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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Theological Notebook: Julian Holds the Universe In Her Hand 
9th-Dec-2005 03:49 am
I See You!
I'm having flashbacks to teaching at St. Joe because I'm currently grading papers on Julian of Norwich's Showings or Revelations of Divine Love. The students here, naturally, are being struck by many of the same passages in this most gorgeous of mystics.

Fifth Showing (translation)
At this same time that I saw this sight of the head bleeding, our good
     Lord showed to me a spiritual vision of His simple loving.

I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us.
     He is our clothing which for love enwraps us,
          holds us,
       and all encloses us because of His Tender love,
              so that He may never leave us.

And so in this showing I saw that He is to us everything that is good,
     as I understand it.

Also in this revelation He showed a little thing,
     the size of a hazelnut
     in the palm of my hand,
     and it was as round as a ball.

I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought:
     "What can this be?"

And it was generally answered thus: "It is all that is made."

I marveled how it could continue,
     Because it seemed to me it could suddenly have sunk into nothing-
          ness because of its littleness.
And I was answered in my understanding:
     "It continueth and always shall, because God loveth it;
     and in this way everything hath its being by the love of God."

In this little thing I saw three characteristics:
     the first is that God made it,
     the second is that God loves it,
     the third, that God keeps it.

But what did I observe in that?
     Truly the Maker, the Lover, and the Keeper for,
          until I am in essence one-ed to Him,
          I can never have full rest nor true joy
       (that is to say,
          until I am made so fast to Him
          that there is absolutely nothing that is created
          separating my God and myself.)

It is necessary for us to have awareness
     of the littleness of created things
          and to set at naught everything that is created,
          in order to love and have God who is uncreated.

For this is the reason why we are not fully at ease in heart and soul:
     because here we seek rest in these things that are so little,
          in which there is no rest,
     and we recognize not our God who is all powerful, all wise, all
          good, for He is the true rest.

God wishes to by known,
     and He delights that we remain in Him,
     because all that is less than He is not enough for us.

And this is the reason why no soul is at rest
     until it is emptied of everything that is created.
When the soul is willingly emptied for love
     in order to have Him who is all,
     then is it able to receive spiritual rest.

Also our Lord God showed
     that it is full great pleasure to Him
     that a pitiable soul come to Him nakedly and plainly and simply.
          For this is the natural yearning of the soul,
          Thanks to the touching of the Holy Spirit,
          according to the understanding that I have in this showing -
               "God, of Thy goodness, give me Thyself;
                  for Thou are enough to me,
                  and I can ask nothing that is less
                  that can be full honor to Thee.
     And if I ask anything that is less,
        ever shall I be in want,
                  for only in Thee have I all."

These words are full lovely to the soul
     and most nearly touch upon the will of God and His goodness,
          for His goodness fills all His creatures and all His blessed works,
          and surpasses them without end,
          for He is the endlessness.

And He has made us only for Himself
     and restored us by His blessed passion
     and ever keeps us in His blessed love.

And all this is from His goodness.
– Julian of Norwich, received 1373
   Translation by Fr. John-Julian, O.J.N
(Deleted comment)
11th-Dec-2005 09:19 am (UTC)
I quite agree. This is one of the passages that I used with my high school students, even. The Notre Dame faculty were amazed that I was teaching such a difficult mystical text (some called her the most difficult) but I found that if I kept telling them to re-read it--a concept they found baffling--they really opened up to the text, understood it in fabulous way, and wrote fine essays on it. Always trying to make them stretch....
11th-Dec-2005 05:35 am (UTC) - St. Joe
Yeah... you did make us read that, didn't you...

Hi Mr Novak!
It's Steven Guthrie, Class of 2000. I'm working on my undergrad degree in Math Education.
11th-Dec-2005 09:23 am (UTC) - Re: St. Joe
Hey Steven! Glad to see that you're online, and even more glad to see that you're pursuing education: I think you could be a grand teacher and find the classroom very satisfying yourself. Do drop the "Mister," if you're at all comforable with that, and welcome aboard. I look forward to hearing about your own adventures.
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