Revelations of Divine Love – Revelations Fourteen and Fifteen

This Tuesday, we will be concluding our study of Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love. We will be discussing Revelations Fourteen through Sixteen. pp.26-36; Short Text §§19-25; Long Text §§41-84. Please take the time to read and ruminate over these texts.

SCHEDULE: I am preaching this Trinity Sunday at Messiah on “Love, the Trinity, and Theosis.” The service starts at 10 am.

Revelation Fourteen: On Prayer (pp.26-28, §19 short text, §§41-43)

The Fourteenth Revelation is a revelation concerning prayer. There are two great qualities to prayer – (i) To pray for that which is God’s will and God’s glory and (ii) to pray powerfully and continually. For Julian, the three primary prayers are the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed. These are the basic prayers of the rosary. The purpose of prayer is to unite the soul with God. As Julian recognizes in the Thirteenth Revelation, sin works as a separation between us and God. Christ’s com-passion bridges this separation. Prayer is the means by which we can hold fast to this union.

Julian writes that when our soul is at ease with God we do not need to pray, but only contemplate what God says and who God is. Prayer comes into our spiritual life whenever we feel that separation. It is when we are tempted, troubled, or in distress that we must pray. This is why Julian (and liturgical churches) relies upon the set prayers of the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles Creed. When we need prayer the most, prayer becomes the most difficult. But in these prayers that can be memorized, the prayers can pray for us, and have us recognize the loving arms of God in whom we all rest.

Revelation Fifteen: On Patience (pp.28-30, §20 short text, §§64-65 long text)

If you remember back, Julian’s First Revelation began when Julian was on her deathbed in pain, with a failing body, and staring at the crucifix being held by the priest. The first fifteen revelations all happen in immediate succession at this moment. (In the Long Text she writes that these revelations took place between the early morning hours and three in the afternoon.) At the beginning of this revelation, Julian confesses that she often wanted to be released from this world of pain and suffering so that she could be with the God of her bliss. She echoes Paul in his statement “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Phil. 1:23.

But then God comes to her and reminds her that she will eventually and suddenly be taken away from all of her suffering, distress, and unhappiness, and be with him in eternal joy and bliss. God’s message to Julian is for patience to await for God’s will to be carried out at the right time. She recognizes that impatience prevents her (and us) from living life now, and simply knowing the perfect end that will come should be enough. For now, we must simply accept his promises and accept his comfortings. This acceptance is our faith and our assurance and leads to rest and peace in this life.

Julian’s Return (pp.30-31, §21 short text, §66 long text)

At the end of Revelation Fifteen, Julian begins waking up. She confesses that upon coming back to herself, she felt very irksome that she should go on living. Her pain returns just as before and her spiritual feelings disappear. She is coming back down from her mountaintop and she hates this regression. I am certain we have all been there.

 A friar comes to her and asks her how she is doing. She responds that she had been raving (like a lunatic). In other words, she doubts her revelations because she has returned in body, mind, and spirit to where she was before. He laughs and tells her that the crucifix at the foot of her bed seemed to have bled heavily during her ravings. At this moment, Julian feels ashamed for doubting that Jesus had actually come to her when the friar (who was not a party to her revelations) even believed that Jesus had come to her. She immediately wants to tell the friar about her revelations but thinks that the friar would not believe her, particularly because she doubted the revelations herself.

That night she falls asleep and it seemed as though the devil took her by the throat and sought to strangle her. She wakes up from her nightmare, barely alive, and those people with her are bathing her temples because of the physical reaction she had to the nightmare. At she awakens she sees a puff of smoke, feels a great heat, and smells a foul stench. None of those around her, however, experiences these sensations.

This assault by the devil assures Julian that her Revelations were real. With this assurance, Julian experiences “great rest and peace, without sickness of body or a troubled conscience.”

Dinner is at 6. The menu is pork roast. Discussion at 6:45. Hope to see you here.

Thus I understood that whatever man or woman willingly chooses God in this life for the sake of love he can be certain that he is loved without end with endless love which creates in him that grace. Long Text, §65

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *