If you’ve known me for a while, you’ve probably heard me say, “All shall be well.” And if you’ve stuck around long enough, or simply have an encyclopaedic knowledge of 13th century Christian mystics, you may further know that I lifted this phrase from Julian of Norwich, an English anchoress, when I wrote a paper on her for a Christian History class that I took in my undergrad. (Specifically, Julian’s words were: “All shall be well, all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Love that!)
Anyways, tonight I’ve returned to her in a reading for my Christian Spirit class, and am revelling in the simplicity of her perception of life. She’s just so matter-of-fact about her faith in God’s care.
“He showed me something small, about the size of a hazelnut that seemed to lie in the palm of my hand as round as a tiny ball. I tried to understand the sight of it, wondering what it could possibly mean. The answer came: ‘This is all that is made.’ I felt it was so small that it could easily fade to nothing; but again I was told, ‘This lasts and it will go on forever because God loves it. And so it is with every being that God loves.’
I saw three properties about this tiny object. First, God had made it: second, God loves it; and third, that God keeps it. Yet what this really means to me, that he is the Maker, the Keeper, the Lover, I cannot begin to tell. For until I am fully one with him, I can never have full rest nor true bliss, that is to say, until I am so at one with him that no thing created comes between us, my God and me.
We must come to realize this: created things are nothing, and we must turn aside from them to love and have our God who is not made. This is the only reason why we are not fully at ease in heart and soul: that we look to find our true rest in these things that are so little that they contain no rest. And we know not our God, who is almighty, all wise, all good. For he is the very rest. God will be known; he is pleased when we find our rest in him. All that falls short of him will never satisfy us. This is why no soul can be at peace until it is rid of all created things. Only when the soul turns away and denies itself so as to find him who is All will it be able to receive true peace and rest.”
– Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love