Fire and Spirit: Women Christian Mystics Week 4: Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) Anchorite whose visions of “Christ Our Mother” are filled with extraordinary tenderness and exquisite consolation.
Margery Kempe (1373-1438) Wife, mother of fourteen children, beer brewer, lay mystic and pilgrim. Surely one of the most memorable characters of the Middle Age.
Recommended Reading: The Complete Julian, Father John-Julian, OJN (Paraclete Press) A comprehensive volume, including an introduction to Julian’s life and times and a complete annotated modern translation of Revelations of Divine Love.
Julian's Gospel: Illuminating the Life and Revelations of Julian of Norwich, Veronica Mary Rolf (Orbis Books) A very thorough and insightful exploration of Julian's world, with a thoughtful commentary on the Revelations
Julian of Norwich: Showings, Classics of Western Spirituality Another fine volume and translation.
The Illuminator and The Mercy Seller, Brenda Rickman Vantrease Well-researched and imminently readable historical novels about the Lollards, Hussites and fight to translate the Bible into the vernacular language. Features Julian of Norwich as a character.
The Book of Margery Kempe (Penguin Classics) Earthy, unabashedly dramatic, often funny and endearing autobiography of an unforgettable English woman’s call to the spiritual life.
Quotes by Julian of Norwich
“God, of thy goodness, give me Thyself; for Thou art enough for me, and I can ask for nothing less that can be full honor to Thee. And if I ask anything that is less, ever Shall I be in want, for only in Thee have I all.”
“There are deeds which are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, 'You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well', as if he said, 'Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time you will truly see it in the fullness of joy.”
“Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God, and from these two comes a third, a holy and wonderful delight in God, who is love.”
“In this vision he showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought, “What may this be?”. And it was generally answered thus: “It is all that is made.”
I marveled at how it might last, for it seemed it might suddenly have sunk into nothing because of its littleness. And it was answered in my understanding: “it lasts and ever shall, because God loves it.”
Links to useful websites: Margery Kempe: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/margery.htm Audiobook of Revelations of Divine Love,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z0er8lToUQ