Revelations of Divine Love – Revelation Nine

Tonight we are gathering to discuss pages 13-18 (§§9-12) of Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love (Short Text). This reading includes Revelations 7-9. In Revelation Nine, Julian takes us on a deeper understanding of the Atonement and the Trinity.

Revelation Nine: Julian’s Atonement (pp. 17, §12)

The medieval Roman Catholic Church taught the Satisfaction theory of the Atonement. This teaching originated with St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). The theory very basically holds that our sin offends God’s honor and we, sinful humanity, must make satisfaction of our breach of God’s honor. Jesus (as the Incarnate Divine/Human) and his perfect obedience unto death on the Cross satisfies our obligation to restore God’s honor. Jesus’ suffering on the Cross transactionally allows humanity to become at-one with God.

Julian’s Ninth Revelation begins, however, with Jesus asking her “Are you well satisfied that I suffered for you?” In Julian’s Revelation, Christ’s suffering on the Cross is intended to satisfy us, not God. Jesus tells her that he suffered in order to prove his love and compassion for the suffering of humanity. Humanity suffers as a natural consequence of sin and therefore Christ suffers to show his love and identification with us. God is love, not honor or justice, and it is this love that causes Christ to suffer with us and to fully show God’s love to us.

Revelation Nine: Julian’s Trinity (p.18, §12):

Julian first sees God in Trinity in the hazelnut in her First Revelation. p.7, §4. In the hazelnut, she sees that God made it, loves it, and cares for it. Therefore, the Trinity can be thought of as the maker, lover, and guardian of all that is created, including us.

In this Revelation, Julian sees the Trinity differently and as deeply intertwined with her understanding of the atonement. She is shown three heavens: joy, bliss, and endless delight. She understands these three heavens as the pleasure of the Father, the glory of the Son, and the delight of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Trinity is present in Jesus’s suffering on the cross and in working out our salvation.

As she writes, the Father takes pleasure in our salvation and desires that we should have as much pleasure (and overcome as much suffering) through his grace while we are here. The pleasure of the Father is the completion of his will for us. The Son is glorified on the Cross where Julian beholds him taking upon himself our suffering. It is this glorification which gives us our salvation but also our love and unity. See, John 13:31-35, 17:1-19. And the Spirit shares with us our endless delight in our salvation. It is the Spirit (i.e. the Comforter John 14:16) who is constantly with us to guide us and preserve us from our present sufferings. In this understanding, the entire Trinity acts for our salvation in Christ’s Passion. 

Julian’s Message:

Julian wants us to know and understand that Christ suffered, not only for us but with us. In sharing our nature in the Incarnation, he who knew no sin, nonetheless suffered with us in our sins so that we may be at one with him and overcome our sufferings. And in the overcoming of our sufferings, God in Trinity takes great pleasure and eternal delight.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is manicotti. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here!

For we are his bliss, for in us he delights without end, and so shall we in him with his grace. All that he has done for us, and does, and ever shall, was never cost nor charge to him nor might be, but only that he did it in our humanity, beginning at the sweet incarnation, and lasting to the blessed resurrection on Easter morrow.
Julian of Norwich, Long Text §23, Ninth Revelation.

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