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Posts Tagged ‘Julian of Norwich’


Matthew 5:21-26: Teaching on Anger

Carl Heinrich Bloch: The Sermon on the Mount

Carl Heinrich Bloch: The Sermon on the Mount

Second Sunday of Easter, April 24, 2022

A Favorite from August 10, 2009. 

Anger is a universal, human emotion which each of us handles in our particular way.  In today’s citation we hear Jesus tell us how important it is that we learn to identify our anger, to name its origin and to manage its effects immediately and completely. Verse 24 tells us that nothing engendering anger may be allowed to take root and live in us; nothing can be allowed to separate us from God.

From Julian of Norwich in ALL WILL BE WELL: “In his merciful way, our good Lord always leads us as long as we inhabit this impermanent life.  I saw no anger other than humanity’s, and God forgives us that, for anger is no more than perverse opposition to peace and love. It arises from a lack of strength, or wisdom, or goodness.  And this failure lies in ourselves rather than in God. Our sin and desperation generate in us a wrath and a continual opposition to peace and love”.

The best antidote to anger is mercy, Julian tells us, for “the ground of mercy is love, and the ministry of mercy is to preserve us in love.  For mercy works in love, with generosity, compassion, and sweetness. And mercy labors within us, preserving us, and conveying everything to the good”.

In his sermon on the mount, Christ tells us: Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Jesus understands well how the entry of a third party into a conflict can either quell or stir the flames of anger. A quiet mediator who empowers those in conflict to listen to one another is invaluable. Any person outside the conflict who delights in adding to that roiling emotions that often accompany a rift nearly always spell death for the relationship. It is for this reason that Jesus urges us to seek settlement before appearing before a judge. Not all third parties have the best interests of those in conflict in their hearts.

Julian concludes her comments with a thought about the effects of anger and a possible sure: “Our failure is frightful, our falling inglorious, our dying wretched. Yet never does love’s compassionate eye turn from us, nor does the operation of mercy cease”.

Mercy and goodness when applied to anger bring about change that transforms. When carrying our gift of self back to God, we must first put anger away. We must first seek and give mercy. We must remember that our travels here are temporary and that the next world, where there is no place for anger to fester and take over, is permanent and eternal. This anger we experience here must be left behind. We must convert it to compassion . . . for in so doing, we enter into Christ’s love and body.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about adultery.


Julian of Norwich. ALL WILL BE WELL. Ave Maria Press, 1995, 2008. Print. 

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bloch-SermonOnTheMount.jpg

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Saturday, April 25, 2020

cr_julianSirach 10:19-30: Possibilities

Again from Julian of Norwich: “God intends our prayer and trust to be magnanimous.  If we do not trust as much as we pray, we do not honor God fully, and we place obstacles in our path.  This happens because we do not realize that God himself is in the ground of our praying.  Our very ability to pray is a gift of his loving grace.  We cannot ask for mercy and grace unless they have first been extended to us.  Sometimes, it seems after praying a long time that we have received no answer.  We should not let this disturb us.  God simply wishes us to wait for a more suitable time, or for more grace, or for a better gift.  Furthermore, just as we experience God drawing us to him, so should we pray that we will be drawn toward him.  It is not sufficient to do one without the other.  If we pray, but do not see that God is at work, we become dejected and downcast and so do him no honor.  And if after we see him at work, but do not pray, we do less than our duty.  But to see that he works, and to pray that he works, gives God worship and benefits us.  When we pray thus, we will think we have done nothing.  But if we do what we can, seeking mercy and grace, we shall discover in him all that is deficient in us”.

Today’s Noontime calls us to think about how we honor and glorify God in our lives, and how we honor and glorify one another.  Julian of Norwich reminds us that all will be well when all rests in God and when we take everything to God in prayer; for it is out of this meditation and prayer that our actions rise.  Today’s reading and the words from Julian of Norwich above ask that we go a step beyond our normal comfortable zone of thinking and doing. They ask us to risk, to trust, to believe, to hope and to love as Jesus loves.  They ask us to dream and imagine all the possibilities which are open to us . . . because once we enter into union with God all things are possible. Once we become meek as Jesus is meek, all things are possible.  Once we bring our weariness and brokenness to God all things are possible . . . and all will be well.

Tomorrow, healing . . .


First written on August 10, 2009.  Revised and posted today. 

Kirvan, John. All Will Be Well: Julian of Norwich. 2008. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2005. Print.

For more information about Julian of Norwich, click on the image above or go to the following links: http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/the-constant-seeker-julian-of-norwich or http://aquariumofvulcan.blogspot.com/2012/05/julian-of-norwich.html or  http://campusministry.georgetown.edu/119652.html

To reflect on how God’s promises are always greater than our hopes, go to: http://www.discerninghearts.com/?p=1714

 

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Blessed Julian of Norwich

Van der Weyden: Portrait of a Young Woman Wearing a Coif

Psalm 73: The Trial of the Just

This psalm speaks to a state of mind that each of us has likely experienced once or even more than once, at a time when we lost our balance and our feet all but slipped.

As we have spent time this week reflecting on the traits of a disciple and the work that discipleship entails.  We have re-affirmed that following Christ requires not only love but also intense labor.  Disciples suffer.  They lose heart.  They become enmeshed in a world they do not welcome.   Yet they also experience great joy.

As we read this psalm today we find that each of us is Israel, wondering why the arrogant . . . suffer no pain; their bodies healthy and sleek . . . violence adorns them like a robe Some of us may say to ourselves, as the psalmist does: It is in vain that I have kept my heart clean . . . I was stupid and did not understand.   Discipleship calls for meekness.  Discipleship delivers heart-break.  The ancillary experience of discipleship is suffering . . . and yet great joy.

What is the solution to handling our angst and jealousy so that our mourning might become dancing?  We must dialog with the Lord and offer our questions along with our petitions for those who are far from [God] perish.  We must declare all [God’s] works, remembering that despite our feeling that we are lost and alone we always will be accompanied.

I have taken up again a little book of reflections on the writings of Julian of Norwich, a medieval English mystic and spiritual writer to whom God spoke in a series of revelations.  (Kirvan)  This woman lived a hermetic life in a worldly way, juxtaposing solitude and community in a manner that gives her words a universal resonance.  She speaks of the humility we learn when we bring God our sufferings and failings.  And it is through this humility, this meekness, that we find God.  She writes that we run the danger of carrying our faults so heavily that we consider ourselves “suited only to hell” and that this would be an egregious error for no matter what we do or where we go, God wants to “raise us high in grace”.  She also writes that when we allow our pain to bring compassion to ourselves and others, we will be better prepared to receive God.  This compassion heals any shame or brokenness and transforms all suffering into joy.  She tells us that our failure does not prevent God from loving us.  Peace and love are always present within us, living and laboring, but we unfortunately do not always abide in peace and love.

When we find ourselves deep into our work as disciples we are certain to be worn down and worn out; we will find that our hearts have been broken.  So rather than fight against our pain and suffering, let us offer our brokenness to God as we withstand the trial of the just.  Let us cease comparing ourselves with the wicked and instead open ourselves to God’s grace and compassion.   And let us no longer rail against our imperfections . . . for we must allow ourselves to remember that God is always close to the broken-hearted.

And so the psalmist writes:  How good God is to the upright, the Lord, to those who are clean of heart!

Tomorrow, with God . . . possibilities . . .

Although often attributed as a portrait of Julian of Norwich – the first woman to write and publish a book in the English language – there is no evidence that she sat for the artist, Roger Van der Weyden.  It is lovely, however, to imagine a meeting between the two.


Kirvan, John. All Will Be Well: Julian of Norwich. 2008. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2005. Print.

First written on August 9, 2009. Revised and posted today.

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