We saw yesterday that Julian, like Aquinas before her and like Genesis one, finds a deep and primary goodness in nature.  She frequently refers to this experience of God in creation, as when she says:

Love in service: six Americorps volunteers join hands to hug a 500-year-old redwood. Photo by Sipris on Flickr.

God has created all that is made. God loves all that he has created. And so anyone who, in loving God, loves all his fellow creatures loves all that is. All those who are on the spiritual path contain the whole of creation, and the Creator. 

Why is that? “God is the same thing as nature.”

Furthermore, love is our response to goodness so how can there be love if we have become dulled about goodness? 

“Pale Blue Dot” – photographed by Voyager from about 3.7 billion miles, Earth appears as the bluish-white speck roughly halfway down the thin brown band to the right (Wikipedia)

In this context Julian had an amazing vision of a small round ball that stood for the entire cosmos.  She describes the experience this way:

God showed me in my palm a little thing round as a ball about the size of a hazelnut. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and asked myself: “What is this thing?” And I was answered: “It is everything that is created.” I wondered how it could survive, since it seemed so little it could suddenly disintegrate into nothing. The answer came: “It endures and ever will endure, because God loves it.” And so everything has being because of God’s love.

A wonderful vision of the oneness of things! And also the fragility of our existence. I am reminded of the Voyager 1 journey through space and out of our galaxy and how, on looking back, it took a photo of its journey. What we see is a number of brightly lit points. Scientists point to one and say, “This is earth.” Our earth is fragile and special sitting so alone, a pinpoint of light in the deep realms of space. It is easy to feel for it what Julian felt for the hazelnut in her hand.

Julian of Norwich and her vision of the hazelnut. Iconographer unknown.

Her vision of a round ball glowing with love and fitting into the palm of her hand is another way of talking about the Cosmic Christ.  Artist Ronaldo Tuazon, in painting the cover to my Julian book, commemorates this vision of Julian, the hazelnut and the Cosmic Christ.  Buddhist scholar and activist Joanna Macy recently wrote me about this hazelnut image and called it “a holographic image if ever there was one.”  The Cosmic Christ is called by St. Paul “the pattern that connects.”  Isn’t that what a holograph is? 

Rabbi David Seidenberg, in his masterful study on the “image of God” or tselem in Judaism  finds it exists in all beings also calls it a “pattern that connects.”  It connects, radiates and glows with doxa or glory.  This is what humans are awakened to and give birth to in advent and Christmas season.  The first words out of the angels’ mouths Christmas night and delivered to the poorest of the poor, the shepherds, is Doxa.  “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all people on earth.” 

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 22-25, 40.

Banner Image: Orion Nebula appearing as a glowing heart. Photo by Aldebaran S on Unsplash.

Do you love “all that is” more and more?  Do you find it more and more radiating light and glory?

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

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