She further realized that, in addition to the gift of reason, we have been given the most precious gift of faith:
Our faith is a light, naturally coming from our endless day that is our father, God; in which light our mother, Christ, and our good lord, the holy ghost, lead us in this mortal life. . . . And at the end of woe, suddenly our eye shall be opened, and in clearness of sight our light shall be full, which light is God our maker, father and holy ghost in Christ Jesus our savior. Thus I saw and understood that our faith is our light in our night, which light is God, our endless day.
For Julian, the deep source of both our faith and our light is none other than divine love, which continuously pours itself out to us in the exact measure that we need, and that we can bear to receive, at any given moment. This pure, spiritual love that flows to us from God, which Julian calls “charity,” keeps us firm in our faith and in hope; and faith and hope lead to ever greater charity. This charity is never a selfish love, which would seek its own good. On the contrary, charity loves God, and loves itself in God, and loves all that God loves, solely for the sake of God. Echoing St. Paul, she concludes: “And at the end alle shalle be charity.”
Julian reflected that in spite of our simplicity and our blindness, our courteous Lord constantly beholds us and enjoys doing his will in us, though we know not how. She counsels us once more that the thing that pleases Christ Jesus most is for us to believe that he enjoys working out our salvation and to “rejoice with him and in him.” Julian attests that in the same way that we shall truly be in the bliss of God in heaven, thanking and praising God, likewise, in the foresight of God, have we always been “loved and known in his endless purpose from without beginning, in which eternal love he created us.” In other words, God sees us now as we shall be then.
Moreover, when the final judgment is given, we shall discover in God the hidden reason for everything that has happened in our lives, and how truly we have been loved. Finally, we will understand how God has saved us.
And then shall none of us be moved to say in any thing: “Lord, if it had been thus, it would have been well.” But we shall all say with one voice: “Lord, blessed may thou be, because it is thus, it is well. And now we see truly that every thing is done as it was thine ordinance to do, before any thing was made.”
At this holy season of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of divinity into humanity, may we each be filled with the spirit of life, love, and light, in these, their most sublime meanings. May we kneel in the straw with the shepherds by the Child’s manger, breathless with awe that God has so loved us as to become one of us. And may we rejoice and give thanks that, through this Child, we are privileged to become sons and daughters of God.
Please Note: Translations from the Middle English and excerpts above are from my book, An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich (IVP Academic Press) © Copyright by Veronica Mary Rolf.