Today the church remembers Dame Julian of Norwich, c. 1417.Dame Julian, or Lady Julian, so named from her gentle birth, was born in 1342. She claimed to be a simple, unlettered person; but though she was not learned, she was by no means uneducated. She knew her Bible and the teaching of the church, and she could express herself in vigorous English. It is possible, though there is no proof, that she became a Benedictine nun. On May 8, 1373, at the age of thirty, she received a series of “Sixteen Shewings” that are recorded in the first version of her Revelations of Divine Love. These visions came in response to prayers for “three gifts from God”: to have the mind of Christ"s Passion, a bodily sickness, and the gift of three wounds—of contrition, compassion, and a “willful longing toward God.” Some twenty years later her Revelations were expanded as a result of “inward teaching.” After the experience of 1373 she retired, with a personal servant, to a hermitage in the churchyard of St. Julian, Conisford, Norwich, so situated that she could witness the celebration of Mass in the church and receive visitors. The date of her death is unknown. The latest document that mentions her is dated 1416. Her book reveals tender meditations on the Passion of Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, combined with a keen intellect and shrewd common sense, and a concern for the salvation of Jews and pagans. Her remarkable sense of balance and proportion is exhibited in her Revelations. Reveal to us your Passion, Lord Christ, that we might celebrate with joy the mystery of our salvation. Amen.
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Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.