“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well”– Julian of Norwich
Everything you need is found in Christ and all your heart truly desires, is found in Christ. Out of the abundance of God’s goodness, His love will flow into your soul.
“God loved us before He made us; and His love has never diminished and never shall.” These are the words of Julian of Norwich, a woman living in self-imposed house arrest – permanent social distancing – in a single cell attached to the Church of St Julian, in Norwich, England. In her estrangement from the world, she found God’s abiding presence.
“The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything”– Julian of Norwich
Her message was one of the Divine and overflowing love of Christ for His people and our need to embrace all He is, and all we can be in Christ. “Prayer is a new, gracious, lasting will of the soul united and fast-bound to the will of God by the precious and mysterious working of the Holy Ghost,” she declared.
Born in 1343, she committed her life to spiritual devotions, living in a room with one window facing into the church to view services, another facing outside to minister to those in need and just one other. Secluding herself in prayer, she fell ill in 1373 and began recovering, receiving many visions, or revelations from God.
“God, of your goodness, give Me Yourself,” she cried, “You are enough for me and anything less I could ask for would not do you full honour. And if I ask anything that is less, I shall always lack something, but in You alone I have everything.”
Her book, known today as Revelations of Divine Love is the first book by a woman in the English language. The Westminster Cathedral Manuscript and the Short Text Amherst Manuscript in the British Library provides a fascinating insight into the development of the English language.
‘It lastyth & euer shall for god louyth it. and so hath all thyng his begynning by þe loue of god’– Amherst Manuscript, Westminster Cathedral Treasury
‘It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it; and so everything has its beginning by the love of God’– Modern translation
In her revelations she struggles with questions of faith, pain, heaven and hell, finding answers from the voice of Jesus Himself. One of the most beautiful revelations is: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Somehow the mystery of suffering will be unveiled and all manner of beauty shall be revealed in Christ, through all our pain, sin and sickness.
The end of all things is beautiful. All shall be well. Darkness will become light. Sin will produce grace and from grace, forgiveness. Her greatest revelation could be summed up by St Paul’s letter to the Romans.
‘We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose’– Romans 8:28
St Julian lived in an age of saints and devotion to Mary, something which evangelicals will recoil from. Reforming leaders of her age, Wycliffe and the Lollards urged Christians to turn back to Holy Scripture, not tradition.
What’s clear is Julian had deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit, who revealed Christ to her. Her writings are considerable and thought-provoking. A theologian may question a few issues, but she was keen to stress she wanted to walk in the light of God’s Word foremost.
Her sayings are remarkable when you realised she lived through the Black Death of 1349 in Norwich. One in two people died in the crisis. Then the plague returned in 1361 and 1387. Why so much suffering? “Sin was necessary,” she declares, but “all shall be well…for we are so preciously loved by God, we cannot even comprehend it.”
We must not rush the reading of Revelations of Divine Love by St Julian of Norwich. You need to linger and think. When you do, you’ll find wonder.
“God loved us before He made us; and His love has never diminished and never shall”– Julian of Norwich