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Mystical Experience of Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1413) was an English Christian mystic who lived in solitude in Norwich, England.  She once suffered from a severe illness and, while presumably on her deathbed, she received 16 “showings,” or revelations.  These showings occurred on May 13, 1373, when Julian was 30 and a half years of age.  She wrote about the showings in her book Revelations of Divine Love.  This work is the first published book in the English language to be written by a woman.

In the “long text” of Julian of Norwich’s work, she writes of one of her revelations:

“Greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells in our soul; and more greatly ought we rejoice that our soul dwells in God….I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my understanding [from Christian scripture] accepted that our substance is in God, that is to say that God is God, and our substance is a creature of God….[I]t is nothing else than right understanding with true belief and certain trust in our being, that we are in God, and he is in us, which we do not see.”

At the end of her book, Julian of Norwich wrote that, “so truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother…What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing.  Know it well, love was his meaning…Who reveals it to you?  Love.  What did he reveal to you?  Love.  Why does he reveal it to you?  For love.”

Quoted by Edmund Colledge and James Walsh in Julian of Norwich: Showings (Classics of Western Spirituality).

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