Introductory Note:

In this excerpt, I have attempted to modernize the language from Chapter 61 in Revelations of Divine Love. There are many other translations and editions that range from Middle English to contemporary English. One we often recommend at Renovaré is Fr. John-Julian’s updated but classic version published by Paraclete Press. Or you might find (as I did) that sitting with an older version and attempting to put it into your own words is a kind of spiritual practice that helps you to enter Julian’s ideas and soak in their richness. You can find the 1901 edition by Grace Warrack here via Project Gutenberg.

Grace Pouch
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The mother may allow the child to fall sometimes. She may even let her child experience pain to a certain degree, if it proves beneficial. But she will never let any kind of real peril come to the child, because of her love. 

And though an earthly mother may lack the power, wisdom, or love to keep her child fully and completely safe, our heavenly Mother, Jesus, will not let us who are His children perish — for He is All-mighty, All-wisdom, and All-love. Only He is all in all. May He be blessed!

When we fall and when we catch a glimpse of the misery we bring to ourselves and others, we are so fearful and so greatly ashamed of ourselves that our impulse is to run — from God and from the truth. But even then, our good-natured Mother does not wish us to run and hide. Nothing is farther from what He wants. Instead, He wills that we take on the disposition of a child. 

When a child is hurt or scared, it runs as fast as it can to its mother for help — and hangs on to her for dear life. This is how He wants us to come to Him — as an unresisting child, freely telling Him: My kind Mother, my generous Mother, my dearworthy”1Mother, please forgive me. I have made myself offensive — and unlike You. I cannot see how to fix things, and I am not able to right these wrongs, unless you guide and help me. 

And if we do not immediately find a sense of peace, we can be sure that He is using a mother’s wisdom for our benefit. If He sees that it is good for us to dwell a little while longer in sadness and to linger with the gravity of our actions, He allows this to go on — but He generously doles out compassion, and He will bring our weeping to a close when the time is right, because He loves us. 

It is His will and desire that we take this child-like approach — that we find it as easy and natural to trust God as a child trusts its mother’s love in all circumstances, both happy and sad.

And this is where we can find our dearworthy Mother — among our fellow Christians, who know His blessings firsthand. He wants us to cling to the faith upheld by the Holy Church and to have our hope shored up by true understanding that He gives to the Communion of Saints. Without this community, an individual may be broken — or at least feel broken — but the whole Body of the Church has never broken yet, and never will be broken. It endures. 

So it is a sure thing, a good decision full of blessings, to set aside our resistance and exert our best effort to stick with and become one with our Mother, Holy Church. In the gathering of Christ’s followers, we find Christ himself. Here we experience the flood of mercy from his dear blood and from the precious waters of baptism that make us beautiful in spirit and clean in our hearts and minds.

The wounds of our Savior are open and happy to heal us.

The sweet, gracious hands of our Mother are always ready and carefully working on us. He works on us like a kind nurse, who has no other care in the world but saving her child. 

It is His unique job to save us.

It is His delight to carry us.

And it is His deep desire that we know it.

For He wants us to feel a tender affection toward Him. And He wants us to trust Him in utter dependence and total confidence.

All this He showed me in the good words I heard Him say: I keep you fully and completely safe. 

  1. Dearworthy” is the tender adjective God uses to help Julian understand how highly valued and loved she is. She reciprocates by using dearworthy” to describe the persons and attributes of the Trinity. ↩︎

Paraphrase by Grace Pate Pouch. Taken from Ch. LXI, Revelations of Divine Love Recorded by Julian of Norwich, Anchoress at Norwich, translated by Grace Warrack, 1907. Project Gutenberg EBook.

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· Last Featured on June 2023