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Julian of Norwich
Romans 1:7

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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