Amma Sue - May 2014

posted 5 Jun 2014, 09:44 by Richard Jones   [ updated 5 Jun 2014, 09:44 ]

Dear Friends,

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”  So wrote the 14th Century Anchoress Julian of Norwich whose feast day we celebrate on the 8th of May. 

 Who was Julian of Norwich?  The fact is nobody really knows, the exact days of her birth and death, even her real name are lost in the mists of time. All we can say with any confidence is that she was an Anchoress, a woman who had chosen to live a solitary life of prayer and mediation attached to the Church of St Julian in the city of Norwich and that she was well known in her own day as a wise spiritual counsellor sought out by many men and women for her spiritual direction and guidance. Nevertheless, her writings gathered together in the “Book of Shewings” or “Revelations” as they came to be known, are among the greatest of English spiritual classics indeed were the first to be written in the English language by a woman and have been a source of strength and comfort for many hundreds of Christians throughout the ages. 

 In May 1373, Julian had a remarkable prayer experience or “revelations” which she recounts in her book and her writings are the fruits of many years of contemplation, mediation and prayer on that experience. However, these writings are not some great theological treatise hard to understand but are filled with many homely images and written with great charm, warmth and integrity by a highly intelligent woman well acquainted with Scripture and doctrine.  Her famous quote comes towards the end of the book and describes God’s answer to her as she ponders the great mysteries of sin and suffering in a world created by the God of Love, and redeemed by the loving sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  Julian doesn’t seek to find easy answers and platitudes but eventually comes to understand that all the answers lie with God and that indeed all shall be well in Him.

Julian has a special place in my own spiritual life, but Julian and her writings are not the exclusive preserve of Religious Sisters and Brothers, Monks and Nuns, nor indeed the clergy, but for all who, as she herself says, intend to be God’s lovers for as she explains at the end of her writings, God tells her: ‘You would know our Lord’s meaning in this thing? Love was his meaning.  Who showed it to you? Love.  Why did he show you? For love. Hold on to this and you will know and understand love more and more. But you will not learn anything else – ever!...All this we shall see in God for ever. May Jesus grant this.’ And amen to that!

God bless you all!

Amma Sue

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