Selections from Julian’s 16 Showings

"All his revelation was shown in three ways … by what I saw with my eyes, by words formed in my understanding, and by spiritual insight."

Bibliography for quotations - click the link to purchase the book

Del Mastro, M.L. (translator), Revelations of Divine Love 
New York: Doubleday, 1977

Furlong, Monica (compiler), The Wisdom of Julian of Norwich
Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1996

Upjohn, Sheila, All Shall be Well
London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1996

Chapter references are to the "Long Text", composed by Julian 20 years after the revelations

First -

Chapter 1- Del Mastro translation - page 81

The first showing is of his precious crowning with thorns. In it are contained and specified the blessed Trinity, with the Incarnation, and the uniting of man’s soul with God. There are also many fair showing and teachings of eternal wisdom and love. In these, all the showings that follow are grounded and joined.

Reference: Chapter 8 - pp. 94-96 in Del Mastro translation - abridged quotations

  1. Tokens of the blessed passion and the abundant shedding of his precious blood
  2. The maiden who is his excellent mother
  3. The blissful Godhead that ever was, is, and shall be, Almighty, All-wisdom and All-love
  4. All things he has made. I know well that heaven and earth and all that is made is great, large, fair and good. The reason it looked so little to me was that I saw it in the presence of him who made it all. …
  5. He who made all things for love, keeps them in the same love and shall do so forever.
  6. God is everything that is good, as I see it, and the goodness anything has is he.
Upjohn text page 9:

Therefore I pray you all, for God’s sake, and I tell you for your own good, that you do not let your eyes dwell on the humble woman this was shown to, but let your sight go beyond - and wisely, humbly, and mightily behold God who, by his courteous love and endless goodness, wishes it to be widely known to comfort us all.

Second- discolouring of his face

Chapter 10 - Upjohn text pages 12-16:

"I saw how he was scorned, and spat on, and sullied and beaten - and many long-drawn agonies … I saw this with my outward sight, dimly and darkly, and I asked for better light, so as to see more clearly.

And I was answered in my mind: ‘If God wills to show you more, he will be your light. You have need of none but him.’ For I saw him while I sought him.

For here we are so blind and foolish that we never look for God until he, in his goodness, shows himself to us. When we see something of him, though his grace, then we are guided by the same grace to seek him with great longing, and to see him more joyfully."

Two works that can be seen in this showing: one is seeking, the other is seeing:

  1. That we seek willingly and actively, without sloth (as we can through his grace), gladly and happily, without foolish sadness and empty sorrow.
  2. That we wait upon him steadfastly for love, not grumbling and striving against him, until our life’s end - for it lasts so short a time
  3. That we trust him completely with certainty of faith. For it is his will that we know he will come suddenly and joyfully to all who love him. For his way is secret, his will is to be seen, his coming shall be right sudden, and his will is to be trusted. For he is gracious and homely. Blessed may he be!
…And so I was taught in my mind that seeking is as good as seeing during the time he lets the soul labour.

And he himself shall teach a soul how it may come to have a sight of him. And this is most glory to him and profit to you, and the richest way to receive meekness and virtue by the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Third- "I saw God in a point - that is to say, I saw him in my understanding"

Chapter 11 - Upjohn text page 17:

"And I thought: ‘What is sin?’ For I saw in truth that God does all things, no matter how small they may be. And I saw that nothing happens by chance, but by far-sighted wisdom of God. If it seems like chance or accident to us, it is because we are blind and blinkered …And here I saw truly that sin has no substance, for in all this there was never a sight of sin. And so the rightfulness of God’s work was shown to my soul.

Rightfulness has two good properties: it is right and it is complete - and so are the works of our Lord God. They need the operation of neither mercy nor grace, for they are complete and lack nothing."

Fourth - Vision of Jesus’ Scourging

How it pleases God better to wash us clean from sin in his blood rather than in water, for his blood is most precious

Chapter 12 - Del Mastro text page 103:

"The precious plenty of his most highly valued blood overflows the entire earth, and is ready to wash clean from sin all creatures who are, have been, and shall be of good will. It descended down into hell and… delivered all those there who belonged to the court of heaven….(It) ascends into heaven in the blessed body of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is there in him bleeding, praying for us to the Father; it is and shall be as long as there is need. It flows in all of heaven forever, enjoying the salvation of all mankind who are there, and it shall fill up the number that is lacking [of those who are to be saved.]"

Fifth - "the fiend" is overcome by the precious Passion of Christ

Chapter 13 - Upjohn text pages 20-21

"And after this, before God spoke any word, he allowed me to look upon him for a while. And all that I had seen and all the meaning of it was there, as far as the simplicity of my soul could understand it. Then he… formed these words in my soul: ‘By this [his Passion] is the fiend overcome.’

God showed that the fiend has the same malice now as he had before the incarnation. And, hard as he works, so he continually sees that all the souls of salvation escape him, gloriously, by virtue of Christ’s Passion

For all that God allows him to do turns to joy to us, and shame and woe to him … he can never do as much evil as he would like, for his power is all taken into God’s hands.

But in God there is no anger… For (He) always has in his mind his own goodness and the rewarding of those who shall be saved. He sets his might and his right in the path of the Evil One, who, for wickedness and malice, busies himself to plot and work against God’s will … I saw the Lord scorn the devil’s malice and expose his lack of power - and he wills that we should do so, too.

Because of this sight I laughed aloud and made those who were round me laugh too, and their laughing rejoiced my heart....

I see three things: joy, scorn, and truth. …. Joy that the fiend is overcome… scorn because God scorns him and he shall be scorned hereafter … truth in that he is overcome by the blessed Passion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which was done in truth and with hard labour.’

I thought of Judgement Day and of all those who shall be saved, whose happiness he greatly envies … he shall see that all the grief and trouble he has brought upon them shall be turned into even greater joy for them, without end."

Sixth - Gratitude full of honour with which God rewards his servants, and its three joys - vision of a great feast in heaven

Chapter 14 - Upjohn text pages 22-23

"..The Lord did not sit in state.. but ranged royally through the whole house, filling it full of joy and laughter. He himself, courteously and companionably, greeted and delighted his dear friends with love shining from his fair face like a marvellous melody that has no end.

God showed three kinds of joy that every soul that has served God willingly on earth shall have in heaven.

  1. The wonderful thanks of our Lord God, which shall be his as soon as he is delivered from this world’s pain… so great and glorious that he will think it fills him to the brim … all the toil and trouble that all mortal men together could suffer would not be enough to deserve the glorious thanks that just one man shall have who has served God willingly
  2. This glorious thanksgiving shall be seen by all the blessed souls that are in heaven. For God makes a man’s service to him known to all the heavenly host … if a king thanks his servants, it is great praise to them. But if he makes it known throughout his kingdom, then the glory is that much greater.
  3. That the freshness and delight of that moment shall last forever.
…No matter when, or for how long, a man or woman is truly turned to God, even for one day’s service given with his whole will, he shall have all three kinds of joy without end.

And the more a loving soul sees this graciousness of God, the more he wants to serve him all the days of his life.

Seventh - Our frequent alterations of feelings - between "well being and woe", both of which express the same love

Chapter 14 - Upjohn text pages 22-23

"…. God wants us to know that he keeps us safe through good and ill.

For his soul’s sake a man is sometimes left on his own, but his sin is not always the cause. For during this time I did not sin, so why should I have been forsaken - and so suddenly? Also I did nothing to deserve this feeling of bliss.

But our Lord freely gives what it is his will to give, ad sometimes lets us suffer woe - and both are part of one love. For bliss is lasting and pain is passing, and shall come to nothing for those who shall be saved … it is not God’s will that we should linger over pain with sorrow… but that we should pass quickly through it to joy without end."

Eighth - The last pains of Christ and his cruel death

Chapter 18 - Del Mastro text page 111

"For it seemed to me my pain went beyond bodily death. I thought, "Is any pain in hell like this?" And I was answered in my reason, "Hell has another pain, for despair is there. But of all the pains that lead to salvation, the greatest is to see your love suffer." How could any pain be greater to me than to see him, who is all my life, all my bliss and joy, suffer?

Here I felt truthfully that I loved Christ himself so much more than myself that there was no pain that could be suffered like the sorrow I had to see him in pain."

Ninth - Pleasure in the blessed Trinity because of the accomplishment of the Passion and death of Christ.

"In this joy and pleasure, he wills we have solace and mirth with him, until we come to the full glory in heaven."

Chapter 23 - Del Mastro text pages 119-121

"And in these words [of Christ], ‘It is a joy, a bliss, and endless delight to me,’, three heavens were showed, as follows:

For the joy I understood the pleasure of the Father, for the bliss, the glorification of the Son and for the endless delight, the Holy Spirit…

It is God’s will that we take true delight with him in our salvation that is why he wills that our souls be cheerfully occupied with his grace, for we are his bliss."

Tenth - Jesus shows his heart cloven in two for love (the wound in His side)

Chapter 24 - Upjohn text page 40

"And there he showed a fair and lovely place, large enough for all mankind that shall be saved to rest in peace and love.... And in this dear sight she showed his blessed heart split clean in two.

And also, so that I should understand better, these words were spoken: "Look how I loved you. Look and see that I loved you so much before I died for you that I was ready to die for you, and now I have died for you, and suffered of my own free will so I could do it.

And now all my bitter pain and agony is turned into endless joy for you and me. How could it be that now you should ask me anything that pleases me and I should not grant it you? For my pleasure is your holiness and in the endless joy and bliss you share with me.’"

Eleventh - "a noble, spiritual showing of his excellent mother"

Three images: as she conceived, as she was in her sorrows at the Cross, and as she is now in delight, glory and joy

Chapter 25 - Upjohn text page 41

" ‘Can you see in her how you yourself are loved? It was for love of you that I made her so high, so noble, and so good. And this brings me great joy - and I want it to bring you joy, too.’

But in all this I was taught not to wish to see her bodily presence while I am here on earth, but to want to understand the virtues of her soul - her truth, her wisdom, and her love. Through understanding this I can learn to know myself and reverently praise God."

Twelfth - Our Lord God is Being All-Sovereign

Chapter 26 - Del Mastro text page 123

"Our Lord showed himself more glorious in my sight than I had ever seen him before. In this I was taught that our soul shall never have rest until it comes to him, knowing that he is the fullness of joy, familiarly and courteously blissful, and life itself.

Our Lord Jesus frequently said, 'I am it! I am the one! I am that which is the highest! I am what you love! I am what delights you! I am the one you serve! I am what you long for! I am what you desire! I am what you intend! I am all! I am what holy Church preaches and teaches you! I am the one who has shown myself to you here.' "

Thirteenth - God wills that we have great regards for his deeds and the nobility of his creation

"Behold and see! For by the same might, wisdom, and goodness that I have done all this, I shall make well all that is not well, and you will see it."

Chapter 27 - Del Mastro text pages 123-125

"It seemed to me that, if sin had not existed, we would all have been pure and like Our Lord, as he made us. Thus, in my folly, before this time, I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the beginning of sin had not been prevented, for then, I thought, all would have been well.

This stirring definitely ought to have been given up; nevertheless, I mourned and sorrowed on its account without reason or discretion. But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all I needed to know, answered in these words, saying:

"Sin is necessary, but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

…. I saw a marvellous, lofty secret hidden in God, which he shall make known openly to us in heaven. In knowing it we shall see in truth the reason why he allowed sin to come, and in this sight we shall endlessly rejoice in our Lord God."

Fourteenth- God is the ground of our prayer

Chapter 42 - Del Mastro text pages 147-152

"Our Lord God wills that we have true understanding, especially of the three things that belong to our prayer

…. we know that the fruit and end of our prayers is to be made one with Our Lord and to live for him in all things …our prayers and our trust should be equally far reaching."

Of the properties of the Trinity; how man's soul, a creature, has the same properties, doing what it was made for: seeing, contemplating, and marvelling at its God; and that, by so doing, it seems as nothing to itself:

"Truth sees God, and wisdom contemplates God. From these two comes the third, which is a holy, marvellous delight in God, who is love. Where truth and wisdom are, in truth, there is love, coming in reality from both of them, and all are of God's making. For he is endless sovereign truth, endless sovereign wisdom and endless sovereign love, all of them uncreated.

And man's soul is a creature of God that has the same properties in created form. It does forever what it was made for: it sees God, it contemplates God, and it loves God. Because of this, God rejoices in the creature and the creature rejoices in God, marvelling endlessly. In this marvelling, it sees its God, its Lord, its maker - so noble, so great, and so good that the creature seems like nothing to itself. But the brightness and clearness of truth and wisdom make it see and recognise that it is made for the love in which God endlessly preserves it."

Fifteenth - Joy, Bliss, and Heaven

Chapter 64 - Upjohn text page 148

It is wholly blessed when man is taken from pain …and so it is a wonderful comfort to the beloved soul….

It is God's will that we should set the point of our thought in this blessed sight as often as we can, and remain there as long as we can, by God's grace. … afterwards, when we fall back into our sadness and our spiritual blindness, and in our frailty are prey to pains - both bodily and spiritual - it is God's will that we know he has not forgotten us.

Sixteenth - Glorious Sight of the Soul - in it the Trinity rejoices

Chapter 67 - Del Mastro text pages 206-207

The place that Jesus takes in our soul he shall never remove himself from, without end, as I see it. For in us is his most homelike home and his endless dwelling. This he showed in the delight he takes in the creation of man's soul. For as well as the Father could make a creature and as well as the Son could make a creature, so well did the Holy Spirit will that man's soul be made - and so was it done. Therefore the blessed Trinity rejoices without end in the creation of man's soul, for he saw without beginning what would please him without end.

Julian of Norwich - main essay
God as Mother