And from the time that it [the Revelation] was shown, I desired oftentimes to know what was our lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: “What, wouldest thou know thy lord’s meaning in this thing [the whole Revelation]?Know it well, love was his meaning. Who shewed it to thee? Love. What shewed he to thee? Love. Wherefore shewed he it to thee? For love. Hold thee therein, thou shalt know more of the same. But thou shalt never know therein other without end.” Thus was I taught that love is our lord’s meaning.
In this one word, Julian learned what she most needed to know: love is the beginning and the end of all true Revelation. God is love and all that God does is because of love, to show his love, and to increase our ability to respond in love. If we hold and cherish Julian’s Revelations, pondering them in our hearts, we shall discover more and more of the ways in which Divine Love expresses itself to us. We shall discover that there is nothing else that is “real” but love, and that for all eternity. We shall begin to glimpse, as Julian did, that everything lasts, and ever shall, from a hazelnut to a universe, “because God loveth it. And so hath all things being by the love of God.” The very fact that anything exists at all is simply because Love loves.
And I saw full sekerly [securely] in this and in all [the Revelations], that before God made us he loved us, which love was never satiated, nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his works, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation, we had a beginning, but the love wherein he made us was in him from without beginning, in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God without end. Deo Gracias [Thanks be to God].
With these last words, Julian sums up all that the Lord has shown her, all that she has heard and understood, all that she has tried to set down in her gospel account. She has spared herself nothing to share with us the depths of her spiritual pilgrimage on this earth. She has revealed her showings and, in so doing, revealed herself. She has disclosed her own doubt and depression, impatience and sloth, and also affirmed her overarching confidence that the Lord lifts her up out of the ditch after every fall, as he does for each one who turns to him. She has shown us how we should walk: in faith, in seker trust, in hope, and most of all in joyful love, no matter what obstacles and pains we may suffer, even serious sins we may commit. For the soul in love, fear and despair have no place. Indeed, they are temptations away from the truth.
Julian’s Revelations are, finally, a gospel of love. They testify that we are created out of love, by love, and for love. Love is the ground and the meaning of our creation, our redemption, our ultimate enclosure in God’s glory. And just as we have been loved since “without beginning,” so Julian bears witness that the Revelations were shown to her for the sake of love, that all might be brought to everlasting fruition. Christ our Mother will never leave us, never stop waiting and working in us until he has brought us up to be with him. He sits within our substance and our sensuality as in his own home. He has become what we are in his incarnation. He cannot shed his humanity; it has become his glory. He is one of us . . . forever. And he has no greater thirst than to transform us into his own Mystical Body, intimately enclosed in Trinity
Indeed, Julian has borne witness that the Heart of Christ thirsts for every soul as if it were the only soul ever created. She assures us that, as we contemplate this marvelous wonder of God’s everlasting and intimate love, dwelling and working within our souls, we shall become transformed human beings. We shall experience our lives as a whole new creation, by the power of the Holy Spirit. When this salvific work is finally completed, within us and within every soul, then indeed: “Alle shalle be wele, and thou shalt see it thyself that alle manner of thing shalle be wele.” This is Christ’s promise. And Julian’s.
This holy Christmas, especially in this time of great suffering, devastating war, famine, and fear, may you be encouraged by Julian’s transcendent faith and unceasing hope, confident that you are truly made of love, saved by love, and destined for divine love.
And for those of you who are new to our Julian of Norwich FB page, may I recommend my twenty-five Life, Love, & Light podcasts on the Revelations of Julian of Norwich, which are freely available on most major directories including Apple, Google, Pandora, and Buzzsprout: https://lifelovelight.buzzsprout.com/
Just scroll down the page to April 2020, “Sheltering in Place,” at the beginning of the pandemic. This is my heartfelt Christmas gift to all of you. And may Julian bless you abundantly!
Please Note: Excerpts above and translations from the Middle English are from my award-winning book, Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich (Orbis Books)