Julian of Norwich
A Sister at St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England
Written in 1375 AD
He Gives Grace
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:7).
In Christ and by His might, the dark root of sin is torn out. In
Him, by Him, we are lifted out of hell – and also set free from all
the misery of this earthly life.
And our walk in the life of Salvation must be continued by
grace. For grace is nothing other than the strength of the Holy
Spirit, penetrating deeper and deeper into every dark place within
our soul, where the light of Christ must be shed to call us further
out of darkness (1 Peter 1:9).
By the working of grace, every dark place within us will be
penetrated – length and breadth, height and depth. For our complete
freedom is the will of our loving Father.
I must tell you how this grace operates. And I want to say why
it is necessary for God, by His Holy Spirit, to penetrate the thick
walls with which we, in our self-centered pride, have surrounded our
soul – until we keep our true self hidden from everyone including
God. Or so we think.
The Lord seemed to show me that He begins to work in us by a love
more tender and sweet than that of a mother. Is it not the love of
God that bids us come out of hiding and return to our natural place
within His kindness and unfailing care? Is it not the Word of
Truth, the living seed, that penetrates our selfish darkness?
Yes, to come into Christ is, in a way, coming back into the womb
of love in which we were created. And when we are born of the
Spirit and come into our right minds, we realize we are the children
of God. Then we know that the One who is tenderness and love has
never left us to ourselves – though we have left Him.
Now our human mothers bear us into a lower life of pain and
death. Though we cling to this world with all our might, what is it
that we hold onto so tightly? A vapor. But Jesus, with eternal
love, stronger than any human mother, has birthed us into endless
life. Praise to Him, and all blessings!
A human mother nourishes her newborn with the sweet milk of her
own breast. Jesus feeds us with Himself. First, He nourishes our
soul with the milk of His Word, by which He makes us strong and
leads us, right at His side, every step of the way. In Him we grow
up and gain more understanding of the Father, and of the grace and
joy that pour into us from heaven itself.
Then we are strong enough to be fed with the true meat and drink
of those who are mighty in spirit – which is the flesh and blood of
His sacrifice. This comes as we are taught, by His grace, to count
the world and all that is in it as nothing for the sake of knowing
Him in His resurrection life (Philippians 3:10).
Only the Lord Jesus is tender enough, in His love, to move so
kindly within us that we become strong enough in Him secure enough
in Him, to stop this endless and tiresome battle to "save" and
"protect" ourselves. Which we cannot do!
So high and good is the love of Jesus, as He births us and
nurtures us in this new life from heaven, that it cannot be said of
anyone but Him – He is the true mother of all life and all that is
Godly and good.
For is this not so? The kindest and most loving mother is the
one who knows the greatest need of her child – not just the apparent
outward need, but what is needed for the life of the child, which is
within. She guards her child in body and in spirit.
As the children grow, she will not continue to treat them as
infants or children. She will teach them how to act in strength
and understanding, according to their abilities. She will act
differently, but her love does not change. She allows the children
to be chastised to destroy their faults – for in this way we
understand our weaknesses, and are humbled so that we can receive
virtues and grace.
In all of this, from our spiritual birth to our growth in the
nature of Christ, Jesus treats us with a tenderness that cannot be
compared to any other. For our soul is so precious in His sight.
Love penetrates! For nothing but love can crack the hard shell
of sin that encloses our spirit. And when love has come in, the
seed is germinated. Then He is the spark of new, Godly
understanding. He prepares all our paths, as pathways of teaching
and instruction. He pours His cleansing water over our conscience.
He comforts our inner being. He illumines our mind with wisdom.
And when we fall, He quickly lifts us up in His loving embrace.
In this way, little by little, He strengthens us by His sweet
working. So the love He has planted within us grows as we choose to
walk in Christ, and it reaches full fruit, bursting our in sweet
fragrance in all our words and actions. So shall we grow in the
power of grace, as His beloved children, forever and forever.
Father of Grace, I know you must become hard toward me sometimes,
the way a loving mother becomes firm in order to redirect the
stubborn child. Help me to quickly accept your correcting grace.
Bring me back into the peace that flows from you like the comforting
and unstoppable waters of a great river. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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