We are meditating on Pope Francis’s visit to the first peoples of Canada this week to apologize for so much abuse and trauma toward the young created by Christian churches (and the government of Canada) in their various school systems that ripped children away from families and tribes and traditions.
What if, instead of demanding redemption of non-Christian peoples in Africa and the Americas, the European explorers had put creation and the goodness of creation at the forefront of their spirituality?
I wonder how different would history have been if Julian’s creation-centered religious vision had been out front when the encounters between Europe and indigenous peoples took place the world over?
Consider these teachings from Julian’s teachings:
“The first good thing is the goodness of nature.”
“God is the same thing as nature,” and God is “the very essence of nature.”
“The goodness in nature is God.”
God is “unending goodness” and an “endless goodness.”
We are all born into a “birthright of never-ending joy.”
Everything that we encounter in creation is “everything that God loves” also.
“To behold God in all things is to live in complete joy.”
The first duty of the soul is “to reverently marvel.” A “reverent awe is the proper response to the supreme beauty of the divine.”
“This is the holiest prayer—the loving prayer of thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving leads to actions. “Charged with the quality of reverence and loving awe, we turn ourselves with all our might toward the actions” to which we are guided.
“Nature and Grace are in harmony with each other. . . . Neither works without the other.”
“God is the Ground, the Substance, the same thing as Naturehood.”
“God is the true Father and Mother of Nature.”
“Everything that is created has being because of God’s love.” The entire universe is kept together by love.
“God never began to love us…we have been loved from without beginning.”
Faith is trusting that “we are in God and God whom we do not see is in us.”
All nature is interdependent, and this is why “the sky and the earth failed at the time of Christ’s dying because he too was part of nature.”
We share the pain of Christ due to “a great oneing between Christ and us because when he was in pain, we were in pain.”
There exists a “true oneing between the divine and the human.”
Trust your body, for “God is in our sensuality.”
“God has forged a glorious union between the soul and the body.”
“Be at home with your body, for “God willed that we have a twofold nature: sensual and spiritual.”
We were created “luminous and noble” and we were “known and loved from without beginning.”
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic…and Beyond, pp. 101-105.
See also https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/25/americas/canada-indigenous-school-survivors-pope-apology-cmd-intl/index.html
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Alone in the unspoilt wilderness: Ciucaș Peak, Romania” Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
Queries for Contemplation
Do you see deep resonances between Julian’s teachings as listed here and indigenous wisdom? Between creation spirituality therefore and indigenous teachings? Do you ponder how history might have been different if creation spirituality was integral to the hearts and minds of European explorers who first came upon indigenous peoples?
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.