Lesser Feasts and Fasts

RECOMMENDED FEAST DAY TO OBSERVESaturday, May 8 is the Feast of  Dame Julian of Norwich.  Of Dame Julian’s early life we know little, only the probable date of her birth (1342). Her own writings in the Revelations of Divine Love are concerned only with her visions that she experienced when she was thirty years old.  She had been gravely ill and was given the last rites; suddenly, on the seventh day, all pain left her, and she had fifteen visions of the Passion. These brought her great peace and joy. “From that time I desired oftentimes to learn what was our Lords meaning,” she wrote, “and fifteen years after I was answered in ghostly understanding: Wouldst thou learn the Lords meaning in this thing? Learn it well. Love was his meaning. Who showed it thee? Love. What showed he thee? Love. Wherefore showed it he? For Love. Hold thee therein and thou shalt learn and know more in the same. Thus it was I learned that Love was our Lords meaning.” She became a recluse, an anchoress, at Norwich soon after her recovery from illness, living in a small dwelling attached to the Church of St. Julian. Even in her lifetime, she was famed as a mystic and spiritual counselor and was frequently visited by clergymen and lay persons. The Lady Julian’s book is a tender and beautiful exposition of Gods eternal and all-embracing love, showing how his charity toward the human race is exhibited in the Passion. Again and again she referred to Christ as “our courteous Lord.”  Many have found strength in the words the Lord had given her: “I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well; and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well.”  Lord God, in your compassion you granted to the Lady Julian many revelations of your nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek you above all things, for in giving us yourself you give us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.                (Holy Women, Holy Men)