JULIAN OF NORWICH

Lent 20 ~ Three

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          A short while back, when it became certain that a health concern was recurring, I became anxious and worried. I had faced it before and knew firsthand how problematic and disruptive it could be.

          In the midst of this Cross, I thought of Julian of Norwich and the way she had come  one old night bearing the message,

All shall be well

          I wished she would come once more now, to tell me again that I needn’t fear.

          But she didn’t. It was just one more disappointment which I tucked into the folds of my heart.

          Then came the exhortation that I ask God for His sign for me. After some dithering, I obeyed. On the third day, He brought me this sign early in the morning,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. ~   St Teresa of Avila

          All things are passing away. My heart caught at those words. I could feel strength slowly return, gently watering the fear~dried gullies within me. I had just learnt an important lesson – to hold on to hope, to keep my eyes on God – through loving my family.

          And so to the garden of my beloveds I went to love. The hours flew by as the winds sang their hymns from the breast of trees. Late last night, the house stilled in slumber and my heart at peace, once more, St. Teresa smiled her words at me,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. 

          This time, I felt her place her finger on Whoever has God lacks nothing. As my heart willingly embraced those words, someone quietly and gently stood behind me. Sensing a presence, my spirit turned, and I beheld,

All shall be well.

          My beloved Julian of Norwich. The third of three.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark the Doors

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          The past few unpleasant days were lived through the prayer to Mother Mary that I had learned: I bind my heart to Yours. All through those tough hours, in my waking and in my sleep, I whispered, I bind my heart to Yours. Through the initial desolation, right up to later, when I learned that pain or no pain, being a Christian meant living God’s Commandments; that there was no dark corner to duck into to wallow, no time-out to not obey His decrees.

          And to walk the path God had set out for me, I needed that little prayer to take me from one step to the next. A long day later, I finally came to the rain-soaked night hours, feeling sore from the endless bouts against the world and against my rebel self.

          Tired, listless. Then, a tiny bud gently unbuttoned itself in my memory.

          The day before I had more of my life torn down, a name had floated by: Julian of Norwich. I barely knew anything of her. In fact, I had initially assumed she was a man. I had a faint idea that she was some sort of a mystic.

          Having no interest in her that day, earlier in the week, and I didn’t pursue her.

          But in the ashes of the latest fire in my heart, she floated by again. Gently, lingering only till I looked up. Then, she was gone. I had been emptied enough through the wounding to realize Julian of Norwich wanted me to seek her.

          So, I stumbled after her, and learned of a soul who so deeply yearned to love her GodThe anchoress didn’t keep me waiting and wildly searching. She quickly made clear why she had come to me by giving me the Lord’s words to her:

All shall be well

          It didn’t feel like the awaited dew on fire. It wasn’t the balm I was hoping for.

          But I knew God would never send His messenger with something I didn’t need. So, I took the four little words, and tucked them into the folds of my spirit. All through my sleep that night, each time I awakened and prayed I bind my heart to Yours, I remembered All shall be well. Like two moons, they shed their soft luminescence over my ragged sleep, and brought me a healing I didn’t feel.

          When I had risen to greet the somber morning skies wrapped in the blankets of heavy mists, I was determined to return to my calling of prayer. I didn’t feel refreshed. I didn’t feel healed. But there was work to be done, and I had stayed away long enough.

          The memory of the dream of the white map came before me again. Wanting to make up for lost time, I sifted through my store of prayers to be said. I felt the lightest of whispers slip by:

 The Illumination of Conscience.

          Directing my prayers towards Africa, I prayed for spirits to be made ready for the illumination of conscience, the revelation of each one’s soul as God sees it. Through the gentle and busy weave of hours and work that followed, I tried to consecrate my efforts for the day as a prayer offering towards the intention.

          Sinking into sleep in grateful relief at the end of the day, I reached for the prayer for Africa again, but my seeking came up empty. Instead, another prayer was rested on my searching spirit:

Blood of Christ,

Mark the doors

Of human hearts.

          Everything went still.

          Blood of Christ to mark. Blood of the Lamb on doors.

Prayer of the Passover.