Julian of Norwich quotes

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Julian of Norwich

Birthdate: 8. November 1342
Date of death: 1416

Julian of Norwich was an English anchoress and an important Christian mystic and theologian. Her Revelations of Divine Love, written around 1395, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. Julian was also known as a spiritual authority within her community, where she also served as a counsellor and advisor. She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches. The Roman Catholic Church has not declared her to be a saint or given her the title Blessed. Accordingly, she does not appear in the Roman Martyrology, nor is she included in the calendar of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Works

„If any such lover be in earth which is continually kept from falling, I know it not: for it was not shewed me. But this was shewed: that in falling and in rising we are ever preciously kept in one Love.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Sixteenth Revelation, Chapter 82
Context: If any such lover be in earth which is continually kept from falling, I know it not: for it was not shewed me. But this was shewed: that in falling and in rising we are ever preciously kept in one Love. For in the Beholding of God we fall not, and in the beholding of self we stand not; and both these be sooth as to my sight. But the Beholding of our Lord God is the highest soothness. Then are we greatly bound to God that He willeth in this living to shew us this high soothness. And I understood that while we be in this life it is full speedful to us that we see both these at once. For the higher Beholding keepeth us in spiritual solace and true enjoying in God; that other that is the lower Beholding keepeth us in dread and maketh us ashamed of ourself. But our good Lord willeth ever that we hold us much more in the Beholding of the higher, and leave not the knowing of the lower, unto the time that we be brought up above, where we shall have our Lord Jesus unto our meed and be fulfilled of joy and bliss without end.

„It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Thirteenth Revelation, Chapter 27
Context: In my folly, afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted: for then, methought, all should have been well. This stirring was much to be forsaken, but nevertheless mourning and sorrow I made therefor, without reason and discretion.
But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

„Ere that He made us He loved us, and when we were made we loved Him.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 53
Context: Ere that He made us He loved us, and when we were made we loved Him. And this is a Love that is made, of the Kindly Substantial Goodness of the Holy Ghost; Mighty, in Reason, of the Might of the Father; and Wise, in Mind, of the Wisdom of the Son. And thus is Man’s Soul made by God and in the same point knit to God.
And thus I understand that man’s Soul is made of nought: that is to say, it is made, but of nought that is made. And thus: — When God should make man’s body He took the clay of earth, which is a matter mingled and gathered of all bodily things; and thereof He made man’s body. But to the making of man’s Soul He would take right nought, but made it. And thus is the Nature-made rightfully oned to the Maker, which is Substantial Nature not-made: that is, God. And therefore it is that there may nor shall be right nought atwix God and man’s Soul.
And in this endless Love man’s Soul is kept whole, as the matter of the Revelations signifieth and sheweth: in which endless Love we be led and kept of God and never shall be lost. For He willeth we be aware that our Soul is a life, which life of His Goodness and His Grace shall last in Heaven without end, Him loving, Him thanking, Him praising. And right the same that we shall be without end, the same we were treasured in God and hid, known and loved from without beginning.
Wherefore He would have us understand that the noblest thing that ever He made is mankind: and the fullest Substance and the highest Virtue is the blessed Soul of Christ. And furthermore He would have us understand that His dearworthy Soul was preciously knit to Him in the making which knot is so subtle and so mighty that it — is oned into God: in which oneing it is made endlessly holy. Furthermore He would have us know that all the souls that shall be saved in Heaven without end, are knit and oned in this oneing and made holy in this holiness.

„I IT AM, I IT AM: I IT AM that is highest, I IT AM that thou lovest, I IT AM that thou enjoyest, I IT AM that thou servest, I IT AM that thou longest for, I IT AM that thou desirest, I IT AM that thou meanest, I IT AM that is all. I IT AM that Holy Church preacheth and teacheth thee, I IT AM that shewed me here to thee. The number of the words passeth my wit and all my understanding and all my powers. And they are the highest, as to my sight: for therein is comprehended — I cannot tell, — but the joy that I saw in the Shewing of them passeth all that heart may wish for and soul may desire. Therefore the words be not declared here; but every man after the grace that God giveth him in understanding and loving, receive them in our Lord’s meaning.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Twelfth Revelation, Chapter 26
Context: After this our Lord shewed Himself more glorified, as to my sight, than I saw Him before wherein I was learned that our soul shall never have rest till it cometh to Him, knowing that He is fulness of joy, homely and courteous, blissful and very life.
Our Lord Jesus oftentimes said: I IT AM, I IT AM: I IT AM that is highest, I IT AM that thou lovest, I IT AM that thou enjoyest, I IT AM that thou servest, I IT AM that thou longest for, I IT AM that thou desirest, I IT AM that thou meanest, I IT AM that is all. I IT AM that Holy Church preacheth and teacheth thee, I IT AM that shewed me here to thee. The number of the words passeth my wit and all my understanding and all my powers. And they are the highest, as to my sight: for therein is comprehended — I cannot tell, — but the joy that I saw in the Shewing of them passeth all that heart may wish for and soul may desire. Therefore the words be not declared here; but every man after the grace that God giveth him in understanding and loving, receive them in our Lord’s meaning.

„When I was thirty years old and a half, God sent me a bodily sickness, in which I lay three days and three nights; and on the fourth night I took all my rites of Holy Church, and weened not to have lived till day.“

—  Julian of Norwich, book Revelations of Divine Love

Revelations of Divine Love (c. 1393), Chapter 3
Context: When I was thirty years old and a half, God sent me a bodily sickness, in which I lay three days and three nights; and on the fourth night I took all my rites of Holy Church, and weened not to have lived till day. And after this I languored forth two days and two nights, and on the third night I weened oftentimes to have passed; and so weened they that were with me.
And being in youth as yet, I thought it great sorrow to die; — but for nothing that was in earth that meliked to live for, nor for no pain that I had fear of: for I trusted in God of His mercy. But it was to have lived that I might have loved God better, and longer time, that I might have the more knowing and loving of God in bliss of Heaven. For methought all the time that I had lived here so little and so short in regard of that endless bliss, — I thought nothing.

„God is never out of the soul: in which He dwelleth blissfully without end.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 55
Context: Our Faith cometh of the natural Love of our soul, and of the clear light of our Reason, and of the steadfast Mind which we have from God in our first making. And what time that our soul is inspired into our body, in which we are made sensual, so soon mercy and grace begin to work, having of us care and keeping with pity and love: in which working the Holy Ghost formeth, in our Faith, Hope that we shall come again up above to our Substance, into the Virtue of Christ, increased and fulfilled through the Holy Ghost. Thus I understood that the sense-soul is grounded in Nature, in Mercy, and in Grace: which Ground enableth us to receive gifts that lead us to endless life.
For I saw full assuredly that our Substance is in God, and also I saw that in our sense-soul God is: for in the self-point that our Soul is made sensual, in the self-point is the City of God ordained to Him from without beginning; into which seat He cometh, and never shall remove it. For God is never out of the soul: in which He dwelleth blissfully without end.

„God deemeth us upon our Nature-Substance, which is ever kept one in Him, whole and safe without end: and this doom is of His rightfulness. And man judgeth upon our changeable Sense-soul, which seemeth now one, now other, — according as it taketh of the parts, — and showeth outward. And this wisdom is mingled.“

—  Julian of Norwich

For sometimes it is good and easy, and sometimes it is hard and grievous. And in as much as it is good and easy it belongeth to the rightfulness; and in as much as it is hard and grievous our good Lord Jesus reformeth it by mercy and grace through the virtue of His blessed Passion, and so bringeth it to the rightfulness.
And though these two be thus accorded and oned, yet both shall be known in Heaven without end. The first doom, which is of God’s rightfulness, is of His high endless life; and this is that fair sweet doom that was shewed in all the fair Revelation, in which I saw Him assign to us no manner of blame. But though this was sweet and delectable, yet in the beholding only of this, I could not be fully eased: and that was because of the doom of Holy Church, which I had afore understood and which was continually in my sight. And therefore by this doom methought I understood that sinners are worthy sometime of blame and wrath; but these two could I not see in God; and therefore my desire was more than I can or may tell. For the higher doom was shewed by God Himself in that same time, and therefore me behoved needs to take it; and the lower doom was learned me afore in Holy Church, and therefore I might in no way leave the lower doom. Then was this my desire: that I might see in God in what manner that which the doom of Holy Church teacheth is true in His sight, and how it belongeth to me verily to know it; whereby the two dooms might both be saved, so as it were worshipful to God and right way to me.
And to all this I had none other answer but a marvellous example of a lord and of a servant, as I shall tell after: — and that full mistily shewed. And yet I stand desiring, and will unto my end, that I might by grace know these two dooms as it belongeth to me. For all heavenly, and all earthly things that belong to Heaven, are comprehended in these two dooms. And the more understanding, by the gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, that we have of these two dooms, the more we shall see and know our failings. And ever the more that we see them, the more, of nature, by grace, we shall long to be fulfilled of endless joy and bliss. For we are made thereto, and our Nature-Substance is now blissful in God, and hath been since it was made, and shall be without end.
Summations, Chapter 45

„It pleaseth Him that we seek Him and worship through means, understanding that He is the Goodness of all.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The First Revelation, Chapter 6
Context: It pleaseth Him that we seek Him and worship through means, understanding that He is the Goodness of all.
For the Goodness of God is the highest prayer, and it cometh down to the lowest part of our need. It quickeneth our soul and bringeth it on life, and maketh it for to waxen in grace and virtue. It is nearest in nature; and readiest in grace: for it is the same grace that the soul seeketh, and ever shall seek till we know verily that He hath us all in Himself enclosed.
For He hath no despite of that He hath made, nor hath He any disdain to serve us at the simplest office that to our body belongeth in nature, for love of the soul that He hath made to His own likeness.

„Thus saw I that God is our very Peace, and He is our sure Keeper when we are ourselves in unpeace, and He continually worketh to bring us into endless peace.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 49
Context: Thus saw I that God is our very Peace, and He is our sure Keeper when we are ourselves in unpeace, and He continually worketh to bring us into endless peace. And thus when we, by the working of mercy and grace, be made meek and mild, we are fully safe; suddenly is the soul oned to God when it is truly peaced in itself: for in Him is found no wrath. And thus I saw when we are all in peace and in love, we find no contrariness, nor no manner of letting through that contrariness which is now in us; our Lord of His Goodness maketh it to us full profitable. For that contrariness is cause of our tribulations and all our woe, and our Lord Jesus taketh them and sendeth them up to Heaven, and there are they made more sweet and delectable than heart may think or tongue may tell. And when we come thither we shall find them ready, all turned into very fair and endless worships.

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„That which is impossible to thee is not impossible to me: I shall save my word in all things and I shall make all things well.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Thirteenth Revelation, Chapter 32
Context: Our Faith is grounded in God’s word, and it belongeth to our Faith that we believe that God’s word shall be saved in all things; and one point of our Faith is that many creatures shall be condemned: as angels that fell out of Heaven for pride, which be now fiends; and man in earth that dieth out of the Faith of Holy Church: that is to say, they that be heathen men; and also man that hath received christendom and liveth unchristian life and so dieth out of charity: all these shall be condemned to hell without end, as Holy Church teacheth me to believe. And all this standing, methought it was impossible that all manner of things should be well, as our Lord shewed in the same time.
And as to this I had no other answer in Shewing of our Lord God but this: That which is impossible to thee is not impossible to me: I shall save my word in all things and I shall make all things well. Thus I was taught, by the grace of God, that I should steadfastly hold me in the Faith as I had aforehand understood, therewith that I should firmly believe that all things shall be well, as our Lord shewed in the same time.
For this is the Great Deed that our Lord shall do, in which Deed He shall save His word and He shall make all well that is not well. How it shall be done there is no creature beneath Christ that knoweth it, nor shall know it till it is done; according to the understanding that I took of our Lord’s meaning in this time.

„For grace worketh our dreadful failing into plenteous, endless solace; and grace worketh our shameful falling into high, worshipful rising; and grace worketh our sorrowful dying into holy, blissful life.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 48
Context: Mercy is a sweet gracious working in love, mingled with plenteous pity: for mercy worketh in keeping us, and mercy worketh turning to us all things to good. Mercy, by love, suffereth us to fail in measure and in as much as we fail, in so much we fall; and in as much as we fall, in so much we die: for it needs must be that we die in so much as we fail of the sight and feeling of God that is our life. Our failing is dreadful, our falling is shameful, and our dying is sorrowful: but in all this the sweet eye of pity and love is lifted never off us, nor the working of mercy ceaseth.
For I beheld the property of mercy, and I beheld the property of grace: which have two manners of working in one love. Mercy is a pitiful property which belongeth to the Motherhood in tender love; and grace is a worshipful property which belongeth to the royal Lordship in the same love. Mercy worketh: keeping, suffering, quickening, and healing; and all is tenderness of love. And grace worketh: raising, rewarding, endlessly overpassing that which our longing and our travail deserveth, spreading abroad and shewing the high plenteous largess of God’s royal Lordship in His marvellous courtesy; and this is of the abundance of love. For grace worketh our dreadful failing into plenteous, endless solace; and grace worketh our shameful falling into high, worshipful rising; and grace worketh our sorrowful dying into holy, blissful life.
For I saw full surely that ever as our contrariness worketh to us here in earth pain, shame, and sorrow, right so, on the contrary wise, grace worketh to us in heaven solace, worship, and bliss; and overpassing. And so far forth, that when we come up and receive the sweet reward which grace hath wrought for us, then we shall thank and bless our Lord, endlessly rejoicing that ever we suffered woe. And that shall be for a property of blessed love that we shall know in God which we could never have known without woe going before.
And when I saw all this, it behoved me needs to grant that the mercy of God and the forgiveness is to slacken and waste our wrath.

„In our intent we abide in God, and faithfully trust to have mercy and grace; and this is His own working in us. And of His goodness He openeth the eye of our understanding, by which we have sight, sometime more and sometime less, according as God giveth ability to receive. And now we are raised into the one, and now we are suffered to fall into the other.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 52
Context: In our intent we abide in God, and faithfully trust to have mercy and grace; and this is His own working in us. And of His goodness He openeth the eye of our understanding, by which we have sight, sometime more and sometime less, according as God giveth ability to receive. And now we are raised into the one, and now we are suffered to fall into the other.
And thus is this medley so marvellous in us that scarsely we know of our self or of our even-Christian in what way we stand, for the marvellousness of this sundry feeling.

„This is a Revelation of Love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss, made in Sixteen Shewings, or Revelations particular.“

—  Julian of Norwich, book Revelations of Divine Love

First lines
Revelations of Divine Love (c. 1393), Chapter 1
Context: This is a Revelation of Love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss, made in Sixteen Shewings, or Revelations particular.
Of the which the First is of His precious crowning with thorns; and therewith was comprehended and specified the Trinity, with the Incarnation, and unity betwixt God and man’s soul; with many fair shewings of endless wisdom and teachings of love: in which all the Shewings that follow be grounded and oned.

„The soul that willeth to be in rest when other man’s sin cometh to mind, he shall flee it as the pain of hell, seeking unto God for remedy, for help against it.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Sixteenth Revelation, Chapter 76
Context: The soul that willeth to be in rest when other man’s sin cometh to mind, he shall flee it as the pain of hell, seeking unto God for remedy, for help against it. For the beholding of other man’s sins, it maketh as it were a thick mist afore the eyes of the soul, and we cannot, for the time, see the fairness of God, but if we may behold them with contrition with him, with compassion on him, and with holy desire to God for him. For without this it harmeth and tempesteth and hindereth the soul that beholdeth them. For this I understood in the Shewing of Compassion.

„A great thing shall I make hereof in Heaven of endless worship and everlasting joys.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Thirteenth Revelation, Chapter 28
Context: To this our Lord answered in this manner: A great thing shall I make hereof in Heaven of endless worship and everlasting joys.

„Ever the more clearly that the soul seeth this Blissful Cheer by grace of loving, the more it longeth to see it in fulness.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The Sixteenth Revelation, Chapter 72
Context: Ever the more clearly that the soul seeth this Blissful Cheer by grace of loving, the more it longeth to see it in fulness. For notwithstanding that our Lord God dwelleth in us and is here with us, and albeit He claspeth us and encloseth us for tender love that He may never leave us, and is more near to us than tongue can tell or heart can think, yet may we never stint of moaning nor of weeping nor of longing till when we see Him clearly in His Blissful Countenance. For in that precious blissful sight there may no woe abide, nor any weal fail.

„Thus is that Blissful Sight end of all manner of pain to the loving soul, and the fulfilling of all manner of joy and bliss.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Variant translation to modern English: I am that which is highest, I am that which is lowest, I am that which is ALL.
The Sixteenth Revelation, Chapter 72
Context: Thus is that Blissful Sight end of all manner of pain to the loving soul, and the fulfilling of all manner of joy and bliss. And that shewed He in the high, marvellous words where He said: I IT AM that is highest; I IT AM that is lowest; I IT AM that is ALL.

„Our soul is so specially loved of Him that is highest, that it overpasseth the knowing of all creatures: that is to say, there is no creature that is made that may know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our Maker loveth us.“

—  Julian of Norwich

The First Revelation, Chapter 6
Context: Our soul is so specially loved of Him that is highest, that it overpasseth the knowing of all creatures: that is to say, there is no creature that is made that may know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our Maker loveth us. And therefore we may with grace and His help stand in spiritual beholding, with everlasting marvel of this high, overpassing, inestimable Love that Almighty God hath to us of His Goodness. And therefore we may ask of our Lover with reverence all that we will.
For our natural Will is to have God, and the Good Will of God is to have us; and we may never cease from willing nor from longing till we have Him in fullness of joy: and then may we no more desire.

„This fair lovely word Mother, it is so sweet and so close in Nature of itself that it may not verily be said of none but of Him; and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all.“

—  Julian of Norwich

Summations, Chapter 60
Context: This fair lovely word Mother, it is so sweet and so close in Nature of itself that it may not verily be said of none but of Him; and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all. To the property of Motherhood belongeth natural love, wisdom, and knowing; and it is good: for though it be so that our bodily forthbringing be but little, low, and simple in regard of our spiritual forthbringing, yet it is He that doeth it in the creatures by whom that it is done. The Kindly, loving Mother that witteth and knoweth the need of her child, she keepeth it full tenderly, as the nature and condition of Motherhood will. And as it waxeth in age, she changeth her working, but not her love. And when it is waxen of more age, she suffereth that it be beaten in breaking down of vices, to make the child receive virtues and graces. This working, with all that be fair and good, our Lord doeth it in them by whom it is done: thus He is our Mother in Nature by the working of Grace in the lower part for love of the higher part. And He willeth that we know this: for He will have all our love fastened to Him. And in this I saw that all our duty that we owe, by God’s bidding, to Fatherhood and Motherhood, for God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood is fulfilled in true loving of God; which blessed love Christ worketh in us. And this was shewed in all and especially in the high plenteous words where He saith: It is I that thou lovest.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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