Julian of Norwich and the Universe in the Palm of Her Hand 

Dear readers and meditators:  We are slightly altering our DM fare, making it a bit lighter for reader and writer/photo gatherers as well.  In our new arrangement, we will offer one or two short meditations from the mystics per week, several meditations on current events each week, and occasionally a longer meditation from the first year of Daily Meditations. Then, on Sundays, we will feature a summary of the previous week’s daily meditations, a kind of Index to which readers can return and perceive the process and trajectory in our daily meditations.  We hope this works well for you and all of us on the DM team.

Following is a first “shorter meditation.” This from Julian of Norwich.

The gift of creation. Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

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.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, p. 40.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: The world in her hand. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Queries for Contemplation

Is it hard to believe today—and does the Webb Telescope assist us to believe—that all things exist because of God’s love?

Recommended Reading

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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9 thoughts on “Julian of Norwich and the Universe in the Palm of Her Hand ”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, I love the quotation by Julian that you have selected for todays meditation. It is so expressive of what you are asking us today in our Query for Contemplation today! She wrote: “God showed me in my palm a little thing round as a ball about the size of a hazelnut.” And when she asks what it is, she says she was answered, “It is everything that is created.” Then she says, “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.” You ask us today: “Is it hard to believe today—and does the Webb Telescope assist us to believe—that all things exist because of God’s love?” If God is in all things and all things are in God, and if God is love as 1 John 4:8 tells us, then it is not hard to believe!

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    What I find particularly revelatory in Julian’s vision and today’s DM, is the image of all that exists within the Earth is held in the palm of HER hand. In this image, it’s as if God was not only revealing, that all that exists is a manifestation of the Love of God, which endures forever… but also that we too are apart of this manifestation of enduring love. This indicates to me, that this precious Earth is a fragile and precious gift given, which we are to gently hold in tenderness, compassion, and a motherly nurturing caring love… which includes responding mercifully, alleviating anything that causes the Earth pain or suffering… that this is the Cosmic order of our creators hearts desire in response to this beautiful and good gift given. This fragile gift given in love, is a living being, a manifestation of Godself, not an object of commody to be grasped selfishly, crushingly misused and savagely abused.

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    As it fell to Julian and Teilhard in their generation, it falls to us in ours to responsibly extend knowing God beyond the personal, mystical, and via the wonders in creation. We already have enough poetic metaphors and subjective mystical testimonies. What of the objective reality of God universally? In the age of advanced science, how about pursuing what the God who inhabits us and all things (the ghost in our biology) is made-of contextually? Doing so would allow humanity to evolve in understanding from the generic who, isness, and being of God, and our God-identity in them, to the universal substance (solvent) in things, the REAL wizard behind the curtain of all form. “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together” (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars). God is love energy that shape-shifts into form. What, in substance, is that universal energy?

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    Thank you for this new focus, Matthew. In these times, I am finding it truly hard to remember joy and recognize beauty, love, and light–to see God loving us through this. Some time ago, I took your Shift Network online class with Mirabai Starr on Julian of Norwich. Today you remind us of her and that Julian lived through a time in at least some ways darker than ours. I’ve decided to study again each of the modules, to learn again how to survive and flourish during this collective dark night of the soul. And yes, focusing on the images brought to us by the JWST may surely help.

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    All the mystics seem to experience and share with us the Mystery, Wisdom, Beauty, Presence, Gifts, Energy, Power, Oneness… of God’s Divine Love within, through, and among All of God’s Creation, our inner and outer Cosmos in Loving co-Creation~Evolution… What is humbling and miraculous/awe inspiring is that as unique members of this Loving Creation, we’re also created to potentially consciously be aware/experience, and freely be responsible with grace for this Loving co-Creation and Beautiful Oneness… Yes, it’s hard to believe that our eternal souls are also recipients of this ongoing Divine Love with-in All of God’s Creation~Evolution in the Cosmos….

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