Encouragement for a lifelong journey of faith

Category: Listening with Julian of Norwich (Page 1 of 2)

September 18, 2016 — Julian envisions a future for us of unity in love.

Today’s Bible reading

Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them ina foggy mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.  — 1 Corinthians 13:12

More thoughts for meditation

God wants us to know four things: First, he is the ground from whom we derive our life and our very existence. Second, he protects us with strength and mercy while we are in sin, in the midst of our savage foes. And we jeopardize ourselves because we give them the opportunity to attack us and we are unaware of our need. Third, he courteously safeguards us and alerts us when we go awry. Fourth, with forbearance God waits for us and does not grow angry or sullen, because above all God wants us to turn to him and become united to him through love as he already is linked to us. Through insight and grace we become aware of our sin, but such awareness does not harm us or make us abandon hope. For through this lowly knowledge we will be sifted out from whatever is not of God through remorse and grace. In the end Jesus will heal us totally and join us to him.  –Julian

Suggestions for action

Carry this thought with you today: I am unaware of my need and so God protects me.

Pray: O God, give me insight and grace to wait in hope for you to sift me out.

September 17, 2016 — Julian encourages us to take a very different view of our sin.

Today’s Bible reading

Those who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s judgment. Because of what Christ Jesus has done, you are free. You are now controlled by the law of the Holy Spirit who gives you life. The law of the Spirit frees you from the law of sin that brings death.  The written law was made weak by the power of sin. But God did what the written law could not do. He made his Son to be like those who live under the power of sin. God sent him to be an offering for sin. Jesus suffered God’s judgment against our sin. Jesus does for us everything the holy law requires. The power of sin should no longer control the way we live. The Holy Spirit should control the way we live.    — Romans 8:1-4

More thoughts for meditation

God showed me two kind of spiritual sickness. These are spiritual blindness and physical sloth.  To help us in this our Lord showed how patiently he endured his suffering, and how he took joy and delight in that passion because he loved us.  He offered this as an example so that we might endure our pains with joy and wisdom. They currently oppress us because we are ignorant of love. We worry about our past and are consumed with guilt for what we have done. But God wants us to see and delight in everything through love. Some people believe God is omnipotent and may do everything; others think he is all wise and can do everything; but we fail to believe that he is all wise and will do everything. Our ignorance of this is the greatest obstacle for God’s lovers, for even when we begin to hate sin we still bear a fear which works against us.  We become so dejected and depressed that we are beyond comfort. We mistake this dread for humility, but this is horribly blind and weak. For God wills that of all the qualities of the blessed Trinity we should be most certain and take most delight in his love.  Love brings power and wisdom down to our level; for just as when we repent God forgets our sin through his courtesy, so he wants us also to forget our sin and leave behind both depression and anxiety.  — Julian

Suggestions for action

Carry this thought with you today: God wants me to forget my sin.

Pray: O God, give me the courage to believe I live in You, where all will be well.

September 16, 2016 — Julian boldly argues that she has found no wrath in God.

Today’s Bible reading

Do not make God’s Holy Spirit mourn. The Holy Spirit is the proof that you belong to God. And the Spirit is the proof that God will set you completely free.  Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred.  Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.  —  Ephesians 4:30-32

 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  — James 1:19-20

More thoughts for meditation

In his merciful way our good Lord always leads us as long as we inhabit this impermanent life. And I saw no anger other than humanity’s, and God forgives us that, for anger is no more than perverse opposition to peace and love.  It arises from a lack of strength, or wisdom, or goodness. And this failure lies in ourselves rather than in God.  Our sin and desperation generate in us a wrath and a continual opposition to peace and love. But the ground of mercy is love, and the ministry of mercy is to preserve us in love. For mercy works in love, with generosity, compassion, and sweetness. And mercy labors within us, preserving us, and converting everything to the good. Through love mercy allows us to fail, at least in part, and to the extent we fall, we die.  For we die without fail when we no longer see and feel God, who is life.  Our failure is frightful, our falling inglorious, our dying wretched. Yet never does love’s compassionate eye turn from us, nor the operation of mercy cease.   — Julian

Suggestions for action

Carry this thought with you today: never does love’s compassionate eye turn from me.

Pray: God of compassion, I need to know you never turn from me.

September 15, 2016 — Jesus refers to himself as a hen who gathers her chicks

Julian is one of the earliest Christian writers who moves away from patriarchy and highlights images of Jesus as Mother to us who believe, much as Jesus refers to himself as a hen who gathers her chicks. Today we listen again to Julian on Jesus, our Mother.

Today’s Bible reading

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and throw stones in order to kill those who are sent to you. Many times I have wanted to gather your people together. I have wanted to be like a hen who gathers her chicks under her wings. And you would not let me!  — Luke 13:34

See what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are! The world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know him.  Dear friends, now we are children of God. He still hasn’t let us know what we will be. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him. That’s because we will see him as he really is. — 1 John 3:1-2

More thoughts for meditation

In our true Mother, Jesus, our life is grounded in uncreated wisdom which foresees all, along with the Father’s almighty power and the Holy Spirit’s sovereign goodness. By taking upon himself our nature he stored us to life, and by dying upon the cross he carried us to eternal life. And from that moment until the end of time he nurtures and helps us on, just as the great loving concern of motherhood wishes, and the natural need of the child desires. Beautiful and sweet is our heavenly mother in the sight of our spirit, and in the sight of our heavenly Mother dear and beautiful are her gracious children, gentle and humble as children innately are. For by nature the child does not despair of the mother’s love, nor by nature does a child try to be self-reliant. A mother instinctively loves the child and it in turn loves her. These beautiful qualities and many others please and serve our heavenly Mother. There is in this life no higher state than childhood, with its weakness and helplessness and ignorance, until our gracious Mother brings us up into our Father’s joy. In that joy will we truly be shown what he means by the sweet words:  All will be well, and you yourself shall see that every manner of thing will be well.  – Julian

Suggestions for action

Carry this thought with you: Live as a child of God today. In this life there is no higher state.

Pray: Jesus, help me rely on you and not on myself today.

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