Mother’s Day 2020: Evolutionary Leap with Julian of Norwich

Today is the one year anniversary of our Daily Meditations.  Happy Anniversary to all our helpers and to all our readers and meditators! 

We consciously launched our DM series on Mothers Day because we had Mother Earth and her goodness and her sufferings very much in our hearts and minds.  The Climate Change emergency dictates such spiritual attention and awakening.  So too does the current coronavirus pandemic which is, not incidentally, very much related to the  climate emergency.  Hopefully these meditations are nourishing us to resist both plagues with strength and imagination.

Icon of Julian of Norwich, with her cat. Icon by Br. Robert Lentz OFM.

Recently we have been meditating on Julian’s extended teachings on the Motherhood of God, God as Mother (and not just Father).  What are the fuller meanings for our times on this emphasis so deeply developed by Julian during her own times of a pandemic?

Julian, in emphasizing the motherhood of God (and calling the Trinity “Mother” and also Jesus “Mother”), is bringing back gender balance to self and culture.  She is calling for a Yin/Yang energy, a Feminine/sacred masculine energy, to balance self and culture.  Culturally speaking, would it be a revolution to bring feminine values into the very structures of what we call education, politics, economics, art, and religion? 

Mother and child touching faces. Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash.

Julian is inviting the mammal brain to stand up and be counted and to resist an exclusively dominant reptilian brain (“I win, you lose”).  Wouldn’t the return of  the mammal brain of compassion and kinship constitute a revolution? 

She is calling us to a still untried future that could take root after the current COVID-19 crisis moves on.  When we finally face the foundational ideology that denies climate change and derives from a deep animus against mother earth, we can, with her guidance, move beyond the patriarchal pessimism and control addictions that were truly flourishing in her century as a misbegotten response to the Black Death plague.  Then authoritarianism took precedence over community and despair reigned.  It all echoes what Adrienne Rich observed, a “fatalistic self-hatred” accompanies patriarchy wherever it goes.

Child and Mother in a field of flowers. Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash.

Julian is calling us to that great evolutionary leap called…Compassion.  Not unlike the call of the Dali Lama: “we can do away with all religion but not with compassion.  Compassion is my religion.”  Or Meister Eckhart: “The soul is where God is working compassion.”  Or Jesus: “Be you compassionate as your Father in heaven is compassionate.” 

But “compassion means justice” as Eckhart and the prophets of Israel taught.  And Julian recognizes that also:  “God is Justice.  God creates Justice in all who will be liberated through goodness.  God wants to be known and loved through Justice and Compassion now and forever.”*  

Julian calls us beyond mere knowledge to Wisdom.  Now wouldn’t that be a revolution in education were we to follow her lead?  For hundreds of years, during the modern era, education has been in pursuit of knowledge and not wisdom.  Indeed, wisdom was shelved precisely because wisdom is feminine and patriarchy had no place for it and because wisdom is cosmic, not human centered.  Education as a pursuit of wisdom was “pre-modern” and not modern.  In the Bible wisdom is feminine and in most languages and cultures around the world.  But the modern world banished her.  Not so, Julian and the pre-modern consciousness. 

By calling us to wisdom (as well as knowledge) Julian and Mother’s Day are calling us to a revolution in consciousness, a life of caring and interdependence.  Does all this begin to name the next leap in our evolutionary journey?


We are marking a very special occasion today – not only Mother’s Day, but also the one-year anniversary of the Daily Meditations.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, grandmothers, & to Gaia herself!

*Brendan Doyle, Meditations with Julian of Norwich, p. 61.

Banner Image: Mother and child covered in glitter. Photo by ketan rajput on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Which of these proposals of “evolutionary leaps” found in Julian do you find most pressing for our planet and Mother Earth today?  What other leaps do you sense in Julian’s work that are appropriate for our times?

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12 thoughts on “Mother’s Day 2020: Evolutionary Leap with Julian of Norwich”

  1. Avatar

    I was starving for good teaching and your Daily Meditations have filled me. I haven’t missed one of them! Thank you and Happy Anniversary!

  2. Avatar

    Bless you and all who help you put together these marvelous and inspiring meditations. They are rich with meaning. Thank you so much.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Sue,
      Thank you for this comment, and thank you for allowing these meditations to move you and inspire a thought to share with the rest of us. Your comments have been welcome.
      Gail SOfia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditationn Team

  3. Avatar

    I have been pondering your last three meditations on Julian. How exquisitely beautiful and full of hope and compassion her teachings are! I love especially the passage :” We were made for Love, and God wants to be thought of as our Lover.”

    Imagine how things would change in our world if even a small number of us would start to relate to our loving God in this way! And how does one relate to one’s lover? With compassion, truth, honesty, justice, and as she also says: “Love is a delight in God completely steeped in wonder.”

    And I thought, ‘ it is easy to love God in this manner, I don’t have to FEEL love (which is lovely when I do) , but being caught in the beauty around me, and above me, which fills me with wonder and rapture and thanksgiving is what Love is all about!
    I also loved that she commented: “Seeing God in this life cannot be a continuous experience, but our imaginations teach us blame and self-recrimination.” How freeing that is for me, for I have always felt “there was something wrong with me” because of my inability to be always in the Presence. Thank you, Julian! And thank you again, Matthew, for these wonderful meditations! Love and blessings.

    1. Avatar
      Margaret Rose Hess

      Your reflection is lovely, Vivian. I especially like the idea of “being caught”, “caught in the beauty around me, and above me”. And I agree with all the points you make, including about self-recrimination, an error that I fall into far too often. Thank you for sharing this with all of us seekers of the Way. Be well.

      1. Avatar

        Thank you, Margaret Rose, for your kind, loving comments. Let us rejoice that we can delight in God! Love and blessings

    2. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Vivian,
      I think you have found a good teacher in Julian of Norwich! She seems to both nurture and challenge you. You might want to read more from her in Matthew’s book, Christian Mystics. You will probably find several wise sisters on those pages.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  4. Avatar

    On this your first anniversary of the wonderful “Daily Meditations”, congratulations and thank you Matthew and your crew for bringing hope, joy and wisdom into my life and I am sure to so many others.
    In 1983 I read “Original Blessing” and it made so much sense to me. I’ve never looked back. I have read and reread all your books, Matthew, and consider them my sanity savers especially in these difficult times.
    I wish you wellness and many blessings as you continue your work of compassion, justice and sharing of your wisdom. May peace be yours.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Joan,
      Thank you for your message and your dedication to the work of Matthew Fox. Not only does it stand the test of time, but it is also increasingly relevant as awareness of climate change becomes widespread and the dismantling of unbalanced and unsustainable practices of the modern world come apart. The wisdom of those who have been reading Matt’s work for decades will be greatly needed as we begin to build a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world together.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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