Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich (8 November 1342 - c.1413) was an English philosopher and mystic. Little is known of her life aside from her writings. Even her name is uncertain, the name "Julian" coming from the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, where she was an anchoress, meaning that she was walled into the church behind the altar during a mass for the dead.
Revelations of Divine Love (c.1393)
"Revelations to one who could not read a Letter, Anno Dom. 1373" : this work provides almost all the information that is known about Julian. It is an account of visions, primarily ones she declares to have occurred on the 13th and 14th of May 1373, during a severe illness when she was thirty years old, written down nearly twenty years later by a scribe. There have been many translations of this work from archaic English, and thus many variants of the statements exist and somewhat different interpretations of their meanings have arisen.
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 13 40 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86
- This is a Revelation of Love that Jesus Christ, our endless bliss, made in Sixteen Shewings, or Revelations particular.
Of the which the First is of His precious crowning with thorns; and therewith was comprehended and specified the Trinity, with the Incarnation, and unity betwixt God and man’s soul; with many fair shewings of endless wisdom and teachings of love: in which all the Shewings that follow be grounded and oned.
- First lines
- Our Lord God, Allmighty Wisdom, All-Love, right as verily as He hath made everything that is, all-so verily He doeth and worketh all-thing that is done.
- We are kept all as securely in Love in woe as in weal, by the Goodness of God.
- Our Lord Jesus sheweth in love His blissful heart even cloven in two, rejoicing.
- Our Lord God willeth we have great regard to all the deeds that He hath done: in the great nobleness of the making of all things; and the excellency of man’s making, which is above all his works; and the precious Amends that He hath made for man’s sin, turning all our blame into endless worship. In which Shewing also our Lord saith: Behold and see! For by the same Might, Wisdom, and Goodness that I have done all this, by the same Might, Wisdom, and Goodness I shall make well all that is not well; and thou shalt see it. And in this He willeth that we keep us in the Faith and truth of Holy Church, not desiring to see into His secret things now, save as it belongeth to us in this life.
- Our Lord is the Ground of our Prayer. Herein were seen two properties: the one is rightful prayer, the other is steadfast trust; which He willeth should both be alike large; and thus our prayer pleaseth Him and He of His Goodness fulfilleth it.
- We shall suddenly be taken from all our pain and from all our woe, and of His Goodness we shall come up above, where we shall have our Lord Jesus for our meed and be fulfilled with joy and bliss in Heaven.
- These Revelations were shewed to a simple creature unlettered, the year of our Lord 1373, the Thirteenth day of May. Which creature afore desired three gifts of God. The First was mind of His Passion; the Second was bodily sickness in youth, at thirty years of age; the Third was to have of God’s gift three wounds.
- As to the First, methought I had some feeling in the Passion of Christ, but yet I desired more by the grace of God. Methought I would have been that time with Mary Magdalene, and with other that were Christ’s lovers, and therefore I desired a bodily sight wherein I might have more knowledge of the bodily pains of our Saviour and of the compassion of our Lady and of all His true lovers that saw, that time, His pains. For I would be one of them and suffer with Him. Other sight nor shewing of God desired I never none, till the soul were disparted from the body. The cause of this petition was that after the shewing I should have the more true mind in the Passion of Christ.
- The Second came to my mind with contrition; Freely desiring that sickness so hard as to death, that I might in that sickness receive all my rites of Holy Church, myself thinking that I should die, and that all creatures might suppose the same that saw me: for I would have no manner of comfort of earthly life. In this sickness I desired to have all manner of pains bodily and ghostly that I should have if I should die, (with all the dreads and tempests of the fiends) except the outpassing of the soul. And this I meant for I would be purged, by the mercy of God, and afterward live more to the worship of God because of that sickness. And that for the more furthering in my death: for I desired to be soon with my God.
- These two desires of the Passion and the sickness I desired with a condition, saying thus: Lord, Thou knowest what I would,—if it be Thy will that I have it— and if it be not Thy will, good Lord, be not displeased: for I will nought but as Thou wilt.
- For the Third, by the grace of God and teaching of Holy Church I conceived a mighty desire to receive three wounds in my life: that is to say, the wound of very contrition, the wound of kind compassion, and the wound of steadfast longing toward God. And all this last petition I asked without any condition.
These two desires aforesaid passed from my mind, but the third dwelled with me continually.
- When I was thirty years old and a half, God sent me a bodily sickness, in which I lay three days and three nights; and on the fourth night I took all my rites of Holy Church, and weened not to have lived till day. And after this I languored forth two days and two nights, and on the third night I weened oftentimes to have passed; and so weened they that were with me.
And being in youth as yet, I thought it great sorrow to die;—but for nothing that was in earth that meliked to live for, nor for no pain that I had fear of: for I trusted in God of His mercy. But it was to have lived that I might have loved God better, and longer time, that I might have the more knowing and loving of God in bliss of Heaven. For methought all the time that I had lived here so little and so short in regard of that endless bliss,—I thought nothing.
- I understood by my reason and by my feeling of my pains that I should die; and I assented fully with all the will of my heart to be at God’s will.
Thus I dured till day, and by then my body was dead from the middle downwards, as to my feeling. Then was I minded to be set upright, backward leaning, with help,—for to have more freedom of my heart to be at God’s will, and thinking on God while my life would last.
- My sight began to fail, and it was all dark about me in the chamber, as if it had been night, save in the Image of the Cross whereon I beheld a common light; and I wist not how. All that was away from the Cross was of horror to me, as if it had been greatly occupied by the fiends
After this the upper part of my body began to die, so far forth that scarcely I had any feeling;—with shortness of breath. And then I weened in sooth to have passed.
And in this suddenly all my pain was taken from me, and I was as whole (and specially in the upper part of my body) as ever I was afore.
I marvelled at this sudden change; for methought it was a privy working of God, and not of nature. And yet by the feeling of this ease I trusted never the more to live; nor was the feeling of this ease any full ease unto me: for methought I had liefer have been delivered from this world.
- Then came suddenly to my mind that I should desire the second wound of our Lord’s gracious gift: that my body might be fulfilled with mind and feeling of His blessed Passion. For I would that His pains were my pains, with compassion and afterward longing to God. But in this I desired never bodily sight nor shewing of God, but compassion such as a kind soul might have with our Lord Jesus, that for love would be a mortal man: and therefore I desired to suffer with Him.
The First Revelation
- Suddenly I saw the red blood trickle down from under the Garland hot and freshly and right plenteously, as it were in the time of His Passion when the Garland of thorns was pressed on His blessed head who was both God and Man, the same that suffered thus for me. I conceived truly and mightily that it was Himself shewed it me, without any mean.
And in the same Shewing suddenly the Trinity fulfilled my heart most of joy. And so I understood it shall be in heaven without end to all that shall come there. For the Trinity is God: God is the Trinity; the Trinity is our Maker and Keeper, the Trinity is our everlasting love and everlasting joy and bliss, by our Lord Jesus Christ. And this was shewed in the First and in all: for where Jesus appeareth, the blessed Trinity is understood, as to my sight.
- Through this sight of the blessed Passion, with the Godhead that I saw in mine understanding, I knew well that It was strength enough for me, yea, and for all creatures living, against all the fiends of hell and ghostly temptation.
- He brought our blessed Lady to my understanding. I saw her ghostly, in bodily likeness: a simple maid and a meek, young of age and little waxen above a child, in the stature that she was when she conceived.
- I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comfortable for us: He is our clothing that for love wrappeth us, claspeth us, and all encloseth us for tender love, that He may never leave us; being to us all-thing that is good, as to mine understanding.
- He shewed me a little thing, the quantity of an hazel-nut, in the palm of my hand; and it was as round as a ball. I looked thereupon with eye of my understanding, and thought: What may this be? And it was answered generally thus: It is all that is made. I marvelled how it might last, for methought it might suddenly have fallen to naught for little. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasteth, and ever shall for that God loveth it. And so All-thing hath the Being by the love of God.
- In this Little Thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loveth it, the third, that God keepeth it. But what is to me verily the Maker, the Keeper, and the Lover,—I cannot tell; for till I am Substantially oned to Him, I may never have full rest nor very bliss: that is to say, till I be so fastened to Him, that there is right nought that is made betwixt my God and me.
- It needeth us to have knowing of the littleness of creatures and to hold as nought all-thing that is made, for to love and have God that is unmade. For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those things that are so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is All-mighty, All-wise, All-good. For He is the Very Rest. God willeth to be known, and it pleaseth Him that we rest in Him; for all that is beneath Him sufficeth not us. And this is the cause why that no soul is rested till it is made nought as to all things that are made. When it is willingly made nought, for love, to have Him that is all, then is it able to receive spiritual rest.
- Also our Lord God shewed that it is full great pleasance to Him that a helpless soul come to Him simply and plainly and homely. For this is the natural yearnings of the soul, by the touching of the Holy Ghost (as by the understanding that I have in this Shewing): God, of Thy Goodness, give me Thyself: for Thou art enough to me, and I may nothing ask that is less that may be full worship to Thee; and if I ask anything that is less, ever me wanteth,—but only in Thee I have all.
And these words are full lovely to the soul, and full near touch they the will of God and His Goodness. For His Goodness comprehendeth all His creatures and all His blessed works, and overpasseth without end. For He is the endlessness, and He hath made us only to Himself, and restored us by His blessed Passion, and keepeth us in His blessed love; and all this of His Goodness.
- Then saw I truly that it is more worship to God, and more very delight, that we faithfully pray to Himself of His Goodness and cleave thereunto by His Grace, with true understanding, and steadfast by love, than if we took all the means that heart can think. For if we took all these means, it is too little, and not full worship to God: but in His Goodness is all the whole, and there faileth right nought.
- It pleaseth Him that we seek Him and worship through means, understanding that He is the Goodness of all.
For the Goodness of God is the highest prayer, and it cometh down to the lowest part of our need. It quickeneth our soul and bringeth it on life, and maketh it for to waxen in grace and virtue. It is nearest in nature; and readiest in grace: for it is the same grace that the soul seeketh, and ever shall seek till we know verily that He hath us all in Himself enclosed.
For He hath no despite of that He hath made, nor hath He any disdain to serve us at the simplest office that to our body belongeth in nature, for love of the soul that He hath made to His own likeness.
- As the body is clad in the cloth, and the flesh in the skin, and the bones in the flesh, and the heart in the whole, so are we, soul and body, clad in the Goodness of God, and enclosed. Yea, and more homely: for all these may waste and wear away, but the Goodness of God is ever whole; and more near to us, without any likeness; for truly our Lover desireth that our soul cleave to Him with all its might, and that we be evermore cleaving to His Goodness. For of all things that heart may think, this pleaseth most God, and soonest speedeth.
- Our soul is so specially loved of Him that is highest, that it overpasseth the knowing of all creatures: that is to say, there is no creature that is made that may know how much and how sweetly and how tenderly our Maker loveth us. And therefore we may with grace and His help stand in spiritual beholding, with everlasting marvel of this high, overpassing, inestimable Love that Almighty God hath to us of His Goodness. And therefore we may ask of our Lover with reverence all that we will.
For our natural Will is to have God, and the Good Will of God is to have us; and we may never cease from willing nor from longing till we have Him in fullness of joy: and then may we no more desire.
- This Shewing was quick and life-like, and horrifying and dreadful, sweet and lovely. And of all the sight it was most comfort to me that our God and Lord that is so reverend and dreadful, is so homely and courteous: and this most fulfilled me with comfort and assuredness of soul.
- Verily it is the most joy that may be, as to my sight, that He that is highest and mightiest, noblest and worthiest, is lowest and meekest, homeliest and most courteous: and truly and verily this marvellous joy shall be shewn us all when we see Him.
- This marvellous homeliness may no man fully see in this time of life, save he have it of special shewing of our Lord, or of great plenty of grace inwardly given of the Holy Ghost. But faith and belief with charity deserveth the meed: and so it is had, by grace; for in faith, with hope and charity, our life is grounded.
- Well I wot that heaven and earth and all that is made is great and large, fair and good; but the cause why it shewed so little to my sight was for that I saw it in the presence of Him that is the Maker of all things: for to a soul that seeth the Maker of all, all that is made seemeth full little.
- He that made all things for love, by the same love keepeth them, and shall keep them without end.
- God is all that is good, as to my sight, and the goodness that each thing hath, it is He.
- All these our Lord shewed me in the first Sight, with time and space to behold it. And the bodily sight stinted, but the spiritual sight dwelled in mine understanding, and I abode with reverent dread, joying in that I saw. And I desired, as I durst, to see more, if it were His will, or else longer time the same.
- In all this I was greatly stirred in charity to mine even-Christians, that they might see and know the same that I saw: for I would it were comfort to them. For all this Sight was shewed general. Then said I to them that were about me: It is to-day Doomsday with me. And this I said for that I thought to have died.
- I pray you all for God’s sake, and counsel you for your own profit, that ye leave the beholding of a poor creature that it was shewed to, and mightily, wisely, and meekly behold God that of His courteous love and endless goodness would shew it generally, in comfort of us all. For it is God’s will that ye take it with great joy and pleasance, as if Jesus had shewed it to you all.
- Because of the Shewing I am not good but if I love God the better: and in as much as ye love God the better, it is more to you than to me. I say not this to them that be wise, for they wot it well; but I say it to you that be simple, for ease and comfort: for we are all one in comfort. For truly it was not shewed me that God loved me better than the least soul that is in grace; for I am certain that there be many that never had Shewing nor sight but of the common teaching of Holy Church, that love God better than I. For if I look singularly to myself, I am right nought; but in general I am, I hope, in oneness of charity with all mine even-Christians.
- In this oneness standeth the life of all mankind that shall be saved. For God is all that is good, as to my sight, and God hath made all that is made, and God loveth all that He hath made: and he that loveth generally all his even-Christians for God, he loveth all that is. For in mankind that shall be saved is comprehended all: that is to say, all that is made and the Maker of all. For in man is God, and God is in all. And I hope by the grace of God he that beholdeth it thus shall be truly taught and mightily comforted, if he needeth comfort.
- I speak of them that shall be saved, for in this time God shewed me none other. But in all things I believe as Holy Church believeth, preacheth, and teacheth. For the Faith of Holy Church, the which I had aforehand understood and, as I hope, by the grace of God earnestly kept in use and custom, stood continually in my sight: willing and meaning never to receive anything that might be contrary thereunto. And with this intent I beheld the Shewing with all my diligence: for in all this blessed Shewing I beheld it as one in God’s meaning.
- All this was shewed by three: that is to say, by bodily sight, and by word formed in mine understanding, and by spiritual sight. But the spiritual sight I cannot nor may not shew it as openly nor as fully as I would. But I trust in our Lord God Almighty that He shall of His goodness, and for your love, make you to take it more spiritually and more sweetly than I can or may tell it.
The Second Revelation
- God willeth to be seen and to be sought: to be abided and to be trusted.
- This saw I bodily, troublously and darkly; and I desired more bodily sight, to have seen more clearly. And I was answered in my reason: If God will shew thee more, He shall be thy light: thee needeth none but Him. For I saw Him sought.
For we are now so blind and unwise that we never seek God till He of His goodness shew Himself to us. And when we aught see of Him graciously, then are we stirred by the same grace to seek with great desire to see Him more blissfully.
And thus I saw Him, and sought Him; and I had Him, I wanted Him. And this is, and should be, our common working in this, as to my sight.
- One time mine understanding was led down into the sea-ground, and there I saw hills and dales green, seeming as it were moss-be-grown, with wrack and gravel. Then I understood thus: that if a man or woman were under the broad water, if he might have sight of God so as God is with a man continually, he should be safe in body and soul, and take no harm: and overpassing, he should have more solace and comfort than all this world can tell. For He willeth we should believe that we see Him continually though that to us it seemeth but little; and in this belief He maketh us evermore to gain grace. For He will be seen and He will be sought: He will be abided and he will be trusted.
- And this vision was a learning, to mine understanding, that the continual seeking of the soul pleaseth God full greatly: for it may do no more than seek, suffer and trust. And this is wrought in the soul that hath it, by the Holy Ghost; and the clearness of finding, it is of His special grace, when it is His will. The seeking, with faith, hope, and charity, pleaseth our Lord, and the finding pleaseth the soul and fulfilleth it with joy. And thus was I learned, to mine understanding, that seeking is as good as beholding, for the time that He will suffer the soul to be in travail. It is God’s will that we seek Him, to the beholding of Him, for by that He shall shew us Himself of His special grace when He will.
- These are two workings that may be seen in this Vision: the one is seeking, the other is beholding.
- It is God’s will that we have three things in our seeking:—The first is that we seek earnestly and diligently, without sloth, and, as it may be through His grace, without unreasonable heaviness and vain sorrow. The second is, that we abide Him steadfastly for His love, without murmuring and striving against Him, to our life’s end: for it shall last but awhile. The third is that we trust in Him mightily of full assured faith. For it is His will that we know that He shall appear suddenly and blissfully to all that love Him.
For His working is privy, and He willeth to be perceived; and His appearing shall be swiftly sudden; and He willeth to be trusted. For He is full gracious and homely: Blessed may He be!
The Third Revelation
- All thing that is done, it is well done: for our Lord God doeth all.
- Sin is no deed.
- After this I saw God in a Point, that is to say, in mine understanding,—by which sight I saw that He is in all things.
- I beheld and considered, seeing and knowing in sight, with a soft dread, and thought: What is sin? For I saw truly that God doeth all-thing, be it never so little. And I saw truly that nothing is done by hap nor by adventure, but all things by the foreseeing wisdom of God: if it be hap or adventure in the sight of man, our blindness and our unforesight is the cause. For the things that are in the foreseeing wisdom of God from without beginning, (which rightfully and worshipfully and continually He leadeth to the best end,) as they come about fall to us suddenly, ourselves unwitting; and thus by our blindness and our unforesight we say: these be haps and adventures. But to our Lord God they be not so.
Wherefore me behoveth needs to grant that all-thing that is done, it is well-done: for our Lord God doeth all. For in this time the working of creatures was not shewed, but of our Lord God in the creature: for He is in the Mid-point of all thing, and all He doeth. And I was certain He doeth no sin.
- Here I saw verily that sin is no deed: for in all this was not sin shewed. And I would no longer marvel in this, but beheld our Lord, what He would shew.
And thus, as much as it might be for the time, the rightfulness of God’s working was shewed to the soul.
- Rightfulness hath two fair properties: it is right and it is full. And so are all the works of our Lord God: thereto needeth neither the working of mercy nor grace: for they be all rightful: wherein faileth nought.
- In another time He gave a Shewing for the beholding of sin nakedly, as I shall tell: where He useth working of mercy and grace.
And this vision was shewed, to mine understanding, for that our Lord would have the soul turned truly unto the beholding of Him, and generally of all His works. For they are full good; and all His doings are easy and sweet, and to great ease bringing the soul that is turned from the beholding of the blind Deeming of man unto the fair sweet Deeming of our Lord God. For a man beholdeth some deeds well done and some deeds evil, but our Lord beholdeth them not so: for as all that hath being in nature is of Godly making, so is all that is done, in property of God’s doing.
- It is easy to understand that the best deed is well done: and so well as the best deed is done—the highest—so well is the least deed done; and all thing in its property and in the order that our Lord hath ordained it to from without beginning. For there is no doer but He.
I saw full surely that he changeth never His purpose in no manner of thing, nor never shall, without end. For there was no thing unknown to Him in His rightful ordinance from without beginning. And therefore all-thing was set in order ere anything was made, as it should stand without end; and no manner of thing shall fail of that point.
- All this shewed He full blissfully, signifying thus: See! I am God: See! I am in all thing: See! I do all thing: See! I lift never mine hands off my works, nor ever shall, without end: See! I lead all thing to the end I ordained it to from without beginning, by the same Might, Wisdom and Love whereby I made it. How should any thing be amiss?
Thus mightily, wisely, and lovingly was the soul examined in this Vision. Then saw I soothly that me behoved, of need, to assent, with great reverence enjoying in God.
The Fourth Revelation
- After this I saw, beholding, the body plenteously bleeding in seeming of the Scourging, as thus:—The fair skin was broken full deep into the tender flesh with sharp smiting all about the sweet body. So plenteously the hot blood ran out that there was neither seen skin nor wound, but as it were all blood. And when it came where it should have fallen down, then it vanished.
Notwithstanding, the bleeding continued awhile: till it might be seen and considered.
- Behold and see! The precious plenty of His dearworthy blood descended down into Hell and burst her bands and delivered all that were there which belonged to the Court of Heaven. The precious plenty of His dearworthy blood overfloweth all Earth, and is ready to wash all creatures of sin, which be of goodwill, have been, and shall be. The precious plenty of His dearworthy blood ascended up into Heaven to the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and there is in Him, bleeding and praying for us to the Father,—and is, and shall be as long as it needeth;—and ever shall be as long as it needeth.
The Fifth Revelation
- The Enemy is overcome by the blessed Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- He, without voice and opening of lips, formed in my soul these words: Herewith is the Fiend overcome. These words said our Lord, meaning His blessed Passion as He shewed it afore.
On this shewed our Lord that the Passion of Him is the overcoming of the Fiend. God shewed that the Fiend hath now the same malice that he had afore the Incarnation. And as sore he travaileth, and as continually he seeth that all souls of salvation escape him, worshipfully, by the virtue of Christ’s precious Passion. And that is his sorrow, and full evil is he ashamed: for all that God suffereth him to do turneth us to joy and him to shame and woe. And he hath as much sorrow when God giveth him leave to work, as when he worketh not: and that is for that he may never do as ill as he would: for his might is all taken into God’s hand.
- In God there may be no wrath, as to my sight: for our good Lord endlessly hath regard to His own worship and to the profit of all that shall be saved. With might and right He withstandeth the Reproved, the which of malice and wickedness busy them to contrive and to do against God’s will. Also I saw our Lord scorn his malice and set at nought his unmight; and He willeth that we do so. For this sight I laughed mightily, and that made them to laugh that were about me, and their laughing was a pleasure to me.
- But I saw not Christ laugh. For I understood that we may laugh in comforting of ourselves and joying in God for that the devil is overcome. And when I saw Him scorn his malice, it was by leading of mine understanding into our Lord: that is to say, it was an inward shewing of verity, without changing of look. For, as to my sight, it is a worshipful property of God’s that is ever the same.
- After this I fell into a graveness, and said: I see three things: I see game, scorn, and earnest. I see game, in that the Fiend is overcome; I see scorn, in that God scorneth him, and he shall be scorned; and I see earnest, in that he is overcome by the blissful Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ that was done in full earnest and with sober travail.
The Sixth Revelation
- The age of every man shall be acknowledged before him in Heaven, and every man shall be rewarded for his willing service and for his time.
- Mine understanding was lifted up into Heaven where I saw our Lord as a lord in his own house, which hath called all his dearworthy servants and friends to a stately feast. Then I saw the Lord take no place in His own house, but I saw Him royally reign in His house, fulfilling it with joy and mirth, Himself endlessly to gladden and to solace His dearworthy friends, full homely and full courteously, with marvellous melody of endless love, in His own fair blessed Countenance. Which glorious Countenance of the Godhead fulfilleth the Heavens with joy and bliss.
- God shewed three degrees of bliss that every soul shall have in Heaven that willingly hath served God in any degree in earth. The first is the worshipful thanks of our Lord God that he shall receive when he is delivered of pain. This thanking is so high and so worshipful that the soul thinketh it filleth him though there were no more. For methought that all the pain and travail that might be suffered by all living men might not deserve the worshipful thanks that one man shall have that willingly hath served God. The second is that all the blessed creatures that are in Heaven shall see that worshipful thanking, and He maketh his service known to all that are in Heaven. And here this example was shewed.—A king, if he thank his servants, it is a great worship to them, and if he maketh it known to all the realm, then is the worship greatly increased.—The third is, that as new and as gladdening as it is received in that time, right so shall it last without end.
- I saw that homely and sweetly was this shewed, and that the age of every man shall be known in Heaven, and shall be rewarded for his willing service and for his time. And specially the age of them that willingly and freely offer their youth unto God, passingly is rewarded and wonderfully is thanked.
For I saw that whene’er what time a man or woman is truly turned to God,—for one day’s service and for his endless will he shall have all these three decrees of bliss. And the more the loving soul seeth this courtesy of God, the liefer he is to serve him all the days of his life.
The Seventh Revelation
- After this He shewed a sovereign ghostly pleasance in my soul. I was fulfilled with the everlasting sureness, mightily sustained without any painful dread. This feeling was so glad and so ghostly that I was in all peace and in rest, that there was nothing in earth that should have grieved me.
This lasted but a while, and I was turned and left to myself in heaviness, and weariness of my life, and irksomeness of myself, that scarcely I could have patience to live. There was no comfort nor none ease to me but faith, hope, and charity; and these I had in truth, but little in feeling.
And anon after this our blessed Lord gave me again the comfort and the rest in soul, in satisfying and sureness so blissful and so mighty that no dread, no sorrow, no pain bodily that might be suffered should have distressed me. And then the pain shewed again to my feeling, and then the joy and the pleasing, and now that one, and now that other, divers times—I suppose about twenty times. And in the time of joy I might have said with Saint Paul: Nothing shall dispart me from the charity of Christ; and in the pain I might have said with Peter: Lord, save me: I perish!
- This Vision was shewed me, according to mine understanding, that it is speedful to some souls to feel on this wise: sometime to be in comfort, and sometime to fail and to be left to themselves. God willeth that we know that He keepeth us even alike secure in woe and in weal. And for profit of man’s soul, a man is sometime left to himself; although sin is not always the cause: for in this time I sinned not wherefore I should be left to myself—for it was so sudden. Also I deserved not to have this blessed feeling. But freely our Lord giveth when He will; and suffereth us in woe sometime. And both is one love.
- It is God’s will that we hold us in comfort with all our might: for bliss is lasting without end, and pain is passing and shall be brought to nought for them that shall be saved. And therefore it is not God’s will that we follow the feelings of pain in sorrow and mourning for them, but that we suddenly pass over, and hold us in endless enjoyment.
The Eighth Revelation
- After this Christ shewed a part of His Passion near His dying.
I saw His sweet face as it were dry and bloodless with pale dying. And later, more pale, dead, languoring; and then turned more dead unto blue; and then more brown-blue, as the flesh turned more deeply dead. For His Passion shewed to me most specially in His blessed face (and chiefly in His lips): there I saw these four colours, though it were afore fresh, ruddy, and pleasing, to my sight. This was a pitiful change to see, this deep dying.
- Bloodlessness and pain dried within; and blowing of wind and cold coming from without met together in the sweet body of Christ. And these four,—twain without, and twain within—dried the flesh of Christ by process of time. And though this pain was bitter and sharp, it was full long lasting, as to my sight, and painfully dried up all the lively spirits of Christ’s flesh. Thus I saw the sweet flesh dry in seeming by part after part, with marvellous pains. And as long as any spirit had life in Christ’s flesh, so long suffered He pain.
- And in this dying was brought to my mind the words of Christ: I thirst.
For I saw in Christ a double thirst: one bodily; another spiritual...
- I saw four manner of dryings: the first was bloodlessness; the second was pain following after; the third, hanging up in the air, as men hang a cloth to dry; the fourth, that the bodily Kind asked liquid and there was no manner of comfort ministered to Him in all His woe and distress. Ah! hard and grievous was his pain, but much more hard and grievous it was when the moisture failed and began to dry thus, shrivelling.
These were the pains that shewed in the blessed head: the first wrought to the dying, while it had moisture; and that other, slow, with shrinking drying, with blowing of the wind from without, that dried and pained Him with cold more than mine heart can think.
And other pains—for which pains I saw that all is too little that I can say: for it may not be told. The which Shewing of Christ’s pains filled me full of pain. For I wist well He suffered but once, but He would shew it me and fill me with mind as I had afore desired. And in all this time of Christ’s pains I felt no pain but for Christ’s pains. Then thought-me: I knew but little what pain it was that I asked; and, as a wretch, repented me, thinking: If I had wist what it had been, loth me had been to have prayed it. For methought it passed bodily death, my pains.
I thought: Is any pain like this? And I was answered in my reason: Hell is another pain: for there is despair. But of all pains that lead to salvation this is the most pain, to see thy Love suffer. How might any pain be more to me than to see Him that is all my life, all my bliss, and all my joy, suffer? Here felt I soothfastly that I loved Christ so much above myself that there was no pain that might be suffered like to that sorrow that I had to Him in pain.
- Here I saw a part of the compassion of our Lady, Saint Mary: for Christ and she were so oned in love that the greatness of her loving was cause of the greatness of her pain. For in this I saw a Substance of Nature’s Love, continued by Grace, that creatures have to Him: which Kind Love was most fully shewed in His sweet Mother, and overpassing; for so much as she loved Him more than all other, her pains passed all other. For ever the higher, the mightier, the sweeter that the love be, the more sorrow it is to the lover to see that body in pain that is loved.
And all His disciples and all His true lovers suffered pains more than their own bodily dying. For I am sure by mine own feeling that the least of them loved Him so far above himself that it passeth all that I can say.
- Here saw I a great oneing betwixt Christ and us, to mine understanding: for when He was in pain, we were in pain.
And all creatures that might suffer pain, suffered with Him: that is to say, all creatures that God hath made to our service. The firmament, the earth, failed for sorrow in their Nature in the time of Christ’s dying. For it belongeth naturally to their property to know Him for their God, in whom all their virtue standeth: when He failed, then behoved it needs to them, because of kindness, to fail with Him, as much as they might, for sorrow of His pains.
- God that of His goodness maketh the planets and the elements to work of Kind to the blessed man and the cursed, in that time made withdrawing of it from both; wherefore it was that they that knew Him not were in sorrow that time.
Thus was our Lord Jesus made-naught for us; and all we stand in this manner made-naught with Him, and shall do till we come to His bliss: as I shall tell after.
- I would have looked up from the Cross, but I durst not. For I wist well that while I beheld in the Cross I was surely-safe; therefore I would not assent to put my soul in peril: for away from the Cross was no sureness, for frighting of fiends.
- This hath ever been a comfort to me, that I chose Jesus to my Heaven, by His grace, in all this time of Passion and sorrow; and that hath been a learning to me that I should evermore do so: choose only Jesus to my Heaven in weal and woe.
- I saw verily that the inward part is master and sovereign to the outward, and doth not charge itself with, nor take heed to, the will of that: but all the intent and will is set to be oned unto our Lord Jesus. That the outward part should draw the inward to assent was not shewed to me; but that the inward draweth the outward by grace, and both shall be oned in bliss without end, by the virtue of Christ,—this was shewed.
- Thus I saw our Lord Jesus languoring long time. For the oneing with the Godhead gave strength to the manhood for love to suffer more than all men might suffer: I mean not only more pain than all men might suffer, but also that He suffered more pain than all men of salvation that ever were from the first beginning unto the last day might tell or fully think, having regard to the worthiness of the highest worshipful King and the shameful, despised, painful death. For He that is highest and worthiest was most fully made-nought and most utterly despised.
- As much as He was most tender and pure, right so He was most strong and mighty to suffer.
And for every man’s sin that shall be saved He suffered: and every man’s sorrow and desolation He saw, and sorrowed for Kindness and love.
- For as long as He was passible He suffered for us and sorrowed for us; and now He is uprisen and no more passible, yet He suffereth with us.
- It is God’s will, as to mine understanding, that we have Three Manners of Beholding His blessed Passion. The First is: the hard Pain that He suffered,— with contrition and compassion. And that shewed our Lord in this time, and gave me strength and grace to see it.
- The changing of His blessed Countenance changed mine, and I was as glad and merry as it was possible. Then brought our Lord merrily to my mind: Where is now any point of the pain, or of thy grief? And I was full merry.
- Here saw I verily that if He shewed now us His Blissful Cheer, there is no pain in earth or in other place that should aggrieve us; but all things should be to us joy and bliss.
- The cause why He suffereth is for He will of His goodness make us the higher with Him in His bliss; and for this little pain that we suffer here, we shall have an high endless knowing in God which we could never have without that.
The Ninth Revelation
- Then said our good Lord Jesus Christ: Art thou well pleased that I suffered for thee? I said: Yea, good Lord, I thank Thee; Yea, good Lord, blessed mayst Thou be.
Then said Jesus, our kind Lord: If thou art pleased, I am pleased: it is a joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me that ever suffered I Passion for thee; and if I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
- My understanding was lifted up into Heaven, and there I saw three heavens: of which sight I marvelled greatly. And though I see three heavens—and all in the blessed manhood of Christ—none is more, none is less, none is higher, none is lower, but even-like in bliss.
- This that I say is so great bliss to Jesus that He setteth at nought all His travail, and His hard Passion, and His cruel and shameful death.
And in these words: If that I might suffer more, I would suffer more,—I saw in truth that as often as He might die, so often He would, and love should never let Him have rest till He had done it. And I beheld with great diligence for to learn how often He would die if He might. And verily the number passed mine understanding and my wits so far that my reason might not, nor could, comprehend it. And when He had thus oft died, or should, yet He would set it at nought, for love: for all seemeth Him but little in regard of His love.
- For though the sweet manhood of Christ might suffer but once, the goodness in Him may never cease of proffer: every day He is ready to the same, if it might be. For if He said He would for my love make new Heavens and new Earth, it were but little in comparison; for this might be done every day if He would, without any travail. But to die for my love so often that the number passeth creature’s reason, it is the highest proffer that our Lord God might make to man’s soul, as to my sight. Then meaneth He thus: How should it not be that I should not do for thy love all that I might of deeds which grieve me not, sith I would, for thy love, die so often, having no regard to my hard pains?
- The love that made Him to suffer passeth as far all His pains as Heaven is above Earth.
- Love was without beginning, is, and shall be without ending. For which love He said full sweetly these words: If I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
- In these three words: It is a Joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me, were shewed three heavens, as thus: For the joy, I understood the pleasure of the Father; and for the bliss, the worship of the Son; and for the endless satisfying, the Holy Ghost. The Father is pleased, the Son is worshipped, the Holy Ghost is satisfied.
- Christ said: If thou art pleased, then am I pleased;—as if He said: It is joy and satisfying enough to me, and I ask nought else of thee for my travail but that I might well please thee.
And in this He brought to mind the property of a glad giver. A glad giver taketh but little heed of the thing that he giveth, but all his desire and all his intent is to please him and solace him to whom he giveth it. And if the receiver take the gift highly and thankfully, then the courteous giver setteth at nought all his cost and all his travail, for joy and delight that he hath pleased and solaced him that he loveth. Plenteously and fully was this shewed.
The Tenth Revelation
- Then with a glad cheer our Lord looked unto His Side and beheld, rejoicing. With His sweet looking He led forth the understanding of His creature by the same wound into His Side within. And then he shewed a fair, delectable place, and large enough for all mankind that shall be saved to rest in peace and in love. And therewith He brought to mind His dearworthy blood and precious water which he let pour all out for love. And with the sweet beholding He shewed His blessed heart even cloven in two.
- Also, for more understanding, this blessed word was said: Lo, how I loved thee! Behold and see that I loved thee so much ere I died for thee that I would die for thee; and now I have died for thee and suffered willingly that which I may. And now is all my bitter pain and all my hard travail turned to endless joy and bliss to me and to thee. How should it now be that thou shouldst anything pray that pleaseth me but that I should full gladly grant it thee? For my pleasing is thy holiness and thine endless joy and bliss with me.
This is the understanding, simply as I can say it, of this blessed word: Lo, how I loved thee. This shewed our good Lord for to make us glad and merry.
The Eleventh Revelation
- With this same cheer of mirth and joy our good Lord looked down on the right side and brought to my mind where our Lady stood in the time of His Passion; and said: Wilt thou see her?
- After Himself she is the most blissful sight.
But hereof am I not learned to long to see her bodily presence while I am here, but the virtues of her blessed soul: her truth, her wisdom, her charity; whereby I may learn to know myself and reverently dread my God. And when our good Lord had shewed this and said this word: Wilt thou see her? I answered and said: Yea, good Lord, I thank Thee; yea, good Lord, if it be Thy will. Oftentimes I prayed this, and I weened to have seen her in bodily presence, but I saw her not so. And Jesus in that word shewed me ghostly sight of her: right as I had seen her afore little and simple, so He shewed her then high and noble and glorious, and pleasing to Him above all creatures.
And He willeth that it be known; that all those that please them in Him should please them in her, and in the pleasance that He hath in her and she in Him.
- And in this word that Jesus said: Wilt thou see her? methought it was the most pleasing word that He might have given me of her, with that ghostly Shewing that He gave me of her. For our Lord shewed me nothing in special but our Lady Saint Mary; and her He shewed three times. The first was as she was with Child; the second was as she was in her sorrows under the Cross; the third is as she is now in pleasing, worship, and joy.
The Twelfth Revelation
- After this our Lord shewed Himself more glorified, as to my sight, than I saw Him before wherein I was learned that our soul shall never have rest till it cometh to Him, knowing that He is fulness of joy, homely and courteous, blissful and very life.
Our Lord Jesus oftentimes said: I IT AM, I IT AM: I IT AM that is highest, I IT AM that thou lovest, I IT AM that thou enjoyest, I IT AM that thou servest, I IT AM that thou longest for, I IT AM that thou desirest, I IT AM that thou meanest, I IT AM that is all. I IT AM that Holy Church preacheth and teacheth thee, I IT AM that shewed me here to thee. The number of the words passeth my wit and all my understanding and all my powers. And they are the highest, as to my sight: for therein is comprehended—I cannot tell,—but the joy that I saw in the Shewing of them passeth all that heart may wish for and soul may desire. Therefore the words be not declared here; but every man after the grace that God giveth him in understanding and loving, receive them in our Lord’s meaning.
The Thirteenth Revelation
- Sin is behovable—; but all shall be well
- In my folly, afore this time often I wondered why by the great foreseeing wisdom of God the beginning of sin was not letted: for then, methought, all should have been well. This stirring was much to be forsaken, but nevertheless mourning and sorrow I made therefor, without reason and discretion.
But Jesus, who in this Vision informed me of all that is needful to me, answered by this word and said: It behoved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
- In this naked word sin, our Lord brought to my mind, generally, all that is not good, and the shameful despite and the utter noughting that He bare for us in this life, and His dying; and all the pains and passions of all His creatures, ghostly and bodily; (for we be all partly noughted, and we shall be noughted following our Master, Jesus, till we be full purged, that is to say, till we be fully noughted of our deadly flesh and of all our inward affections which are not very good;) and the beholding of this, with all pains that ever were or ever shall be,—and with all these I understand the Passion of Christ for most pain, and overpassing. All this was shewed in a touch and quickly passed over into comfort: for our good Lord would not that the soul were affeared of this terrible sight.
But I saw not sin: for I believe it hath no manner of substance nor no part of being, nor could it be known but by the pain it is cause of.
And thus pain, it is something, as to my sight, for a time; for it purgeth, and maketh us to know ourselves and to ask mercy. For the Passion of our Lord is comfort to us against all this, and so is His blessed will.
- And for the tender love that our good Lord hath to all that shall be saved, He comforteth readily and sweetly, signifying thus: It is sooth that sin is cause of all this pain; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
These words were said full tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any that shall be saved. Then were it a great unkindness to blame or wonder on God for my sin, since He blameth not me for sin.
And in these words I saw a marvellous high mystery hid in God, which mystery He shall openly make known to us in Heaven: in which knowing we shall verily see the cause why He suffered sin to come. In which sight we shall endlessly joy in our Lord God.
- Thus I saw how Christ hath compassion on us for the cause of sin.
- To this our Lord answered in this manner: A great thing shall I make hereof in Heaven of endless worship and everlasting joys.
- Yea, so far forth I saw, that our Lord joyeth of the tribulations of His servants, with ruth and compassion. On each person that He loveth, to His bliss for to bring, He layeth something that is no blame in His sight, whereby they are blamed and despised in this world, scorned, mocked, and outcasted. And this He doeth for to hinder the harm that they should take from the pomp and the vain-glory of this wretched life, and make their way ready to come to Heaven, and up-raise them in His bliss everlasting. For He saith: I shall wholly break you of your vain affections and your vicious pride; and after that I shall together gather you, and make you mild and meek, clean and holy, by oneing to me.
- 'Each brotherly compassion that man hath on his fellow Christians, with charity, it is Christ in him.
- Variant: Each kind compassion that man hath on his even-Christians with charity, it is Christ in him.
- That same noughting that was shewed in His Passion, it was shewed again here in this Compassion. Wherein were two manner of understandings in our Lord’s meaning. The one was the bliss that we are brought to, wherein He willeth that we rejoice. The other is for comfort in our pain: for He willeth that we perceive that it shall all be turned to worship and profit by virtue of His passion, that we perceive that we suffer not alone but with Him, and see Him to be our Ground, and that we see His pains and His noughting passeth so far all that we may suffer, that it may not be fully thought.
The beholding of this will save us from murmuring and despair in the feeling of our pains. And if we see soothly that our sin deserveth it, yet His love excuseth us, and of His great courtesy He doeth away all our blame, and beholdeth us with ruth and pity as children innocent and unloathful.
- But in this I stood beholding things general, troublously and mourning, saying thus to our Lord in my meaning, with full great dread: Ah! good Lord, how might all be well, for the great hurt that is come, by sin, to the creature? And here I desired, as far as I durst, to have some more open declaring wherewith I might be eased in this matter.
- He taught that I should behold the glorious Satisfaction : for this Amends-making is more pleasing to God and more worshipful, without comparison, than ever was the sin of Adam harmful. Then signifieth our blessed Lord thus in this teaching, that we should take heed to this: For since I have made well the most harm, then it is my will that thou know thereby that I shall make well all that is less.
- He gave me understanding of two parts. The one part is our Saviour and our salvation. This blessed part is open and clear and fair and light, and plenteous,—for all mankind that is of good will, and shall be, is comprehended in this part.
- In this willeth our Lord that we be occupied, joying in Him; for He enjoyeth in us. The more plenteously that we take of this, with reverence and meekness, the more thanks we earn of Him and the more speed to ourselves, thus—may we say—enjoying our part of our Lord. The other is hid and shut up from us: that is to say, all that is beside our salvation.
- The saints that be in Heaven, they will to know nothing but that which our Lord willeth to shew them: and also their charity and their desire is ruled after the will of our Lord: and thus ought we to will, like to them. Then shall we nothing will nor desire but the will of our Lord, as they do: for we are all one in God’s seeing.
- And thus our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts that I might make, saying full comfortably: I may make all thing well, I can make all thing well, I will make all thing well, and I shall make all thing well; and thou shalt see thyself that all manner of thing shall be well.
- Thus shall the Spiritual Thirst of Christ have an end. For this is the Spiritual Thirst of Christ: the love-longing that lasteth, and ever shall, till we see that sight on Doomsday. For we that shall be saved and shall be Christ’s joy and His bliss, some be yet here and some be to come, and so shall some be, unto that day. Therefore this is His thirst and love-longing, to have us altogether whole in Him, to His bliss,—as to my sight. For we be not now as fully whole in Him as we shall be then.
- Verily as there is a property in God of ruth and pity, so verily there is a property in God of thirst and longing. (And of the virtue of this longing in Christ, we have to long again to Him: without which no soul cometh to Heaven.) And this property of longing and thirst cometh of the endless Goodness of God, even as the property of pity cometh of His endless Goodness. And though longing and pity are two sundry properties, as to my sight, in this standeth the point of the Spiritual Thirst: which is desire in Him as long as we be in need, drawing us up to His bliss. And all this was seen in the Shewing of Compassion: for that shall cease on Doomsday.
Thus He hath ruth and compassion on us, and He hath longing to have us; but His wisdom and His love suffereth not the end to come till the best time.
- One time our good Lord said: All thing shall be well; and another time he said: Thou shalt see thyself that all MANNER of thing shall be well; and in these two the soul took sundry understandings. One was that He willeth we know that not only He taketh heed to noble things and to great, but also to little and to small, to low and to simple, to one and to other. And so meaneth He in that He saith: ALL MANNER OF THINGS shall be well. For He willeth we know that the least thing shall not be forgotten.
- Another understanding is this, that there be deeds evil done in our sight, and so great harms taken, that it seemeth to us that it were impossible that ever it should come to good end. And upon this we look, sorrowing and mourning therefor, so that we cannot resign us unto the blissful beholding of God as we should do. And the cause of this is that the use of our reason is now so blind, so low, and so simple, that we cannot know that high marvellous Wisdom, the Might and the Goodness of the blissful Trinity. And thus signifieth He when He saith: THOU SHALT SEE THYSELF if all manner of things shall be well. As if He said: Take now heed faithfully and trustingly, and at the last end thou shalt verily see it in fulness of joy.
- Thus in these same five words aforesaid: I may make all things well, etc., I understand a mighty comfort of all the works of our Lord God that are yet to come. There is a Deed the which the blessed Trinity shall do in the last Day, as to my sight, and when the Deed shall be, and how it shall be done, is unknown of all creatures that are beneath Christ, and shall be till when it is done.
- The cause why He willeth that we know, is for that He would have us the more eased in our soul and set at peace in love—leaving the beholding of all troublous things that might keep us back from true enjoying of Him. This is that Great Deed ordained of our Lord God from without beginning, treasured and hid in His blessed breast, only known to Himself: by which He shall make all things well.
For like as the blissful Trinity made all things of nought, right so the same blessed Trinity shall make well all that is not well.
- Our Faith is grounded in God’s word, and it belongeth to our Faith that we believe that God’s word shall be saved in all things; and one point of our Faith is that many creatures shall be condemned: as angels that fell out of Heaven for pride, which be now fiends; and man in earth that dieth out of the Faith of Holy Church: that is to say, they that be heathen men; and also man that hath received christendom and liveth unchristian life and so dieth out of charity: all these shall be condemned to hell without end, as Holy Church teacheth me to believe. And all this standing, methought it was impossible that all manner of things should be well, as our Lord shewed in the same time.
And as to this I had no other answer in Shewing of our Lord God but this: That which is impossible to thee is not impossible to me: I shall save my word in all things and I shall make all things well. Thus I was taught, by the grace of God, that I should steadfastly hold me in the Faith as I had aforehand understood, therewith that I should firmly believe that all things shall be well, as our Lord shewed in the same time.
For this is the Great Deed that our Lord shall do, in which Deed He shall save His word and He shall make all well that is not well. How it shall be done there is no creature beneath Christ that knoweth it, nor shall know it till it is done; according to the understanding that I took of our Lord’s meaning in this time.
- And yet in this I desired, as far as I durst, that I might have full sight of Hell and Purgatory. But it was not my meaning to make proof of anything that belongeth to the Faith: for I believed soothfastly that Hell and Purgatory is for the same end that Holy Church teacheth, but my meaning was that I might have seen, for learning in all things that belong to my Faith: whereby I might live the more to God’s worship and to my profit.
But for my desire, I could of this right nought, save as it is aforesaid in the First Shewing, where I saw that the devil is reproved of God and endlessly condemned. In which sight I understood as to all creatures that are of the devil’s condition in this life, and therein end, that there is no more mention made of them afore God and all His Holy than of the devil,—notwithstanding that they be of mankind—whether they be christened or not.
- It is God’s will that we have great regard to all His deeds that He hath done, but evermore it needeth us to leave the beholding what the Deed shall be.
- Let us desire to be like our brethren which be saints in Heaven, that will right nought but God’s will and are well pleased both with hiding and with shewing. For I saw soothly in our Lord’s teaching, the more we busy us to know His secret counsels in this or any other thing, the farther shall we be from the knowing thereof.
- Our Lord God shewed two manner of secret things. One is this great Secret with all the privy points that belong thereto: and these secret things He willeth we should know hid until the time that He will clearly shew them to us. The other are the secret things that He willeth to make open and known to us; for He would have us understand that it is His will that we should know them. They are secrets to us not only for that He willeth that they be secrets to us, but they are secrets to us for our blindness and our ignorance; and thereof He hath great ruth, and therefore He will Himself make them more open to us, whereby we may know Him and love Him and cleave to Him. For all that is speedful for us to learn and to know, full courteously will our Lord shew us.
- He is the Ground, He is the Substance, He is the Teaching, He is the Teacher, He is the End, He is the Meed for which every kind soul travaileth.
And this is known, and shall be known to every soul to which the Holy Ghost declareth it. And I hope truly that all those that seek this, He shall speed: for they seek God.
All this that I have now told, and more that I shall tell after, is comforting against sin. For in the Third Shewing when I saw that God doeth all that is done, I saw no sin: and then I saw that all is well. But when God shewed me for sin, then said He: All SHALL be well.
- When God Almighty had shewed so plenteously and joyfully of His Goodness, I desired to learn assuredly as to a certain creature that I loved, if it should continue in good living, which I hoped by the grace of God was begun. And in this desire for a singular Shewing, it seemed that I hindered myself: for I was not taught in this time. And then was I answered in my reason, as it were by a friendly intervenor : Take it GENERALLY, and behold the graciousness of the Lord God as He sheweth to thee: for it is more worship to God to behold Him in all than in any special thing. And therewith I learned that it is more worship to God to know all-thing in general, than to take pleasure in any special thing. And if I should do wisely according to this teaching, I should not only be glad for nothing in special, but I should not be greatly distressed for no manner of thing : for ALL shall be well. For the fulness of joy is to behold God in all: for by the same blessed Might, Wisdom, and Love, that He made all-thing, to the same end our good Lord leadeth it continually, and thereto Himself shall bring it; and when it is time we shall see it.
- All that our Lord doeth is rightful, and that which He suffereth is worshipful: and in these two is comprehended good and ill: for all that is good our Lord doeth, and that which is evil our Lord suffereth. I say not that any evil is worshipful, but I say the sufferance of our Lord God is worshipful: whereby His Goodness shall be known, without end, in His marvellous meekness and mildness, by the working of mercy and grace.
- Rightfulness is that thing that is so good that may not be better than it is. For God Himself is very Rightfulness, and all His works are done rightfully as they are ordained from without beginning by His high Might, His high Wisdom, His high Goodness. And right as He ordained unto the best, right so He worketh continually, and leadeth it to the same end; and He is ever full-pleased with Himself and with all His works.
And the beholding of this blissful accord is full sweet to the soul that seeth by grace.
- Mercy is a working that cometh of the goodness of God, and it shall last in working all along, as sin is suffered to pursue rightful souls. And when sin hath no longer leave to pursue, then shall the working of mercy cease, and then shall all be brought to rightfulness and therein stand without end.
And by His sufferance we fall; and in His blissful Love with His Might and His Wisdom we are kept; and by mercy and grace we are raised to manifold more joys.
Thus in Rightfulness and Mercy He willeth to be known and loved, now and without end. And the soul that wisely beholdeth it in grace, it is well pleased with both, and endlessly enjoyeth.
- Our Lord God shewed that a deed shall be done, and Himself shall do it, and I shall do nothing but sin, and my sin shall not hinder His Goodness working.
- This deed shall be begun here, and it shall be worshipful to God and plenteously profitable to His lovers in earth; and ever as we come to Heaven we shall see it in marvellous joy, and it shall last thus in working unto the last Day; and the worship and the bliss of it shall last in Heaven afore God and all His Holy for ever.
Thus was this deed seen and understood in our Lord’s signifying: and the cause why He shewed it is to make us rejoice in Him and in all His works.
- But what this deed should be was kept secret from me.
And in this I saw that He willeth not that we dread to know the things that He sheweth: He sheweth them because He would have us know them; by which knowing He would have us love Him and have pleasure and endlessly enjoy in Him. For the great love that He hath to us He sheweth us all that is worshipful and profitable for the time.
- This is the understanding of this word:—That it shall be done for me, meaneth that it shall be done for the general Man: that is to say, all that shall be saved. It shall be worshipful and marvellous and plenteous, and God Himself shall do it; and this shall be the highest joy that may be, to behold the deed that God Himself shall do, and man shall do right nought but sin. Then signifieth our Lord God thus, as if He said: Behold and see! Here hast thou matter of meekness, here hast thou matter of love, here hast thou matter to make nought of thyself, here hast thou matter to enjoy in me;—and, for my love, enjoy in me: for of all things, therewith mightest thou please me most.
- As long as we are in this life, what time that we by our folly turn us to the beholding of the reproved, tenderly our Lord God toucheth us and blissfully calleth us, saying in our soul: Let be all thy love, my dearworthy child: turn thee to me—I am enough to thee—and enjoy in thy Saviour and in thy salvation. And that this is our Lord’s working in us, I am sure the soul that hath understanding therein by grace shall see it and feel it.
- Though it be so that this deed be truly taken for the general Man, yet it excludeth not the special. For what our good Lord will do by His poor creatures, it is now unknown to me.
But this deed and that other aforesaid, they are not both one but two sundry. This deed shall be done sooner (and that shall be as we come to Heaven), and to whom our Lord giveth it, it may be known here in part. But that Great Deed aforesaid shall neither be known in Heaven nor earth till it is done.
- He gave special understanding and teaching of working of miracles, as thus:—It is known that I have done miracles here afore, many and diverse, high and marvellous, worshipful and great. And so as I have done, I do now continually, and shall do in coming of time.
- It is known that afore miracles come sorrow and anguish and tribulation ; and that is for that we should know our own feebleness and our mischiefs that we are fallen in by sin, to meeken us and make us to dread God and cry for help and grace. Miracles come after that, and they come of the high Might, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, shewing His virtue and the joys of Heaven so far at it may be in this passing life: and that to strengthen our faith and to increase our hope, in charity. Wherefore it pleaseth Him to be known and worshipped in miracles. Then signifieth He thus: He willeth that we be not borne over low for sorrow and tempests that fall to us: for it hath ever so been afore miracle-coming.
- “My sin shall not hinder His Goodness working. . . . A deed shall be done — as we come to Heaven — and it may be known here in part; — though it be truly taken for the general Man, yet it excludeth not the special. For what our good Lord will do by His poor creatures, it is now unknown to me”
“In every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall.”—“For failing of Love on our part, therefore is all our travail”
- God brought to my mind that I should sin. And for pleasance that I had in beholding of Him, I attended not readily to that shewing; and our Lord full mercifully abode, and gave me grace to attend. And this shewing I took singularly to myself; but by all the gracious comfort that followeth, as ye shall see, I was learned to take it for all mine even-Christians: all in general and nothing in special: though our Lord shewed me that I should sin, by me alone is understood all.
And therein I conceived a soft dread. And to this our Lord answered: I keep thee full surely. This word was said with more love and secureness and spiritual keeping than I can or may tell.
- What may make me more to love mine even-Christians than to see in God that He loveth all that shall be saved as it were all one soul?
For in every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall. Right as there is a beastly will in the lower part that may will no good, right so there is a Godly Will in the higher part, which will is so good that it may never will evil, but ever good. And therefore we are that which He loveth and endlessly we do that which Him pleaseth.
- This shewed our Lord in the wholeness of love that we stand in, in His sight: yea, that He loveth us now as well while we are here, as He shall do while we are there afore His blessed face. But for failing love on our part, therefore is all our travail.
- Also God shewed that sin shall be no shame to man, but worship. For right as to every sin is answering a pain by truth, right so for every sin, to the same soul is given a bliss by love: right as diverse sins are punished with diverse pains according as they be grievous, right so shall they be rewarded with diverse joys in Heaven according as they have been painful and sorrowful to the soul in earth. For the soul that shall come to Heaven is precious to God, and the place so worshipful that the goodness of God suffereth never that soul to sin that shall come there without that the which sin shall be rewarded; and it is made known without end, and blissfully restored by overpassing worship.
- In this Sight mine understanding was lifted up into Heaven, and then God brought merrily to my mind David, and others in the Old Law without number; and in the New Law He brought to my mind first Mary Magdalene, Peter and Paul, and those of Inde; and Saint John of Beverley ; and others also without number: how they are known in the Church in earth with their sins, and it is to them no shame, but all is turned for them to worship. And therefore our courteous Lord sheweth for them here in part like as it is there in fulness: for there the token of sin is turned to worship.
- All this was to make us glad and merry in love.
- Sin is the sharpest scourge that any chosen soul may be smitten with: which scourge thoroughly beateth man and woman, and maketh him hateful in his own sight, so far forth that afterwhile he thinketh himself he is not worthy but as to sink in hell,—till when contrition taketh him by touching of the Holy Ghost, and turneth the bitterness into hopes of God’s mercy.
- Full preciously our Lord keepeth us when it seemeth to us that we are near forsaken and cast away for our sin and because we have deserved it. And because of meekness that we get hereby, we are raised well-high in God’s sight by His grace, with so great contrition, and also compassion, and true longing to God. Then they be suddenly delivered from sin and from pain, and taken up to bliss, and made even high saints.
- By contrition we are made clean, by compassion we are made ready, and by true longing toward God we are made worthy. These are three means, as I understand, whereby that all souls come to heaven: that is to say, that have been sinners in earth and shall be saved: for by these three medicines it behoveth that every soul be healed.
- As we be punished here with sorrow and penance, we shall be rewarded in heaven by the courteous love of our Lord God Almighty, who willeth that none that come there lose his travail in any degree. For He holdeth sin as sorrow and pain to His lovers, to whom He assigneth no blame, for love. The meed that we shall receive shall not be little, but it shall be high, glorious, and worshipful. And so shall shame be turned to worship and more joy.
- Our courteous Lord willeth not that His servants despair, for often nor for grievous falling: for our falling hindereth not Him to love us. Peace and love are ever in us, being and working; but we be not alway in peace and in love. But He willeth that we take heed thus that He is Ground of all our whole life in love; and furthermore that He is our everlasting Keeper and mightily defendeth us against our enemies, that be full fell and fierce upon us;—and so much our need is the more for we give them occasion by our falling.
- God willeth that we endlessly hate the sin and endlessly love the soul, as God loveth it.
- Here understand I in truth that all manner of things are made ready for us by the great goodness of God, so far forth that what time we be ourselves in peace and charity, we be verily saved.
- But now if any man or woman because of all this spiritual comfort that is aforesaid, be stirred by folly to say or to think: If this be true, then were it good to sin to have the more meed,—or else to charge the less to sin,—beware of this stirring: for verily if it come it is untrue, and of the enemy of the same true love that teacheth us that we should hate sin only for love. I am sure by mine own feeling, the more that any kind soul seeth this in the courteous love of our Lord God, the lother he is to sin and the more he is ashamed. For if afore us were laid all the pains in Hell and in Purgatory and in Earth—death and other—, and sin, we should rather choose all that pain than sin. For sin is so vile and so greatly to be hated that it may be likened to no pain which is not sin. And to me was shewed no harder hell than sin. For a kind soul hath no hell but sin.
- We give our intent to love and meekness, by the working of mercy and grace we are made all fair and clean.
- As mighty and as wise as God is to save men, so willing He is. For Christ Himself is ground of all the laws of Christian men, and He taught us to do good against ill: here may we see that He is Himself this charity, and doeth to us as He teacheth us to do. For He willeth that we be like Him in wholeness of endless love to ourself and to our even-Christians: no more than His love is broken to us for our sin, no more willeth He that our love be broken to ourself and to our even-Christians: but endlessly hate the sin and endlessly love the soul, as God loveth it. Then shall we hate sin like as God hateth it, and love the soul as God loveth it. And this word that He said is an endless comfort: I keep thee securely.
The Fourteenth Revelation
- Our Lord shewed concerning Prayer. In which Shewing I see two conditions in our Lord’s signifying: one is rightfulness, another is sure trust.
But yet oftentimes our trust is not full: for we are not sure that God heareth us, as we think because of our unworthiness, and because we feel right nought, (for we are as barren and dry oftentimes after our prayers as we were afore); and this, in our feeling our folly, is cause of our weakness. For thus have I felt in myself.
And all this brought our Lord suddenly to my mind, and shewed these words, and said: I am Ground of thy beseeching: first it is my will that thou have it; and after, I make thee to will it; and after, I make thee to beseech it and thou beseechest it. How should it then be that thou shouldst not have thy beseeching?
- It is most impossible that we should beseech mercy and grace, and not have it. For everything that our good Lord maketh us to beseech, Himself hath ordained it to us from without beginning. Here may we see that our beseeching is not cause of God’s goodness; and that shewed He soothfastly in all these sweet words when He saith: I am Ground.—And our good Lord willeth that this be known of His lovers in earth; and the more that we know the more should we beseech, if it be wisely taken; and so is our Lord’s meaning.
- Beseeching is a true, gracious, lasting will of the soul, oned and fastened into the will of our Lord by the sweet inward work of the Holy Ghost.
- Full glad and merry is our Lord of our prayer; and He looketh thereafter and He willeth to have it because with His grace He maketh us like to Himself in condition as we are in kind: and so is His blissful will. Therefore He saith thus: Pray inwardly, though thee thinketh it savour thee not: for it is profitable, though thou feel not, though thou see nought; yea, though thou think thou canst not. For in dryness and in barrenness, in sickness and in feebleness, then is thy prayer well-pleasant to me, though thee thinketh it savour thee nought but little. And so is all thy believing prayer in my sight.
- Also to prayer belongeth thanking. Thanking is a true inward knowing, with great reverence and lovely dread turning ourselves with all our mights unto the working that our good Lord stirreth us to, enjoying and thanking inwardly.
- This is our Lord’s will, that our prayer and our trust be both alike large. For if we trust not as much as we pray, we do not full worship to our Lord in our prayer, and also we tarry and pain our self. The cause is, as I believe, that we know not truly that our Lord is Ground on whom our prayer springeth; and also that we know not that it is given us by the grace of His love. For if we knew this, it would make us to trust to have, of our Lord’s gift, all that we desire. For I am sure that no man asketh mercy and grace with true meaning, but if mercy and grace be first given to him.
- Sometimes it cometh to our mind that we have prayed long time, and yet we think to ourselves that we have not our asking. But herefor should we not be in heaviness. For I am sure, by our Lord’s signifying, that either we abide a better time, or more grace, or a better gift.
- To see that He doeth it, and to pray forthwithal,—so is He worshiped and we sped. All-thing that our Lord hath ordained to do, it is His will that we pray therefor, either in special or in general. And the joy and the bliss that it is to Him, and the thanks and the worship that we shall have therefor, it passeth the understanding of creatures, as to my sight. For prayer is a right understanding of that fulness of joy that is to come, with well-longing and sure trust.
- Thus signifieth He where He saith: I am Ground of thy beseeching. And thus in this blessed word, with the Shewing, I saw a full overcoming against all our weakness and all our doubtful dreads.
- Prayer uniteth the soul to God.
- Prayer oneth the soul to God. For though the soul be ever like to God in kind and substance, restored by grace, it is often unlike in condition, by sin on man’s part. Then is prayer a witness that the soul willeth as God willeth; and it comforteth the conscience and enableth man to grace. And thus He teacheth us to pray, and mightily to trust that we shall have it. For He beholdeth us in love and would make us partners of His good deed, and therefore He stirreth us to pray for that which it pleaseth him to do. For which prayer and good will, that we have of His gift, He will reward us and give us endless meed.
- When our courteous Lord of His grace sheweth Himself to our soul, we have that we desire. And then we see not, for the time, what we should more pray, but all our intent with all our might is set wholly to the beholding of Him. And this is an high unperceivable prayer, as to my sight: for all the cause wherefor we pray it, it is oned into the sight and beholding of Him to whom we pray; marvellously enjoying with reverent dread, and with so great sweetness and delight in Him that we can pray right nought but as He stirreth us, for the time. And well I wot, the more the soul seeth of God, the more it desireth Him by His grace.
- And this I saw: that what time we see needs wherefor we pray, then our good Lord followeth us, helping our desire; and when we of His special grace plainly behold Him, seeing none other needs, then we follow Him and He draweth us unto Him by love.
- Then shall we see God face to face, homely and fully. The creature that is made shall see and endlessly behold God which is the Maker. For thus may no man see God and live after, that is to say, in this deadly life. But when He of His special grace will shew Himself here, He strengtheneth the creature above its self, and He measureth the Shewing, after His own will, as it is profitable for the time.
Upon Certain Points In The Foregoing Fourteen Revelations
- Truth seeth God, and Wisdom beholdeth God, and of these two cometh the third: that is, a holy marvellous delight in God; which is Love. Where Truth and Wisdom are verily, there is Love verily, coming of them both. And all of God’s making: for He is endless sovereign Truth, endless sovereign Wisdom, endless sovereign Love, unmade; and man’s Soul is a creature in God which hath the same properties made, and evermore it doeth that it was made for: it seeth God, it beholdeth God, and it loveth God. Whereof God enjoyeth in the creature; and the creature in God, endlessly marvelling.
In which marvelling he seeth his God, his Lord, his Maker so high, so great, and so good, in comparison with him that is made, that scarcely the creature seemeth ought to the self. But the clarity and the clearness of Truth and Wisdom maketh him to see and to bear witness that he is made for Love, in which God endlessly keepeth him.
- God deemeth us upon our Nature-Substance, which is ever kept one in Him, whole and safe without end: and this doom is of His rightfulness. And man judgeth upon our changeable Sense-soul, which seemeth now one, now other,—according as it taketh of the parts,—and showeth outward. And this wisdom is mingled. For sometimes it is good and easy, and sometimes it is hard and grievous. And in as much as it is good and easy it belongeth to the rightfulness; and in as much as it is hard and grievous our good Lord Jesus reformeth it by mercy and grace through the virtue of His blessed Passion, and so bringeth it to the rightfulness.
And though these two be thus accorded and oned, yet both shall be known in Heaven without end. The first doom, which is of God’s rightfulness, is of His high endless life; and this is that fair sweet doom that was shewed in all the fair Revelation, in which I saw Him assign to us no manner of blame. But though this was sweet and delectable, yet in the beholding only of this, I could not be fully eased: and that was because of the doom of Holy Church, which I had afore understood and which was continually in my sight. And therefore by this doom methought I understood that sinners are worthy sometime of blame and wrath; but these two could I not see in God; and therefore my desire was more than I can or may tell. For the higher doom was shewed by God Himself in that same time, and therefore me behoved needs to take it; and the lower doom was learned me afore in Holy Church, and therefore I might in no way leave the lower doom. Then was this my desire: that I might see in God in what manner that which the doom of Holy Church teacheth is true in His sight, and how it belongeth to me verily to know it; whereby the two dooms might both be saved, so as it were worshipful to God and right way to me.
And to all this I had none other answer but a marvellous example of a lord and of a servant, as I shall tell after:—and that full mistily shewed. And yet I stand desiring, and will unto my end, that I might by grace know these two dooms as it belongeth to me. For all heavenly, and all earthly things that belong to Heaven, are comprehended in these two dooms. And the more understanding, by the gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, that we have of these two dooms, the more we shall see and know our failings. And ever the more that we see them, the more, of nature, by grace, we shall long to be fulfilled of endless joy and bliss. For we are made thereto, and our Nature-Substance is now blissful in God, and hath been since it was made, and shall be without end.
- Our passing life that we have here in our sense-soul knoweth not what our Self is.Then shall we verily and clearly see and know our Lord God in fulness of joy. And therefore it behoveth needs to be that the nearer we be to our bliss, the more we shall long; and that both by nature and by grace. We may have knowing of our Self in this life by continuant help and virtue of our high Nature. In which knowing we may exercise and grow, by forwarding and speeding of mercy and grace; but we may never fully know our Self until the last point: in which point this passing life and manner of pain and woe shall have an end. And therefore it belongeth properly to us, both by nature and by grace, to long and desire with all our mights to know our Self in fulness of endless joy.
- Yet in all this time, from the beginning to the end, I had two manner of beholdings. The one was endless continuant love, with secureness of keeping, and blissful salvation,—for of this was all the Shewing. The other was of the common teaching of Holy Church, in which I was afore informed and grounded—and with all my will having in use and understanding. And the beholding of this went not from me: for by the Shewing I was not stirred nor led therefrom in no manner of point, but I had therein teaching to love it and find it good : whereby I might, by the help of our Lord and His grace, increase and rise to more heavenly knowing and higher loving.
- In all the Beholding methought it was needful to see and to know that we are sinners, and do many evils that we ought to leave, and leave many good deeds undone that we ought to do: wherefore we deserve pain and wrath. And notwithstanding all this, I saw soothfastly that our Lord was never wroth, nor ever shall be. For He is God: Good, Life, Truth, Love, Peace; His Clarity and His Unity suffereth Him not to be wroth. For I saw truly that it is against the property of His Might to be wroth, and against the property of His Wisdom, and against the property of His Goodness. God is the Goodness that may not be wroth, for He is not but Goodness: our soul is oned to Him, unchangeable Goodness, and between God and our soul is neither wrath nor forgiveness in His sight. For our soul is so fully oned to God of His own Goodness that between God and our soul may be right nought.
And to this understanding was the soul led by love and drawn by might in every Shewing: that it is thus our good Lord shewed, and how it is thus in the truth of His great Goodness. And He willeth that we desire to learn it—that is to say, as far as it belongeth to His creature to learn it. For all things that the simple soul understood, God willeth that they be shewed and known. For the things that He will have privy, mightily and wisely Himself He hideth them, for love. For I saw in the same Shewing that much privity is hid, which may never be known until the time that God of His goodness hath made us worthy to see it; and therewith I am well-content, abiding our Lord’s will in this high marvel. And now I yield me to my Mother, Holy Church, as a simple child oweth.
- Two things belong to our soul as duty: the one is that we reverently marvel, the other that we meekly suffer, ever enjoying in God. For He would have us understand that we shall in short time see clearly in Himself all that we desire.
And notwithstanding all this, I beheld and marvelled greatly: What is the mercy and forgiveness of God? For by the teaching that I had afore, I understood that the mercy of God should be the forgiveness of His wrath after the time that we have sinned. For methought that to a soul whose meaning and desire is to love, the wrath of God was harder than any other pain, and therefore I took that the forgiveness of His wrath should be one of the principal points of His mercy. But howsoever I might behold and desire, I could in no wise see this point in all the Shewing.
But how I understood and saw of the work of mercy, I shall tell somewhat, as God will give me grace. I understood this: Man is changeable in this life, and by frailty and overcoming falleth into sin: he is weak and unwise of himself, and also his will is overlaid. And in this time he is in tempest and in sorrow and woe; and the cause is blindness: for he seeth not God. For if he saw God continually, he should have no mischievous feeling, nor any manner of motion or yearning that serveth to sin.
Thus saw I, and felt in the same time; and methought that the sight and the feeling was high and plenteous and gracious in comparison with that which our common feeling is in this life; but yet I thought it was but small and low in comparison with the great desire that the soul hath to see God.
- I felt in me five manner of workings, which be these: Enjoying, mourning, desire, dread, and sure hope. Enjoying: for God gave me understanding and knowing that it was Himself that I saw; mourning: and that was for failing; desire: and that was I might see Him ever more and more, understanding and knowing that we shall never have full rest till we see Him verily and clearly in heaven; dread was: for it seemed to me in all that time that that sight should fail, and I be left to myself; sure hope was in the endless love: that I saw I should be kept by His mercy and brought to His bliss. And the joying in His sight with this sure hope of His merciful keeping made me to have feeling and comfort so that mourning and dread were not greatly painful. And yet in all this I beheld in the Shewing of God that this manner of sight may not be continuant in this life,—and that for His own worship and for increase of our endless joy. And therefore we fail oftentimes of the sight of Him, and anon we fall into our self, and then find we no feeling of right,—naught but contrariness that is in our self; and that of the elder root of our first sin, with all the sins that follow, of our contrivance. And in this we are in travail and tempest with feeling of sins, and of pain in many divers manners, spiritual and bodily, as it is known to us in this life.
- Our good Lord the Holy Ghost, which is endless life dwelling in our soul, full securely keepeth us; and worketh therein a peace and bringeth it to ease by grace, and accordeth it to God and maketh it pliant. And this is the mercy and the way that our Lord continually leadeth us in as long as we be here in this life which is changeable.
For I saw no wrath but on man’s part; and that forgiveth He in us. For wrath is not else but a forwardness and a contrariness to peace and love; and either it cometh of failing of might, or of failing of wisdom, or of failing of goodness: which failing is not in God, but is on our part. For we by sin and wretchedness have in us a wretched and continuant contrariness to peace and to love. And that shewed He full often in His lovely Regard of Ruth and Pity. For the ground of mercy is love, and the working of mercy is our keeping in love. And this was shewed in such manner that I could not have perceived of the part of mercy but as it were alone in love; that is to say, as to my sight.
- Mercy is a sweet gracious working in love, mingled with plenteous pity: for mercy worketh in keeping us, and mercy worketh turning to us all things to good. Mercy, by love, suffereth us to fail in measure and in as much as we fail, in so much we fall; and in as much as we fall, in so much we die: for it needs must be that we die in so much as we fail of the sight and feeling of God that is our life. Our failing is dreadful, our falling is shameful, and our dying is sorrowful: but in all this the sweet eye of pity and love is lifted never off us, nor the working of mercy ceaseth.
For I beheld the property of mercy, and I beheld the property of grace: which have two manners of working in one love. Mercy is a pitiful property which belongeth to the Motherhood in tender love; and grace is a worshipful property which belongeth to the royal Lordship in the same love. Mercy worketh: keeping, suffering, quickening, and healing; and all is tenderness of love. And grace worketh: raising, rewarding, endlessly overpassing that which our longing and our travail deserveth, spreading abroad and shewing the high plenteous largess of God’s royal Lordship in His marvellous courtesy; and this is of the abundance of love. For grace worketh our dreadful failing into plenteous, endless solace; and grace worketh our shameful falling into high, worshipful rising; and grace worketh our sorrowful dying into holy, blissful life.
For I saw full surely that ever as our contrariness worketh to us here in earth pain, shame, and sorrow, right so, on the contrary wise, grace worketh to us in heaven solace, worship, and bliss; and overpassing. And so far forth, that when we come up and receive the sweet reward which grace hath wrought for us, then we shall thank and bless our Lord, endlessly rejoicing that ever we suffered woe. And that shall be for a property of blessed love that we shall know in God which we could never have known without woe going before.
And when I saw all this, it behoved me needs to grant that the mercy of God and the forgiveness is to slacken and waste our wrath.
- Immediately is the soul made at one with God when it is truly set at peace in itself.
- This was an high marvel to the soul which was continually shewed in all the Revelations, and was with great diligence beholden, that our Lord God, anent Himself may not forgive, for He may not be wroth: it were impossible. For this was shewed: that our life is all grounded and rooted in love, and without love we may not live; and therefore to the soul that of His special grace seeth so far into the high, marvellous Goodness of God, and seeth that we are endlessly oned to Him in love, it is the most impossible that may be, that God should be wroth. For wrath and friendship be two contraries. For He that wasteth and destroyeth our wrath and maketh us meek and mild,—it behoveth needs to be that He be ever one in love, meek and mild: which is contrary to wrath.
For I saw full surely that where our Lord appeareth, peace is taken and wrath hath no place. For I saw no manner of wrath in God, neither for short time nor for long;—for in sooth, as to my sight, if God might be wroth for an instant, we should never have life nor place nor being. For as verily as we have our being of the endless Might of God and of the endless Wisdom and of the endless Goodness, so verily we have our keeping in the endless Might of God, in the endless Wisdom, and in the endless Goodness. For though we feel in ourselves, wretches, debates and strifes, yet are we all-mannerful enclosed in the mildness of God and in His meekness, in His benignity and in His graciousness. For I saw full surely that all our endless friendship, our place, our life and our being, is in God.
- Though we, by the wrath and the contrariness that is in us, be now in tribulation, distress, and woe, as falleth to our blindness and frailty, yet are we securely safe by the merciful keeping of God, that we perish not. But we are not blissfully safe, in having of our endless joy, till we be all in peace and in love: that is to say, full pleased with God and with all His works, and with all His judgments, and loving and peaceable with our self and with our even-Christians and with all that God loveth, as love beseemeth. And this doeth God’s Goodness in us.
- Thus saw I that God is our very Peace, and He is our sure Keeper when we are ourselves in unpeace, and He continually worketh to bring us into endless peace. And thus when we, by the working of mercy and grace, be made meek and mild, we are fully safe; suddenly is the soul oned to God when it is truly peaced in itself: for in Him is found no wrath. And thus I saw when we are all in peace and in love, we find no contrariness, nor no manner of letting through that contrariness which is now in us; our Lord of His Goodness maketh it to us full profitable. For that contrariness is cause of our tribulations and all our woe, and our Lord Jesus taketh them and sendeth them up to Heaven, and there are they made more sweet and delectable than heart may think or tongue may tell. And when we come thither we shall find them ready, all turned into very fair and endless worships.
- In this life mercy and forgiveness is our way and evermore leadeth us to grace. And by the tempest and the sorrow that we fall into on our part, we be often dead as to man’s doom in earth; but in the sight of God the soul that shall be saved was never dead, nor ever shall be.
- Yet here I wondered and marvelled with all the diligence of my soul, saying thus within me: Good Lord, I see Thee that art very Truth; and I know in truth that we sin grievously every day and be much blameworthy; and I may neither leave the knowing of Thy truth, nor do I see Thee shew to us any manner of blame. How may this be?
For I knew by the common teaching of Holy Church and by mine own feeling, that the blame of our sin continually hangeth upon us, from the first man unto the time that we come up unto heaven: then was this my marvel that I saw our Lord God shewing to us no more blame than if we were as clean and as holy as Angels be in heaven. And between these two contraries my reason was greatly travailed through my blindness, and could have no rest for dread that His blessed presence should pass from my sight and I be left in unknowing how He beholdeth us in our sin. For either behoved me to see in God that sin was all done away, or else me behoved to see in God how He seeth it, whereby I might truly know how it belongeth to me to see sin, and the manner of our blame. My longing endured, Him continually beholding;—and yet I could have no patience for great straits and perplexity, thinking: If I take it thus that we be no sinners and not blameworthy, it seemeth as I should err and fail of knowing of this truth; and if it be so that we be sinners and blameworthy,—Good Lord, how may it then be that I cannot see this true thing in Thee, which art my God, my Maker, in whom I desire to see all truths?
- Three points make me hardy to ask it. The first is, because it is so low a thing: for if it were an high thing I should be a-dread. The second is, that it is so common: for if it were special and privy, also I should be a-dread. The third is, that it needeth me to know it (as methinketh) if I shall live here for knowing of good and evil, whereby I may, by reason and grace, the more dispart them asunder, and love goodness and hate evil, as Holy Church teacheth. I cried inwardly, with all my might seeking unto God for help, saying thus: Ah! Lord Jesus, King of bliss, how shall I be eased? Who shall teach me and tell me that me needeth to know, if I may not at this time see it in Thee?
- Then our Courteous Lord answered in shewing full mistily a wonderful example of a Lord that hath a Servant: and He gave me sight to my understanding of both. Which sight was shewed doubly in the Lord and doubly in the Servant: the one part was shewed spiritually in bodily likeness, and the other part was shewed more spiritually, without bodily likeness.
- I saw two persons in bodily likeness: that is to say, a Lord and a Servant; and therewith God gave me spiritual understanding. The Lord sitteth stately in rest and in peace; the Servant standeth by afore his Lord reverently, ready to do his Lord’s will. The Lord looketh upon his Servant full lovingly and sweetly, and meekly he sendeth him to a certain place to do his will. The Servant not only he goeth, but suddenly he starteth, and runneth in great haste, for love to do his Lord’s will. And anon he falleth into a slade, and taketh full great hurt. And then he groaneth and moaneth and waileth and struggleth, but he neither may rise nor help himself by no manner of way.
And of all this the most mischief that I saw him in, was failing of comfort: for he could not turn his face to look upon his loving Lord, which was to him full near,—in Whom is full comfort;—but as a man that was feeble and unwise for the time, he turned his mind to his feeling and endured in woe.
- I marvelled how this Servant might meekly suffer there all this woe, and I beheld with carefulness to learn if I could perceive in him any fault, or if the Lord should assign to him any blame. And in sooth there was none seen: for only his goodwill and his great desire was cause of his falling; and he was unlothful, and as good inwardly as when he stood afore his Lord, ready to do his will. And right thus continually his loving Lord full tenderly beholdeth him.
- I saw and understood that every Shewing is full of secret things.
And therefore me behoveth now to tell three properties in which I am somewhat eased. The first is the beginning of teaching that I understood therein, in the same time; the second is the inward teaching that I have understood therein afterward; the third, all the whole Revelation from the beginning to the end (that is to say of this Book) which our Lord God of His goodness bringeth oftentimes freely to the sight of mine understanding. And these three are so oned, as to my understanding, that I cannot, nor may, dispart them. And by these three, as one, I have teaching whereby I ought to believe and trust in our Lord God, that of the same goodness of which He shewed it, and for the same end, right so, of the same goodness and for the same end He shall declare it to us when it is His will.
- For, twenty years after the time of the Shewing, save three months, I had teaching inwardly, as I shall tell: It belongeth to thee to take heed to all the properties and conditions that were shewed in the example, though thou think that they be misty and indifferent to thy sight.
- The Lord that sat stately in rest and in peace, I understood that He is God. The Servant that stood afore the Lord, I understood that it was shewed for Adam: that is to say, one man was shewed, that time, and his falling, to make it thereby understood how God beholdeth All-Man and his falling. For in the sight of God all man is one man, and one man is all man. This man was hurt in his might and made full feeble; and he was stunned in his understanding so that he turned from the beholding of his Lord. But his will was kept whole in God’s sight;—for his will I saw our Lord commend and approve. But himself was letted and blinded from the knowing of this will; and this is to him great sorrow and grievous distress: for neither doth he see clearly his loving Lord, which is to him full meek and mild, nor doth he see truly what himself is in the sight of his loving Lord. And well I wot when these two are wisely and truly seen, we shall get rest and peace here in part, and the fulness of the bliss of Heaven, by His plenteous grace.
And this was a beginning of teaching which I saw in the same time, whereby I might come to know in what manner He beholdeth us in our sin. And then I saw that only Pain blameth and punisheth, and our courteous Lord comforteth and sorroweth; and ever He is to the soul in glad Cheer, loving, and longing to bring us to His bliss.
- The place that the Lord sat on was simple, on the earth, barren and desert, alone in wilderness; his clothing was ample and full seemly, as falleth to a Lord; the colour of his cloth was blue as azure, most sad and fair. his cheer was merciful; the colour of his face was fair-brown,—with full seemly features; his eyes were black, most fair and seemly, shewing full of lovely pity, and, within him, an high Regard, long and broad, all full of endless heavens. And the lovely looking wherewith He looked upon His Servant continually,—and especially in his falling,—methought it might melt our hearts for love and burst them in two for joy. The fair looking shewed of a seemly mingledness which was marvellous to behold: the one was Ruth and Pity, the other was Joy and Bliss. The Joy and Bliss passeth as far Ruth and Pity as Heaven is above earth: the Pity was earthly and the Bliss was heavenly.
- The Merciful Beholding of His Countenance of love fulfilled all earth and descended down with Adam into hell, with which continuant pity Adam was kept from endless death. And thus Mercy and Pity dwelleth with mankind unto the time we come up into Heaven.
- Man is blinded in this life and therefore we may not see our Father, God, as He is. And what time that He of His goodness willeth to shew Himself to man, He sheweth Himself homely, as man. Notwithstanding, I reason, in verity we ought to know and believe that the Father is not man.
- The blueness of the clothing betokeneth His steadfastness; the brownness of his fair face, with the seemly blackness of the eyes, was most accordant to shew His holy soberness. The length and breadth of his garments, which were fair, flaming about, betokeneth that He hath, beclosed in Him, all Heavens, and all Joy and Bliss: and this was shewed in a touch, where I have said: Mine understanding was led into the Lord; in which I saw Him highly rejoice for the worshipful restoring that He will and shall bring His servant to by His plenteous grace.
- There was a treasure in the earth which the Lord loved. I marvelled and thought what it might be, and I was answered in mine understanding: It is a food which is delectable and pleasant to the Lord.
- Yet I marvelled from whence the Servant came. For I saw in the Lord that HE hath within Himself endless life, and all manner of goodness, save that treasure that was in the earth. And that was grounded in the Lord in marvellous deepness of endless love, but it was not all to His worship till the Servant had thus nobly prepared it, and brought it before Him in himself present. And without the Lord was nothing but wilderness. And I understood not all what this example meant, and therefore I marvelled whence the Servant came.
- In the Servant is comprehended the Second Person in the Trinity; and in the Servant is comprehended Adam: that is to say, All-Man. And therefore when I say the Son, it meaneth the Godhead which is even with the Father; and when I say the Servant, it meaneth Christ’s Manhood, which is rightful Adam. By the nearness of the Servant is understood the Son, and by the standing on the left side is understood Adam. The Lord is the Father, God; the Servant is the Son, Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost is Even Love which is in them both.
- In all this our good Lord shewed His own Son and Adam but one Man. The virtue and the goodness that we have is of Jesus Christ, the feebleness and the blindness that we have is of Adam: which two were shewed in the Servant.
And thus hath our good Lord Jesus taken upon Him all our blame, and therefore our Father nor may nor will more blame assign to us than to His own Son, dearworthy Christ.
- For all mankind that shall be saved by the sweet Incarnation and blissful Passion of Christ, all is the Manhood of Christ: for He is the Head and we be His members. To which members the day and the time is unknown when every passing woe and sorrow shall have an end, and the everlasting joy and bliss shall be fulfilled; which day and time for to see, all the Company of Heaven longeth. And all that shall be under heaven that shall come thither, their way is by longing and desire.
- Also in this marvellous example I have teaching with me as it were the beginning of an A.B.C., whereby I have some understanding of our Lord’s meaning. For the secret things of the Revelation be hid therein;—notwithstanding that all the Shewings are full of secret things.
- I saw that God rejoiceth that He is our Father, and God rejoiceth that He is our Mother, and God rejoiceth that He is our Very Spouse and our soul is His loved Wife. And Christ rejoiceth that He is our Brother, and Jesus rejoiceth that He is our Saviour. These are five high joys, as I understand, in which He willeth that we enjoy; Him praising, Him thanking, Him loving, Him endlessly blessing.
- In our intent we abide in God, and faithfully trust to have mercy and grace; and this is His own working in us. And of His goodness He openeth the eye of our understanding, by which we have sight, sometime more and sometime less, according as God giveth ability to receive. And now we are raised into the one, and now we are suffered to fall into the other.
And thus is this medley so marvellous in us that scarsely we know of our self or of our even-Christian in what way we stand, for the marvellousness of this sundry feeling.
- Thus we stand in this medley all the days of our life. But He willeth that we trust that He is lastingly with us. And that in three manner.—He is with us in Heaven, very Man, in His own Person, us updrawing; and that was shewed in the Spiritual Thirst. And He is with us in earth, us leading; and that was shewed in the Third, where I saw God in a Point. And He is with us in our soul, endlessly dwelling, us ruling and keeping; and that was shewed in the Sixteenth, as I shall tell.
- We have, now, matter of mourning: for our sin is cause of Christ’s pains; and we have, lastingly, matter of joy: for endless love made Him to suffer. And therefore the creature that seeth and feeleth the working of love by grace, hateth nought but sin: for of all things, to my sight, love and hate are hardest and most unmeasureable contraries. And notwithstanding all this, I saw and understood in our Lord’s meaning that we may not in this life keep us from sin as wholly in full cleanness as we shall be in Heaven. But we may well by grace keep us from the sins which would lead us to endless pains, as Holy Church teacheth us; and eschew venial reasonably up to our might. And if we by our blindness and our wretchedness any time fall, we should readily rise, knowing the sweet touching of grace, and with all our will amend us upon the teaching of Holy Church, according as the sin is grievous, and go forthwith to God in love; and neither, on the one side, fall over low, inclining to despair, nor, on the other side, be over-reckless, as if we made no matter of it ; but nakedly acknowledge our feebleness, finding that we may not stand a twinkling of an eye but by Keeping of grace, and reverently cleave to God, on Him only trusting.
For after one wise is the Beholding by God, and after another wise is the Beholding by man. For it belongeth to man meekly to accuse himself, and it belongeth to the proper Goodness of our Lord God courteously to excuse man.
- The other manner of Regard was shewed inward: and that was more highly and all one. For the life and the virtue that we have in the lower part is of the higher, and it cometh down to us of the Natural love of the Self, by grace. Atwix the one and the other there is right nought: for it is all one love. Which one blessed love hath now, in us, double working: for in the lower part are pains and passions, mercies and forgiveness, and such other that are profitable; but in the higher part are none of these, but all one high love and marvellous joy: in which joy all pains are highly restored. And in this our Lord showed not only our Excusing, but the worshipful nobility that He shall bring us to, turning all our blame into endless worship.
- I saw that He willeth that we understand He taketh not harder the falling of any creature that shall be saved than He took the falling of Adam, which, we know, was endlessly loved and securely kept in the time of all his need, and now is blissfully restored in high overpassing joy.
- In this that I have now told was my desire in part answered, and my great difficulty some deal eased, by the lovely, gracious Shewing of our good Lord. In which Shewing I saw and understood full surely that in every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall: which Will is so good that it may never will evil, but evermore continually it willeth good; and worketh good in the sight of God.
- But notwithstanding this rightful knitting and this endless oneing, yet the redemption and the again-buying of mankind is needful and speedful in everything, as it is done for the same intent and to the same end that Holy Church in our Faith us teacheth.
- Ere that He made us He loved us, and when we were made we loved Him. And this is a Love that is made, of the Kindly Substantial Goodness of the Holy Ghost; Mighty, in Reason, of the Might of the Father; and Wise, in Mind, of the Wisdom of the Son. And thus is Man’s Soul made by God and in the same point knit to God.
And thus I understand that man’s Soul is made of nought: that is to say, it is made, but of nought that is made. And thus:—When God should make man’s body He took the clay of earth, which is a matter mingled and gathered of all bodily things; and thereof He made man’s body. But to the making of man’s Soul He would take right nought, but made it. And thus is the Nature-made rightfully oned to the Maker, which is Substantial Nature not-made: that is, God. And therefore it is that there may nor shall be right nought atwix God and man’s Soul.
And in this endless Love man’s Soul is kept whole, as the matter of the Revelations signifieth and sheweth: in which endless Love we be led and kept of God and never shall be lost. For He willeth we be aware that our Soul is a life, which life of His Goodness and His Grace shall last in Heaven without end, Him loving, Him thanking, Him praising. And right the same that we shall be without end, the same we were treasured in God and hid, known and loved from without beginning.
Wherefore He would have us understand that the noblest thing that ever He made is mankind: and the fullest Substance and the highest Virtue is the blessed Soul of Christ. And furthermore He would have us understand that His dearworthy Soul was preciously knit to Him in the making which knot is so subtle and so mighty that it—is oned into God: in which oneing it is made endlessly holy. Furthermore He would have us know that all the souls that shall be saved in Heaven without end, are knit and oned in this oneing and made holy in this holiness.
- Because of this great, endless love that God hath to all Mankind, He maketh no disparting in love between the blessed Soul of Christ and the least soul that shall be saved.
- Highly ought we to rejoice that God dwelleth in our soul, and much more highly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwelleth in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling-place; and the dwelling-place of the soul is God, Which is unmade. And high understanding it is, inwardly to see and know that God, which is our Maker, dwelleth in our soul; and an higher understanding it is, inwardly to see and to know that our soul, that is made, dwelleth in God’s Substance: of which Substance, God, we are that we are.
And I saw no difference between God and our Substance: but as it were all God; and yet mine understanding took that our Substance is in God: that is to say, that God is God, and our Substance is a creature in God.
- The Almighty Truth of the Trinity is our Father: for He made us and keepeth us in Him; and the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in Whom we are all enclosed; the high Goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in Him we are enclosed, and He in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Ghost. And the Father is enclosed in us, and the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Ghost is enclosed in us: Almightiness, All-Wisdom, All-Goodness: one God, one Lord.
- Our faith is a Virtue that cometh of our Nature-Substance into our Sense-soul by the Holy Ghost; in which all our virtues come to us: for without that, no man may receive virtue. For it is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief, and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God in us, Whom we see not. And this virtue, with all other that God hath ordained to us coming therein, worketh in us great things. For Christ’s merciful working is in us, and we graciously accord to Him through the gifts and the virtues of the Holy Ghost. This working maketh that we are Christ’s children, and Christian in living.
- Variant: Faith is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God is in us: Whom we see not.
- Thus Christ is our Way, us surely leading in His laws, and Christ in His body mightily beareth us up into heaven.
- Our Faith cometh of the natural Love of our soul, and of the clear light of our Reason, and of the steadfast Mind which we have from God in our first making. And what time that our soul is inspired into our body, in which we are made sensual, so soon mercy and grace begin to work, having of us care and keeping with pity and love: in which working the Holy Ghost formeth, in our Faith, Hope that we shall come again up above to our Substance, into the Virtue of Christ, increased and fulfilled through the Holy Ghost. Thus I understood that the sense-soul is grounded in Nature, in Mercy, and in Grace: which Ground enableth us to receive gifts that lead us to endless life.
For I saw full assuredly that our Substance is in God, and also I saw that in our sense-soul God is: for in the self-point that our Soul is made sensual, in the self-point is the City of God ordained to Him from without beginning; into which seat He cometh, and never shall remove it. For God is never out of the soul: in which He dwelleth blissfully without end.
- Thus I saw full surely that it is readier to us to come to the knowing of God than to know our own Soul. For our Soul is so deep-grounded in God, and so endlessly treasured, that we may not come to the knowing thereof till we have first knowing of God, which is the Maker, to whom it is oned. But, notwithstanding, I saw that we have, for fulness, to desire wisely and truly to know our own Soul: whereby we are learned to seek it where it is, and that is, in God. And thus by gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, we should know them both in one: whether we be stirred to know God or our Soul, both are good and true.
- God is nearer to us than our own Soul: for He is Ground in whom our Soul standeth, and He is Mean that keepeth the Substance and the Sense-nature together so that they shall never dispart. For our soul sitteth in God in very rest, and our soul standeth in God in very strength, and our Soul is kindly rooted in God in endless love: and therefore if we will have knowledge of our Soul, and communing and dalliance therewith, it behoveth to seek unto our Lord God in whom it is enclosed.
- Upon our Substance and our Sense-part, both together may rightly be called our Soul: and that is because of the oneing that they have in God.
- We may never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul.
- Variant: We can never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul.
- God willeth that we understand, desiring with all our heart to have knowing of them more and more unto the time that we be fulfilled: for fully to know them is nought else but endless joy and bliss that we shall have in Heaven, which God willeth should be begun here in knowing of His love.
For only by our Reason we may not profit, but if we have evenly therewith Mind and Love: nor only in our Nature-Ground that we have in God we may not be saved but if we have, coming of the same Ground, Mercy and Grace. For of these three working all together we receive all our Goodness.
- I saw that our nature is in God whole: in which He maketh diversities flowing out of Him to work His will: whom Nature keepeth, and Mercy and Grace restoreth and fulfilleth. And of these none shall perish: for our nature that is the higher part is knit to God, in the making; and God is knit to our nature that is the lower part, in our flesh-taking: and thus in Christ our two natures are oned.
- Variant: In Christ our two natures are united.
- I saw full surely that all the works that God hath done, or ever shall, were fully known to Him and aforeseen from without beginning. And for Love He made Mankind, and for the same Love would be Man.
- He sitteth in our soul.
For it is His good-pleasure to reign in our Understanding blissfully, and sit in our Soul restfully, and to dwell in our Soul endlessly, us all working into Him: in which working He willeth that we be His helpers, giving to Him all our attending, learning His lores, keeping His laws, desiring that all be done that He doeth; truly trusting in Him.
For soothly I saw that our Substance is in God.
- In our making, God, Almighty, is our Nature’s Father; and God, All-Wisdom, is our Nature’s Mother; with the Love and the Goodness of the Holy Ghost: which is all one God, one Lord. And in the knitting and the oneing He is our Very, True Spouse, and we His loved Wife, His Fair Maiden: with which Wife He is never displeased. For He saith: I love thee and thou lovest me, and our love shall never be disparted in two.
- I beheld the working of all the blessed Trinity: in which beholding I saw and understood these three properties: the property of the Fatherhood, the property of the Motherhood, and the property of the Lordhood, in one God.
- He is our Mother, Brother, and Saviour. And in our good Lord, the Holy Ghost, we have our rewarding and our meed-giving for our living and our travail, and endless overpassing of all that we desire, in His marvellous courtesy, of His high plenteous grace.
- All our life is in three: in the first we have our Being, in the second we have our Increasing, and in the third we have our Fulfilling: the first is Nature, the second is Mercy, and the third is Grace.
- The high Might of the Trinity is our Father, and the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, and the great Love of the Trinity is our Lord: and all this have we in Nature and in the making of our Substance.
- Our Mother is to us in diverse manners working: in whom our parts are kept undisparted. For in our Mother Christ we profit and increase, and in Mercy He reformeth us and restoreth, and, by the virtue of His Passion and His Death and Uprising, oneth us to our Substance. Thus worketh our Mother in Mercy to all His children which are to Him yielding and obedient.
- Grace worketh with Mercy, and specially in two properties, as it was shewed: which working belongeth to the Third Person, the Holy Ghost. He worketh rewarding and giving.
- Rewarding is a large giving-of-truth that the Lord doeth to him that hath travailed; and giving is a courteous working which He doeth freely of Grace, fulfilling and overpassing all that is deserved of creatures.
- In our Father, God Almighty, we have our being; and in our Mother of Mercy we have our reforming and restoring: in whom our Parts are oned and all made perfect Man; and by yielding and giving in Grace of the Holy Ghost, we are fulfilled.
- Our Substance is our Father, God Almighty, and our Substance is our Mother, God, All-wisdom; and our Substance is in our Lord the Holy Ghost, God All-goodness. For our Substance is whole in each Person of the Trinity, which is one God. And our Sense-soul is only in the Second Person Christ Jesus; in whom is the Father and the Holy Ghost: and in Him and by Him we are mightily taken out of Hell, and out of the wretchedness in Earth worshipfully brought up into Heaven and blissfully oned to our Substance: increased in riches and in nobleness by all the virtues of Christ, and by the grace and working of the Holy Ghost.
- Christ that doeth Good against evil is our Very Mother: we have our Being of Him where the Ground of Motherhood beginneth,—with all the sweet Keeping by Love, that endlessly followeth.
- All this bliss we have by Mercy and Grace: which manner of bliss we might never have had nor known but if that property of Goodness which is God had been contraried: whereby we have this bliss. For wickedness hath been suffered to rise contrary to the Goodness, and the Goodness of Mercy and Grace contraried against the wickedness and turned all to goodness and to worship, to all these that shall be saved. For it is the property in God which doeth good against evil. Thus Jesus Christ that doeth good against evil is our Very Mother: we have our Being of Him,—where the Ground of Motherhood beginneth,—with all the sweet Keeping of Love that endlessly followeth.
- As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother; and that shewed He in all, and especially in these sweet words where He saith: I IT AM. That is to say, I IT AM, the Might and the Goodness of the Fatherhood; I IT AM, the Wisdom of the Motherhood; I IT AM, the Light and the Grace that is all blessed Love: I IT AM, the Trinity, I IT AM, the Unity: I am the sovereign Goodness of all manner of things. I am that maketh thee to love: I am that maketh thee to long: I IT AM, the endless fulfilling of all true desires.
For there the soul is highest, noblest, and worthiest, where it is lowest, meekest, and mildest: and of this Substantial Ground we have all our virtues in our Sense-part by gift of Nature, by helping and speeding of Mercy and Grace: without the which we may not profit.
- Our high Father, God Almighty, which is Being, He knew and loved us from afore any time: of which knowing, in His marvellous deep charity and the foreseeing counsel of all the blessed Trinity, He willed that the Second Person should become our Mother. Our Father, our Mother worketh, our good Lord the Holy Ghost confirmeth: and therefore it belongeth to us to love our God in whom we have our being: Him reverently thanking and praising for our making, mightily praying to our Mother for mercy and pity, and to our Lord the Holy Ghost for help and grace.
For in these three is all our life: Nature, Mercy, Grace: whereof we have meekness and mildness; patience and pity; and hating of sin and of wickedness,—for it belongeth properly to virtue to hate sin and wickedness. And thus is Jesus our Very Mother in Nature of our first making; and He is our Very Mother in Grace, by taking our nature made. All the fair working, and all the sweet natural office of dearworthy Motherhood is impropriated to the Second Person: for in Him we have this Godly Will whole and safe without end, both in Nature and in Grace, of His own proper Goodness.
- I understood three manners of beholding of Motherhood in God: the first is grounded in our Nature’s making; the second is taking of our nature,— and there beginneth the Motherhood of Grace; the third is Motherhood of working,—and therein is a forthspreading by the same Grace, of length and breadth and height and of deepness without end. And all is one Love.
- Now behoveth to say a little more of this forthspreading, as I understand in the meaning of our Lord: how that we be brought again by the Motherhood of Mercy and Grace into our Nature’s place, where that we were made by the Motherhood of Nature-Love: which Kindly-love, it never leaveth us.
Our Kind Mother, our Gracious Mother, for that He would all wholly become our Mother in all things, He took the Ground of His Works full low and full mildly in the Maiden’s womb.
- Our high God is sovereign Wisdom of all: in this low place He arrayed and dight Him full ready in our poor flesh, Himself to do the service and the office of Motherhood in all things.
- This fair lovely word Mother, it is so sweet and so close in Nature of itself that it may not verily be said of none but of Him; and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all. To the property of Motherhood belongeth natural love, wisdom, and knowing; and it is good: for though it be so that our bodily forthbringing be but little, low, and simple in regard of our spiritual forthbringing, yet it is He that doeth it in the creatures by whom that it is done. The Kindly, loving Mother that witteth and knoweth the need of her child, she keepeth it full tenderly, as the nature and condition of Motherhood will. And as it waxeth in age, she changeth her working, but not her love. And when it is waxen of more age, she suffereth that it be beaten in breaking down of vices, to make the child receive virtues and graces. This working, with all that be fair and good, our Lord doeth it in them by whom it is done: thus He is our Mother in Nature by the working of Grace in the lower part for love of the higher part. And He willeth that we know this: for He will have all our love fastened to Him. And in this I saw that all our duty that we owe, by God’s bidding, to Fatherhood and Motherhood, for God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood is fulfilled in true loving of God; which blessed love Christ worketh in us. And this was shewed in all and especially in the high plenteous words where He saith: It is I that thou lovest.
- In our spiritual forthbringing He useth more tenderness of keeping, without any likeness: by as much as our soul is of more price in His sight. He kindleth our understanding, He directeth our ways, He easeth our conscience, He comforteth our soul, He lighteneth our heart, and giveth us, in part, knowing and believing in His blissful Godhead, with gracious mind in His sweet Manhood and His blessed Passion, with reverent marvelling in His high, overpassing Goodness; and maketh us to love all that He loveth, for His love, and to be well-pleased with Him and all His works. And when we fall, hastily He raiseth us by His lovely calling and gracious touching. And when we be thus strengthened by His sweet working, then we with all our will choose Him, by His sweet grace, to be His servants and His lovers lastingly without end.
- If we never fell, we should not know how feeble and how wretched we are of our self, and also we should not fully know that marvellous love of our Maker. For we shall see verily in heaven, without end, that we have grievously sinned in this life, and notwithstanding this, we shall see that we were never hurt in His love, we were never the less of price in His sight. And by the assay of this falling we shall have an high, marvellous knowing of love in God, without end. For strong and marvellous is that love which may not, nor will not, be broken for trespass.
- The mother may suffer the child to fall sometimes, and to be hurt in diverse manners for its own profit, but she may never suffer that any manner of peril come to the child, for love. And though our earthly mother may suffer her child to perish, our heavenly Mother, Jesus, may not suffer us that are His children to perish: for He is All-mighty, All-wisdom, and All-love; and so is none but He,—blessed may He be!
- Oftentimes when our falling and our wretchedness is shewed us, we are so sore adread, and so greatly ashamed of our self, that scarcely we find where we may hold us. But then willeth not our courteous Mother that we flee away, for Him were nothing lother.
- One single person may oftentimes be broken, as it seemeth to himself, but the whole Body of Holy Church was never broken, nor never shall be, without end.
- He in all this working useth the office of a kind nurse that hath nought else to do but to give heed about the salvation of her child.
- He willeth that we love Him sweetly and trust in Him meekly and mightily. And this shewed He in these gracious words: I keep thee full surely.
- For in that time He shewed our frailty and our fallings, our afflictings and our settings at nought, our despites and our outcastings, and all our woe so far forth as methought it might befall in this life. And therewith He shewed His blessed Might, His blessed Wisdom, His blessed Love: that He keepeth us in this time as tenderly and as sweetly to His worship, and as surely to our salvation, as He doeth when we are in most solace and comfort.
- God is Nature in His being: that is to say, that Goodness that is Nature, it is God. He is the ground, He is the substance, He is the same thing that is Nature-hood. And He is very Father and very Mother of Nature: and all natures that He hath made to flow out of Him to work His will shall be restored and brought again into Him by the salvation of man through the working of Grace.
- Of all natures that He hath set in diverse creatures by part, in man is all the whole; in fulness and in virtue, in fairness and in goodness, in royalty and nobleness, in all manner of majesty, of preciousness and worship. Here may we see that we are all beholden to God for nature, and we are all beholden to God for grace.
- Here may we see that we have verily of Nature to hate sin, and we have verily of Grace to hate sin. For Nature is all good and fair in itself, and Grace was sent out to save Nature and destroy sin, and bring again fair nature to the blessed point from whence it came: that is God; with more nobleness and worship by the virtuous working of Grace. For it shall be seen afore God by all His Holy in joy without end that Nature hath been assayed in the fire of tribulation and therein hath been found no flaw, no fault. Thus are Nature and Grace of one accord: for Grace is God, as Nature is God: He is two in manner of working and one in love; and neither of these worketh without other: they be not disparted.
- When we by Mercy of God and with His help accord us to Nature and Grace, we shall see verily that sin is in sooth viler and more painful than hell, without likeness: for it is contrary to our fair nature. For as verily as sin is unclean, so verily is it unnatural, and thus an horrible thing to see for the loved soul that would be all fair and shining in the sight of God, as Nature and Grace teacheth.
- Fair and sweet is our Heavenly Mother in the sight of our souls; precious and lovely are the Gracious Children in the sight of our Heavenly Mother, with mildness and meekness, and all the fair virtues that belong to children in Nature. For of nature the Child despaireth not of the Mother’s love, of nature the Child presumeth not of itself, of nature the Child loveth the Mother and each one of the other. These are the fair virtues, with all other that be like, wherewith our Heavenly Mother is served and pleased.
- I understood none higher stature in this life than Childhood, in feebleness and failing of might and of wit, unto the time that our Gracious Mother hath brought us up to our Father’s Bliss. And then shall it verily be known to us His meaning in those sweet words where He saith: All shall be well: and thou shalt see, thyself, that all manner of things shall be well. And then shall the Bliss of our Mother, in Christ, be new to begin in the Joys of our God: which new beginning shall last without end, new beginning.
Thus I understood that all His blessed children which be come out of Him by Nature shall be brought again into Him by Grace.
The Fifteenth Revelation
- Afore this time I had great longing and desire of God’s gift to be delivered of this world and of this life. For oftentimes I beheld the woe that is here, and the weal and the bliss that is being there: (and if there had been no pain in this life but the absence of our Lord, methought it was some-time more than I might bear ;) and this made me to mourn, and eagerly to long. And also from mine own wretchedness, sloth, and weakness, me liked not to live and to travail, as me fell to do.
And to all this our courteous Lord answered for comfort and patience, and said these words: Suddenly thou shalt be taken from all thy pain, from all thy sickness, from all thy distress and from all thy woe. And thou shalt come up above and thou shalt have me to thy meed, and thou shalt be fulfilled of love and of bliss. And thou shalt never have no manner of pain, no manner of misliking, no wanting of will; but ever joy and bliss without end. What should it then aggrieve thee to suffer awhile, seeing that it is my will and my worship?
- In this word: Suddenly thou shalt be taken,—I saw that God rewardeth man for the patience that he hath in abiding God’s will, and for his time, and that man lengtheneth his patience over the time of his living. For not-knowing of his time of passing, that is a great profit: for if a man knew his time, he should not have patience over that time; but, as God willeth, while the soul is in the body it seemeth to itself that it is ever at the point to be taken. For all this life and this languor that we have here is but a point, and when we are taken suddenly out of pain into bliss then pain shall be nought.
- In this time I saw a body lying on the earth, which body shewed heavy and horrible, without shape and form, as it were a swollen quag of stinking mire. And suddenly out of this body sprang a full fair creature, a little Child, fully shapen and formed, nimble and lively, whiter than lily; which swiftly glided up into heaven. And the swollenness of the body betokeneth great wretchedness of our deadly flesh, and the littleness of the Child betokeneth the cleanness of purity in the soul. And methought: With this body abideth no fairness of this Child, and on this Child dwelleth no foulness of this body.
- It is more blissful that man be taken from pain, than that pain be taken from man; for if pain be taken from us it may come again: therefore it is a sovereign comfort and blissful beholding in a loving soul that we shall be taken from pain. For in this behest I saw a marvellous compassion that our Lord hath in us for our woe, and a courteous promising of clear deliverance. For He willeth that we be comforted in the overpassing; and that He shewed in these words: And thou shalt come up above, and thou shalt have me to thy meed, and thou shalt be fulfilled of joy and bliss.
- It is God’s will that we set the point of our thought in this blissful beholding as often as we may,—and as long time keep us therein with His grace; for this is a blessed contemplation to the soul that is led of God, and full greatly to His worship, for the time that it lasteth.
- It is God’s will that we take His behests and His comfortings as largely and as mightily as we may take them, and also He willeth that we take our abiding and our troubles as lightly as we may take them, and set them at nought. For the more lightly we take them, and the less price we set on them, for love, the less pain we shall have in the feeling of them, and the more thanks and meed we shall have for them.
- Thus I understood that what man or woman with firm will chooseth God in this life, for love, he may be sure that he is loved without end: which endless love worketh in him that grace. For He willeth that we be as assured in hope of the bliss of heaven while we are here, as we shall be in sureness while we are there. And ever the more pleasance and joy that we take in this sureness, with reverence and meekness, the better pleaseth Him, as it was shewed. This reverence that I mean is a holy courteous dread of our Lord, to which meekness is united: and that is, that a creature seeth the Lord marvellous great, and itself marvellous little.
- It is God’s will that I see myself as much bound to Him in love as if He had done for me all that He hath done; and thus should every soul think inwardly of its Lover. That is to say, the Charity of God maketh in us such a unity that, when it is truly seen, no man can part himself from other.
- Now have I told you of Fifteen Revelations, as God vouchsafed to minister them to mind, renewed by lightings and touchings, I hope of the same Spirit that shewed them all.
Of which Fifteen Shewings the First began early in the morn, about the hour of four; and they lasted, shewing by process full fair and steadily, each following other, till it was nine of the day, overpassed.
- After this the good Lord shewed the Sixteenth on the night following, as I shall tell after: which Sixteenth was conclusion and confirmation to all Fifteen.
- But first me behoveth to tell you as anent my feebleness, wretchedness and blindness.—I have said in the beginning: And in this all my pain was suddenly taken from me: of which pain I had no grief nor distress as long as the Fifteen Shewings lasted following. And at the end all was close, and I saw no more. And soon I felt that I should live and languish; and anon my sickness came again: first in my head with a sound and a din, and suddenly all my body was fulfilled with sickness like as it was afore. And I was as barren and as dry as I never had comfort but little. And as a wretched creature I moaned and cried for feeling of my bodily pains and for failing of comfort, spiritual and bodily.
- Then came a Religious person to me and asked me how I fared. I said I had raved to-day. And he laughed loud and heartily. And I said: The Cross that stood afore my face, methought it bled fast. And with this word the person that I spake to waxed all sober and marvelled. And anon I was sore ashamed and astonished for my recklessness, and I thought: This man taketh in sober earnest the least word that I might say. Then said I no more thereof.
The Sixteenth Revelation
- Then our Lord opened my spiritual eye and shewed me my soul in midst of my heart. I saw the Soul so large as it were an endless world, and as it were a blissful kingdom. And by the conditions that I saw therein I understood that it is a worshipful City. In the midst of that City sitteth our Lord Jesus, God and Man, a fair Person of large stature, highest Bishop, most majestic King, most worshipful Lord; and I saw Him clad majestically. And worshipfully He sitteth in the Soul, even-right in peace and rest. And the Godhead ruleth and sustaineth heaven and earth and all that is,—sovereign Might, sovereign Wisdom, and sovereign Goodness,— the place that Jesus taketh in our Soul He shall never remove it, without end, as to my sight: for in us is His homliest home and His endless dwelling. And in this He shewed the satisfying that He hath of the making of Man’s Soul. For as well as the Father might make a creature, and as well as the Son could make a creature, so well would the Holy Ghost that Man’s Soul were made: and so it was done. And therefore the blessed Trinity enjoyeth without end in the making of Man’s Soul: for He saw from without beginning what should please Him without end.
- Our Soul may never have rest in things that are beneath itself. And when it cometh above all creatures into the Self, yet may it not abide in the beholding of its Self, but all the beholding is blissfully set in God that is the Maker dwelling therein. For in Man’s Soul is His very dwelling; and the highest light and the brightest shining of the City is the glorious love of our Lord, as to my sight.
- What may make us more to enjoy in God than to see in Him that He enjoyeth in the highest of all His works? For I saw in the same Shewing that if the blessed Trinity might have made Man’s Soul any better, any fairer, any nobler than it was made, He should not have been full pleased with the making of Man’s Soul. And He willeth that our hearts be mightily raised above the deepness of the earth and all vain sorrows, and rejoice in Him.
- This was a delectable Sight and a restful Shewing, that it is so without end. The beholding of this while we are here is full pleasing to God and full great profit to us; and the soul that thus beholdeth, it maketh it like to Him that is beheld, and oneth it in rest and peace by His grace. And this was a singular joy and bliss to me that I saw Him sitting: for the secureness of sitting sheweth endless dwelling.
- He gave me to know soothfastly that it was He that shewed me all afore. And when I had beheld this with heedfulness, then shewed our good Lord words full meekly without voice and without opening of lips, right as He had done, and said full sweetly: Wit it now well that it was no raving that thou sawest to-day: but take it and believe it, and keep thee therein, and comfort thee therewith, and trust thou thereto: and thou shalt not be overcome.
- These Last Words were said for believing and true sureness that it is our Lord Jesus that shewed me all. And right as in the first word that our good Lord shewed, signifying His blissful Passion,—Herewith is the devil overcome,—right so He said in the last word, with full true secureness, meaning us all: Thou shalt not'be overcome.
- This word: Thou shalt not be overcome, was said full clearly and full mightily, for assuredness and comfort against all tribulations that may come. He said not: Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be afflicted; but He said: Thou shalt not be overcome. God willeth that we take heed to these words, and that we be ever strong in sure trust, in weal and woe. For He loveth and enjoyeth us, and so willeth He that we love and enjoy Him and mightily trust in Him; and all shall be well.
And soon after, all was close and I saw no more.
- After this the Fiend came again with his heat and with his stench, and gave me much ado, the stench was so vile and so painful, and also dreadful and travailous. Also I heard a bodily jangling, as if it had been of two persons; and both, to my thinking, jangled at one time as if they had holden a parliament with a great busy-ness; and all was soft muttering, so that I understood nought that they said. And all this was to stir me to despair, as methought,—seeming to me as they mocked at praying of prayers which are said boisterously with mouth, failing devout attending and wise diligence: the which we owe to God in our prayers.
- I thought to myself, saying: Thou hast now great busy-ness to keep thee in the Faith for that thou shouldst not be taken of the Enemy: wouldst thou now from this time evermore be so busy to keep thee from sin, this were a good and sovereign occupation! For I thought in sooth were I safe from sin, I were full safe from all the fiends of hell and enemies of my soul.
- Thus he occupied me all that night, and on the morn till it was about prime day. And anon they were all gone, and all passed; and they left nothing but stench, and that lasted still awhile; and I scorned him.
And thus was I delivered from him by the virtue of Christ’s Passion: for therewith is the Fiend overcome, as our Lord Jesus Christ said afore.
- In all this blessed Shewing our good Lord gave understanding that the Sight should pass: which blessed Shewing the Faith keepeth, with His own good will and His grace. For He left with me neither sign nor token whereby I might know it, but He left with me His own blessed word in true understanding, bidding me full mightily that I should believe it. And so I do,—Blessed may He be!—I believe that He is our Saviour that shewed it, and that it is the Faith that He shewed: and therefore I believe it, rejoicing. And thereto I am bounden by all His own meaning, with the next words that follow: Keep thee therein, and comfort thee therewith, and trust thou thereto.
- Thus I am bounden to keep it in my faith. For on the same day that it was shewed, what time that the Sight was passed, as a wretch I forsook it, and openly I said that I had raved. Then our Lord Jesus of His mercy would not let it perish, but He showed it all again within in my soul with more fulness, with the blessed light of His precious love: saying these words full mightily and full meekly: Wit it now well: it was no raving that thou sawest this day. As if He had said: For that the Sight was passed from thee, thou losedst it and hadst not skill to keep it. But wit it now; that is to say, now that thou seest it. This was said not only for that same time, but also to set thereupon the ground of my faith when He saith anon following: But take it, believe it, and keep thee therein and comfort thee therewith and trust thou thereto; and thou shalt not be overcome.
- His meaning is to fasten it faithfully in our heart: for He willeth that it dwell with us in faith to our life’s end, and after in fulness of joy, desiring that we have ever steadfast trust in His blissful behest—knowing His Goodness.
For our faith is contraried in diverse manners by our own blindness, and our spiritual enemy, within and without; and therefore our precious Lover helpeth us with spiritual sight and true teaching in sundry manners within and without, whereby that we may know Him. And therefore in whatsoever manner He teacheth us, He willeth that we perceive Him wisely, receive Him sweetly, and keep us in Him faithfully. For above the Faith is no goodness kept in this life, as to my sight, and beneath the Faith is no help of soul; but in the Faith, there willeth the Lord that we keep us. For we have by His goodness and His own working to keep us in the Faith; and by His sufferance through ghostly enmity we are assayed in the Faith and made mighty. For if our faith had none enmity, it should deserve no meed, according to the understanding that I have in all our Lord’s teaching.
- Glad and joyous and sweet is the Blissful lovely Cheer of our Lord to our souls.
- I have signifying of Three manners of Cheer of our Lord. The first is Cheer of Passion, as He shewed while He was here in this life, dying. Though this Beholding be mournful and troubled, yet it is glad and joyous: for He is God.—The second manner of Cheer is Ruth and Compassion: and this sheweth He, with sureness of Keeping, to all His lovers that betake them to His mercy. The third is the Blissful Cheer, as it shall be without end: and this was oftenest and longest-continued.
- Thus in the time of our pain and our woe He sheweth us Cheer of His Passion and His Cross, helping us to bear it by His own blessed virtue. And in the time of our sinning He sheweth to us Cheer of Ruth and Pity, mightily keeping us and defending us against all our enemies. And these be the common Cheer which He sheweth to us in this life; therewith mingling the third: and that is His Blissful Cheer, like, in part, as it shall be in Heaven. And that by gracious touching and sweet lighting of the spiritual life, whereby that we are kept in sure faith, hope, and charity, with contrition and devotion, and also with contemplation and all manner of true solace and sweet comforts.
- Now behoveth me to tell in what manner I saw sin deadly in the creatures which shall not die for sin, but live in the joy of God without end.
- I saw that two contrary things should never be together in one place. The most contrary that are, is the highest bliss and the deepest pain. The highest bliss that is, is to have Him in clarity of endless life, Him verily seeing, Him sweetly feeling, all-perfectly having in fulness of joy. And thus was the Blissful Cheer of our Lord shewed in Pity: in which Shewing I saw that sin is most contrary,—so far forth that as long as we be meddling with any part of sin, we shall never see clearly the Blissful Cheer of our Lord. And the more horrible and grievous that our sins be, the deeper are we for that time from this blissful sight. And therefore it seemeth to us oftentimes as we were in peril of death, in a part of hell, for the sorrow and pain that the sin is to us. And thus we are dead for the time from the very sight of our blissful life. But in all this I saw soothfastly that we be not dead in the sight of God, nor He passeth never from us. But He shall never have His full bliss in us till we have our full bliss in Him, verily seeing His fair Blissful Cheer. For we are ordained thereto in nature, and get thereto by grace. Thus I saw how sin is deadly for a short time in the blessed creatures of endless life.
- Ever the more clearly that the soul seeth this Blissful Cheer by grace of loving, the more it longeth to see it in fulness. For notwithstanding that our Lord God dwelleth in us and is here with us, and albeit He claspeth us and encloseth us for tender love that He may never leave us, and is more near to us than tongue can tell or heart can think, yet may we never stint of moaning nor of weeping nor of longing till when we see Him clearly in His Blissful Countenance. For in that precious blissful sight there may no woe abide, nor any weal fail.
- In this I saw matter of mirth and matter of moaning: matter of mirth: for our Lord, our Maker, is so near to us, and in us, and we in Him, by sureness of keeping through His great goodness; matter of moaning: for our ghostly eye is so blind and we be so borne down by weight of our mortal flesh and darkness of sin, that we may not see our Lord God clearly in His fair Blissful Cheer. No; and because of this dimness scarsely we can believe and trust His great love and our sureness of keeping. And therefore it is that I say we may never stint of moaning nor of weeping. This "weeping" meaneth not all in pouring out of tears by our bodily eye, but also hath more ghostly understanding. For the kindly desire of our soul is so great and so unmeasurable, that if there were given us for our solace and for our comfort all the noble things that ever God made in heaven and in earth, and we saw not the fair Blissful Cheer of Himself, yet we should not stint of moaning nor ghostly weeping, that is to say, of painful longing, till when we see verily the fair Blissful Cheer of our Maker. And if we were in all the pain that heart can think and tongue may tell, if we might in that time see His fair Blissful Cheer, all this pain should not aggrieve us.
- Thus is that Blissful Sight end of all manner of pain to the loving soul, and the fulfilling of all manner of joy and bliss. And that shewed He in the high, marvellous words where He said: I IT AM that is highest; I IT AM that is lowest; I IT AM that is ALL.
- Variant translation to modern English: I am that which is highest, I am that which is lowest, I am that which is ALL.
- It belongeth to us to have three manner of knowings: the first is that we know our Lord God; the second is that we know our self: what we are by Him, in Nature and Grace; the third is that we know meekly what our self is anent our sin and feebleness. And for these three was all the Shewing made, as to mine understanding.
- All the blessed teaching of our Lord was shewed by three parts: that is to say, by bodily sight, and by word formed in mine understanding, and by spiritual sight. For the bodily sight, I have said as I saw, as truly as I can; and for the words, I have said them right as our Lord shewed them to me; and for the spiritual sight, I have told some deal, but I may never fully tell it: and therefore of this sight I am stirred to say more, as God will give me grace.
- Generally, He shewed sin, wherein that all is comprehended, but in special He shewed only these two. And these two are they that most do travail and tempest us, according to that which our Lord shewed me; and of them He would have us be amended. I speak of such men and women as for God’s love hate sin and dispose themselves to do God’s will: then by our spiritual blindness and bodily heaviness we are most inclining to these. And therefore it is God’s will that they be known, for then we shall refuse them as we do other sins.
- For help of this, full meekly our Lord shewed the patience that He had in His Hard Passion; and also the joying and the satisfying that He hath of that Passion, for love. And this He shewed in example that we should gladly and wisely bear our pains, for that is great pleasing to Him and endless profit to us. And the cause why we are travailed with them is for lack in knowing of Love. Though the three Persons in the Trinity be all even in Itself, the soul took most understanding in Love; yea, and He willeth that in all things we have our beholding and our enjoying in Love. And of this knowing are we most blind. For some of us believe that God is Almighty and may do all, and that He is All-Wisdom and can do all; but that He is All-Love and will do all, there we stop short. And this not-knowing it is, that hindereth most God’s lovers, as to my sight.
- When we begin to hate sin, and amend us by the ordinance of Holy Church, yet there dwelleth a dread that letteth us, because of the beholding of our self and of our sins afore done. And some of us because of our every-daily sins: for we hold not our Covenants, nor keep we our cleanness that our Lord setteth us in, but fall oftentimes into so much wretchedness that shame it is to see it. And the beholding of this maketh us so sorry and so heavy, that scarsely we can find any comfort.
And this dread we take sometime for a meekness, but it is a foul blindness and a weakness. And we cannot despise it as we do another sin, that we know: for it cometh of Enmity, and it is against truth. For it is God’s will that of all the properties of the blissful Trinity, we should have most sureness and comfort in Love: for Love maketh Might and Wisdom full meek to us. For right as by the courtesy of God He forgiveth our sin after the time that we repent us, right so willeth He that we forgive our sin, as anent our unskilful heaviness and our doubtful dreads.
- I understand four manner of dreads. One is the dread of an affright that cometh to a man suddenly by frailty. This dread doeth good, for it helpeth to purge man, as doeth bodily sickness or such other pain as is not sin. For all such pains help man if they be patiently taken. The second is dread of pain, whereby man is stirred and wakened from sleep of sin. He is not able for the time to perceive the soft comfort of the Holy Ghost, till he have understanding of this dread of pain, of bodily death, of spiritual enemies; and this dread stirreth us to seek comfort and mercy of God, and thus this dread helpeth us, and enableth us to have contrition by the blissful touching of the Holy Ghost. The third is doubtful dread. Doubtful dread in as much as it draweth to despair, God will have it turned in us into love by the knowing of love: that is to say, that the bitterness of doubt be turned into the sweetness of natural love by grace. For it may never please our Lord that His servants doubt in His Goodness. The fourth is reverent dread: for there is no dread that fully pleaseth God in us but reverent dread. And that is full soft, for the more it is had, the less it is felt for sweetness of love.'
- Love and Dread are brethren, and they are rooted in us by the Goodness of our Maker, and they shall never be taken from us without end. We have of nature to love and we have of grace to love: and we have of nature to dread and we have of grace to dread. It belongeth to the Lordship and to the Fatherhood to be dreaded, as it belongeth to the Goodness to be loved: and it belongeth to us that are His servants and His children to dread Him for Lordship and Fatherhood, as it belongeth to us to love Him for Goodness.
- Though this reverent-dread and love be not parted asunder, yet they are not both one, but they are two in property and in working, and neither of them may be had without other. Therefore I am sure, he that loveth, he dreadeth, though that he feel it but a little.
- All dreads other than reverent dread that are proffered to us, though they come under the colour of holiness yet are not so true, and hereby may they be known asunder.—That dread that maketh us hastily to flee from all that is not good and fall into our Lord’s breast, as the Child into the Mother’s bosom, with all our intent and with all our mind, knowing our feebleness and our great need, knowing His everlasting goodness and His blissful love, only seeking to Him for salvation, cleaving to with sure trust: that dread that bringeth us into this working, it is natural, gracious, good and true. And all that is contrary to this, either it is wrong, or it is mingled with wrong. Then is this the remedy, to know them both and refuse the wrong.
- The natural property of dread which we have in this life by the gracious working of the Holy Ghost, the same shall be in heaven afore God, gentle, courteous, and full delectable. And thus we shall in love be homely and near to God, and we shall in dread be gentle and courteous to God: and both alike equal.
- Desire we of our Lord God to dread Him reverently, to love Him meekly, to trust in Him mightily; for when we dread Him reverently and love Him meekly our trust is never in vain. For the more that we trust, and the more mightily, the more we please and worship our Lord that we trust in. And if we fail in this reverent dread and meek love (as God forbid we should!), our trust shall soon be misruled for the time. And therefore it needeth us much to pray our Lord of grace that we may have this reverent dread and meek love, of His gift, in heart and in work. For without this, no man may please God.
- I saw that God can do all that we need. And these three that I shall speak of we need: love, longing, pity. Pity in love keepeth us in the time of our need; and longing in the same love draweth us up into Heaven. For the Thirst of God is to have the general Man unto Him: in which thirst He hath drawn His Holy that be now in bliss; and getting His lively members, ever He draweth and drinketh, and yet He thirsteth and longeth.
- I saw three manners of longing in God, and all to one end; of which we have the same in us, and by the same virtue and for the same end.
The first is, that He longeth to teach us to know Him and love Him evermore, as it is convenient and speedful to us. The second is, that He longeth to have us up to His Bliss, as souls are when they are taken out of pain into Heaven. The third is to fulfill us in bliss; and that shall be on the Last Day, fulfilled ever to last. For I saw, as it is known in our Faith, that the pain and the sorrow shall be ended to all that shall be saved. And not only we shall receive the same bliss that souls afore have had in heaven, but also we shall receive a new, which plenteously shall be flowing out of God into us and shall fulfill us; and these be the goods which He hath ordained to give us from without beginning. These goods are treasured and hid in Himself; for unto that time Creature is mighty nor worthy to receive them.
- In this we shall see verily the cause of all things that He hath done; and evermore we shall see the cause of all things that He hath suffered. And the bliss and the fulfilling shall be so deep and so high that, for wonder and marvel, all creatures shall have to God so great reverent dread, overpassing that which hath been seen and felt before, that the pillars of heaven shall tremble and quake. But this manner of trembling and dread shall have no pain; but it belongeth to the worthy might of God thus to be beholden by His creatures, in great dread trembling and quaking for meekness of joy, marvelling at the greatness of God the Maker and at the littleness of all that is made. For the beholding of this maketh the creature marvellously meek and mild.
Wherefore God willeth—and also it belongeth to us, both in nature and grace—that we wit and know of this, desiring this sight and this working; for it leadeth us in right way, and keepeth us in true life, and oneth us to God. And as good as God is, so great He is; and as much as it belongeth to His goodness to be loved, so much it belongeth to His greatness to be dreaded. For this reverent dread is the fair courtesy that is in Heaven afore God’s face. And as much as He shall then be known and loved overpassing that He is now, in so much He shall be dreaded overpassing that He is now.
Wherefore it behoveth needs to be that all Heaven and earth shall tremble and quake when the pillars shall tremble and quake.
- I speak but little of reverent dread, for I hope it may be seen in this matter aforesaid. But well I wot our Lord shewed me no souls but those that dread Him. For well I wot the soul that truly taketh the teaching of the Holy Ghost, it hateth more sin for vileness and horribleness than it doth all the pain that is in hell. For the soul that beholdeth the fair nature of our Lord Jesus, it hateth no hell but sin, as to my sight. And therefore it is God’s will that we know sin, and pray busily and travail earnestly and seek teaching meekly that we fall not blindly therein; and if we fall, that we rise readily. For it is the most pain that the soul may have, to turn from God any time by sin.
- The soul that willeth to be in rest when other man’s sin cometh to mind, he shall flee it as the pain of hell, seeking unto God for remedy, for help against it. For the beholding of other man’s sins, it maketh as it were a thick mist afore the eyes of the soul, and we cannot, for the time, see the fairness of God, but if we may behold them with contrition with him, with compassion on him, and with holy desire to God for him. For without this it harmeth and tempesteth and hindereth the soul that beholdeth them. For this I understood in the Shewing of Compassion.
- In this blissful Shewing of our Lord I have understanding of two contrary things: the one is the most wisdom that any creature may do in this life, the other is the most folly. The most wisdom is for a creature to do after the will and counsel of his highest sovereign Friend. This blessed Friend is Jesus, and it is His will and His counsel that we hold us with Him, and fasten us to Him homely—evermore, in what state soever that we be; for whether-so that we be foul or clean, we are all one in His loving. For weal nor for woe He willeth never we flee from Him. But because of the changeability that we are in, in our self, we fall often into sin. Then we have this by the stirring of our enemy and by our own folly and blindness: for they say thus: Thou seest well thou art a wretched creature, a sinner, and also unfaithful. For thou keepest not the Command; thou dost promise oftentimes our Lord that thou shalt do better, and anon after, thou fallest again into the same, especially into sloth and losing of time. (For that is the beginning of sin, as to my sight,—and especially to the creatures that have given them to serve our Lord with inward beholding of His blessed Goodness.) And this maketh us adread to appear afore our courteous Lord. Thus is it our enemy that would put us aback with his false dread, of our wretchedness, through pain that he threateth us with. For it is his meaning to make us so heavy and so weary in this, that we should let out of mind the fair, Blissful Beholding of our Everlasting Friend.
- Our good Lord shewed the enmity of the Fiend: in which Shewing I understood that all that is contrary to love and peace is of the Fiend and of his part. And we have, of our feebleness and our folly, to fall; and we have, of mercy and grace of the Holy Ghost, to rise to more joy.
- Let us say thus in our thinking: I know well I have a shrewd pain; but our Lord is All-Mighty and may punish me mightily; and He is All-Wisdom and can punish me discerningly; and He is all-Goodness and loveth me full tenderly. And in this beholding it is necessary for us to abide; for it is a lovely meekness of a sinful soul, wrought by mercy and grace of the Holy Ghost, when we willingly and gladly take the scourge and chastening of our Lord that Himself will give us. And it shall be full tender and full easy, if that we will only hold us satisfied with Him and with all His works.
- The penance that man taketh of himself was not shewed me: that is to say, it was not shewed specified. But specially and highly and with full lovely manner of look was it shewed that we shall meekly bear and suffer the penance that God Himself giveth us, with mind in His blessed Passion.
- He saith: Accuse not self overdone much, deeming that thy tribulation and thy woe is all for thy fault; for I will not that thou be heavy or sorrowful indiscreetly. For I tell thee, howsoever thou do, thou shalt have woe. And therefore I will that thou wisely know thy penance; and shalt see in truth that all thy living is penance profitable.
- Variant: Accuse not thyself overmuch, deeming that thy tribulation and thy woe is all thy fault...
- This place is prison and this life is penance, and in the remedy He willeth that we rejoice. The remedy is that our Lord is with us, keeping and leading into the fulness of joy. For this is an endless joy to us in our Lord’s signifying, that He that shall be our bliss when we are there, He is our keeper while we are here. Our way and our heaven is true love and sure trust; and of this He gave understanding in all and especially in the Shewing of the Passion where He made me mightily to choose Him for my heaven.
- Our courteous Lord willeth that we should be as homely with Him as heart may think or soul may desire. But beware that we take not so recklessly this homeliness as to leave courtesy. For our Lord Himself is sovereign homeliness, and as homely as He is, so courteous He is: for He is very courteous. And the blessed creatures that shall be in heaven with Him without end, He will have them like to Himself in all things. And to be like our Lord perfectly, it is our very salvation and our full bliss.
- Our Lord of His mercy sheweth us our sin and our feebleness by the sweet gracious light of Himself; for our sin is so vile and so horrible that He of His courtesy will not shew it to us but by the light of His grace and mercy.
- Of four things therefore it is His will that we have knowing: the first is, that He is our Ground from whom we have all our life and our being. The second is, that He keepeth us mightily and mercifully in the time that we are in our sin and among all our enemies, that are full fell upon us; and so much we are in the more peril for we give them occasion thereto, and know not our own need. The third is, how courteously He keepeth us, and maketh us to know that we go amiss. The fourth is, how steadfastly He abideth us and changeth no regard: for He willeth that we be turned, and oned to Him in love as He is to us.
- Thus by this gracious knowing we may see our sin profitably without despair.
- By the sight of the less that our Lord sheweth us, the more is reckoned which we see not. For He of His courtesy measureth the sight to us; for it is so vile and so horrible that we should not endure to see it as it is.
- I learned that though we be highly lifted up into contemplation by the special gift of our Lord, yet it is needful to us therewith to have knowing and sight of our sin and our feebleness. For without this knowing we may not have true meekness, and without this we may not be saved.
And afterward, also, I saw that we may not have this knowing from our self; nor from none of all our spiritual enemies: for they will us not so great good. For if it were by their will, we should not see it until our ending day. Then be we greatly beholden to God for that He will Himself, for love, shew it to us in time of mercy and grace.
- In that He shewed me that I should sin, I took it nakedly to mine own singular person, for I was none otherwise shewed at that time. But by the high, gracious comfort of our Lord that followed after, I saw that His meaning was for the general Man: that is to say, All-Man; which is sinful and shall be unto the last day. Of which Man I am a member, as I hope, by the mercy of God. For the blessed comfort that I saw, it is large enough for us all. And here was I learned that I should see mine own sin, and not other men’s sins but if it may be for comfort and help of mine even-Christians.
- Variant: I was taught that I should see mine own sin, and not other men’s sin except it may be for comfort and help of my fellow-Christians.
- Also in this same Shewing where I saw that I should sin, there was I learned to be in dread for unsureness of myself. For I wot not how I shall fall, nor I know not the measure nor the greatness of sin; for that would I have wist, with dread, and thereto I had none answer.
Also our courteous Lord in the same time He shewed full surely and mightily the endlessness and the unchangeability of His love; and, afterward, that by His great goodness and His grace inwardly keeping, the love of Him and our soul shall never be disparted in two, without end.
And thus in this dread I have matter of meekness that saveth me from presumption, and in the blessed Shewing of Love I have matter of true comfort and of joy that saveth me from despair.
- He willeth that we know by the sweetness and homely loving of Him, that all that we see or feel, within or without, that is contrary to this is of the enemy and not of God. And thus—If we be stirred to be the more reckless of our living or of the keeping of our hearts because that we have knowing of this plenteous love, then need we greatly to beware. For this stirring, if it come, is untrue; and greatly we ought to hate it, for it all hath no likeness of God’s will. And when that we be fallen, by frailty or blindness, then our courteous Lord toucheth us and stirreth us and calleth us; and then willeth He that we see our wretchedness and meekly be aware of it. But He willeth not that we abide thus, nor He willeth not that we busy us greatly about our accusing, nor He willeth not that we be wretched over our self; but He willeth that we hastily turn ourselves unto Him. For He standeth all aloof and abideth us sorrowfully and mournfully till when we come, and hath haste to have us to Him. For we are His joy and His delight, and He is our salve and our life.
- By three things man standeth in this life; by which three God is worshipped, and we be speeded, kept and saved.
The first is, use of man’s Reason natural; the second is, common teaching of Holy Church; the third is, inward gracious working of the Holy Ghost. And these three be all of one God: God is the ground of our natural reason; and God, the teaching of Holy Church; and God is the Holy Ghost. And all be sundry gifts to which He willeth that we have great regard, and attend us thereto. For these work in us continually all together; and these be great things.
- He dwelleth here with us, and ruleth us and governeth us in this living, and bringeth us to His bliss. And this shall He do as long as any soul is in earth that shall come to heaven,—and so far forth that if there were no such soul but one, He should be withal alone till He had brought him up to His bliss.
- I believe and understand the ministration of angels, as clerks tell us: but it was not shewed me. For Himself is nearest and meekest, highest and lowest, and doeth all. And not only all that we need, but also He doeth all that is worshipful, to our joy in heaven.
- Where I say that He abideth sorrowfully and moaning, it meaneth all the true feeling that we have in our self, in contrition and compassion, and all sorrowing and moaning that we are not oned with our Lord. And all such that is speedful, it is Christ in us. And though some of us feel it seldom, it passeth never from Christ till what time He hath brought us out of all our woe. For love suffereth never to be without pity.
- Our Good Lord shewed Himself in diverse manners both in heaven and in earth, but I saw Him take no place save in man’s soul.
He shewed Himself in earth in the sweet Incarnation and in His blessed Passion. And in other manner He shewed Himself in earth where I say: I saw God in a Point. And in another manner He shewed Himself in earth thus as it were in pilgrimage: that is to say, He is here with us, leading us, and shall be till when He hath brought us all to His bliss in heaven. He shewed Himself diverse times reigning, as it is aforesaid; but principally in man’s soul. He hath taken there His resting-place and His worshipful City: out of which worshipful See He shall never rise nor remove without end.
- Marvellous and stately is the place where the Lord dwelleth, and therefore He willeth that we readily answer to His gracious touching, more rejoicing in His whole love than sorrowing in our often fallings. For it is the most worship to Him of anything that we may do, that we live gladly and merrily, for His love, in our penance. For He beholdeth us so tenderly that He seeth all our living a penance: for nature’s longing in us is to Him aye-lasting penance in us : which penance He worketh in us and mercifully He helpeth us to bear it. For His love maketh Him to long; His wisdom and His truth with His rightfulness maketh Him to suffer us here: and in this same manner He willeth to see it in us.
- He willeth that we set our hearts in the Overpassing : that is to say, from the pain that we feel into the bliss that we trust.
- But here shewed our courteous Lord the moaning and the mourning of the soul, signifying thus: I know well thou wilt live for my love, joyously and gladly suffering all the penance that may come to thee; but in as much as thou livest not without sin thou wouldest suffer, for my love, all the woe, all the tribulation and distress that might come to thee. And it is sooth. But be not greatly aggrieved with sin that falleth to thee against thy will.
And here I understood that that the Lord beholdeth the servant with pity and not with blame. For this passing life asketh not to live all without blame and sin.
- If any such lover be in earth which is continually kept from falling, I know it not: for it was not shewed me. But this was shewed: that in falling and in rising we are ever preciously kept in one Love. For in the Beholding of God we fall not, and in the beholding of self we stand not; and both these be sooth as to my sight. But the Beholding of our Lord God is the highest soothness. Then are we greatly bound to God that He willeth in this living to shew us this high soothness. And I understood that while we be in this life it is full speedful to us that we see both these at once. For the higher Beholding keepeth us in spiritual solace and true enjoying in God; that other that is the lower Beholding keepeth us in dread and maketh us ashamed of ourself. But our good Lord willeth ever that we hold us much more in the Beholding of the higher, and leave not the knowing of the lower, unto the time that we be brought up above, where we shall have our Lord Jesus unto our meed and be fulfilled of joy and bliss without end.
- I had, in part, touching, sight, and feeling in three properties of God, in which the strength and effect of all the Revelation standeth: and they were seen in every Shewing, and most properly in the Twelfth, where it saith oftentimes: The properties are these: Life, Love, and Light. In life is marvellous homeliness, and in love is gentle courtesy, and in light is endless Nature-hood. These properties were in one Goodness: unto which Goodness my Reason would be oned, and cleave to it with all its might.
- I beheld with reverent dread, and highly marvelling in the sight and in the feeling of the sweet accord, that our Reason is in God; understanding that it is the highest gift that we have received; and it is grounded in nature.
- Our faith is a light by nature coming of our endless Day, that is our Father, God. In which light our Mother, Christ, and our good Lord, the Holy Ghost, leadeth us in this passing life. This light is measured discreetly, needfully standing to us in the night. The light is cause of our life; the night is cause of our pain and of all our woe: in which we earn meed and thanks of God. For we, with mercy and grace, steadfastly know and believe our light, going therein wisely and mightily.
- Thus I saw and understood that our faith is our light in our night: which light is God, our endless Day.
- The light is Charity, and the measuring of this light is done to us profitably by the wisdom of God. For neither is the light so large that we may see our blissful Day, nor is it shut from us; but it is such a light in which we may live meedfully, with travail deserving the endless worship of God.
- Charity keepeth us in Faith and Hope, and Hope leadeth us in Charity. And in the end all shall be Charity.
- I had three manners of understanding of this light, Charity. The first is Charity unmade; the second is Charity made; the third is Charity given. Charity unmade is God; Charity made is our soul in God; Charity given is virtue. And that is a precious gift of working in which we love God, for Himself; and ourselves, in God; and that which God loveth, for God.
- In this sight I marvelled highly. For notwithstanding our simple living and our blindness here, yet endlessly our courteous Lord beholdeth us in this working, rejoicing; and of all things, we may please Him best wisely and truly to believe, and to enjoy with Him and in Him. For as verily as we shall be in the bliss of God without end, Him praising and thanking, so verily we have been in the foresight of God, loved and known in His endless purpose from without beginning. In which unbegun love He made us; and in the same love He keepeth us and never suffereth us to be hurt by which our bliss might be lost. And therefore when the Doom is given and we be all brought up above, then shall we clearly see in God the secret things which be now hid to us. Then shall none of us be stirred to say in any wise: Lord, if it had been thus, then it had been full well; but we shall say all with one voice: Lord, blessed mayst thou be, for it is thus: it is well; and now see we verily that all-thing is done as it was then ordained before that anything was made.
- This book is begun by God’s gift and His grace, but it is not yet performed, as to my sight.
- For Charity pray we all; with God’s working, thanking, trusting, enjoying. For thus will our good Lord be prayed to, as by the understanding that I took of all His own meaning and of the sweet words where He saith full merrily: I am the Ground of thy beseeching. For truly I saw and understood in our Lord’s meaning that He shewed it for that He willeth to have it known more than it is: in which knowing He will give us grace to love Him and cleave to Him. For He beholdeth His heavenly treasure with so great love on earth that He willeth to give us more light and solace in heavenly joy, in drawing to Him of our hearts, for sorrow and darkness which we are in.
- From that time that it was shewed I desired oftentimes to learn what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after, and more, I was answered in ghostly understanding, saying thus: Wouldst thou learn thy Lord’s meaning in this thing? Learn it well: Love was His meaning. Who shewed it thee? Love. What shewed He thee? Love. Wherefore shewed it He? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. But thou shalt never know nor learn therein other thing without end. Thus was I learned that Love was our Lord’s meaning.
- I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be. And in this love He hath done all His works; and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning: in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end.
- Revelations of Divine Love in several formats at CCEL
- Julian of Norwich, Texts, being a subsection of Julian of Norwich, Her Texts and Contexta, Website
- Mother Julian of Norwich - Selected prayers and poems