Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Julian of Norwich- First Showing

This post is part of my meditative reading through Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Divine Love during my renewal leave.

In the first showing Julian witnesses the “crowning of Christ”, where the crown of thorns is pushed onto Jesus’ head so roughly that the thorns cause blood to flow quite freely. The modern reader will likely recall Mel Gibson’s “Passion” film that seemed to delight in every gory detail of Jesus’ torture and execution.

Far from finding the image gruesome or repulsive, Julian is filled with joy because she is so aware of how she is a “sinful creature living in wretched flesh”, and God chose to endure this for her even so. The image also causes Julian to think of the oneness of the Trinity, but she doesn’t make the connection explicit. My guess is that the contrast of God’s ultimacy and humanity’s smallness makes her marvel that God chose to experience everything we experience, but I don’t know if that’s how she’s coming at it.

This showing also causes Julian to think of St. Mary, again contrasting God’s ultimacy with humanity’s smallness and how Mary marveled at the fullness of God dwelling within her. Not being Catholic, I don’t normally give as much attention to Mary as I do to some other people in biblical stories, but being a parent has given me lots of new things to think about. The holiest and most joyous moment of my life was when my daughter was born, yet it occurred in the midst of a lot of blood and pain (blocked by some excellent drugs). Jessica will tell you the same thing, and she has more ground to stand on because it was her blood and her discomfort in that holy moment.

Julian’s first showing reminds us that God can be profoundly experienced in the midst of the messiest human circumstances.

1 comment:

Rexi44 said...

Julian was amazing! "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." Looking forward to hearing more :)