Divine Love and Semi-Gnosticism: Heretical Tendencies In The Thought of Julian of Gregory S. Neal

"Julian’s emphasis on God’s love and desire for human salvation becomes more significant when one thinks of the period in which she wrote. The Black Death came not only in 1349; it came again and again for over a century. The Church on whose faith Julian relied was in schism, with two or more popes claiming authority, from 1378 to 1417. Monastic writers and parish priests were teaching that all this was a punishment from an angry God. It is as if Julian saw the need to offer an antidote to the pervasive fear of sin and death and damnation."....

"Sin, says Julian, turns out to be “no thing.” This has been a controversial passage in Julian’s work. But she is quite clear: “Nowhere in all that was revealed to me did I see a trace of sin,” she writes. “And so I stopped looking for it and moved on, placing myself in God’s hand, allowing him to show me what he wanted me to see.” In Julian’s exceedingly practical view, “sin has no substance, not a particle of being, and can only be detected by the pain it causes.” When we make mistakes and create suffering, we humble ourselves and God loves us all the more. For those of us non-Christian and post-modern types, try substituting the word sin for shame, or blame, or even karma. In other words, we screw up, but that only opens the tender heart of the cosmos where we can find refuge and come back into wholeness."....

"TS Eliot is that closing part of “Little Gidding,” the culmination of his “Four Quartets.” phrase in particular, “And all shall be well and/All manner of thing shall be well.” Eliot is, of course, not the author of that phrase. He lifted it from Dame Julian of Norwich. Julian, her person and theology and in particular that little line which Eliot echoed “And all shall be well and/All manner of thing shall be well”

Non-dualism in Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and Traherne: A Theopoetic Reflection By James Charlton......"Meister Eckhart, Mother Julian of Norwich and Thomas Traherne are interpreted as 'theopoets' of the body/soul who share a moderate non-dualism. Their work is brought within the ambit of non-dual Hinduism. Specifically, their passion for unitive spiritual experience is linked to construals of both 'the Self' and 'Awakening', as enunciated by Advaita Vedanta."

Julian and the Buddha.....Common Points along the : Joanne P. Miller


New Mexico

December 2016