Julian of Norwich: the Motherhood of Christ

This extract from Revelations of Divine Love is from chapters 54 and 63 from the fourteenth revelation. Here Julian discusses the implications of the fact that there’s no real separation between us and God. She shows that it’s through Christ as our Mother that we are restored to our innate goodness through grace.

From chapter 54: It was all God!

“How exalted should be our joy that God dwells within our soul! And how much greater should be our joy that our soul dwells with God! Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling and the dwelling of the soul is God, who is uncreated. It is a sublime thing to know within ourselves and to see that God, our creator, lives in our soul. And it is an even greater thing to know and see in an interior manner that our created soul dwells in the substance of God. From that substance or God we are what we are.

And I saw that there was no difference between God and our own substance: but it was, so to speak, all God. Yet my mind realised that our substance is his creation. For the almighty Truth of the Trinity is our Father, because he created us and preserves us in himself. And the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, by whom we are wholly embraced and he by us. The high Goodness of the Trinity is our Lord and we are enveloped by him and he by us. We are enveloped by Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And Father, Son and Holy Ghost are enveloped by us: all-Powerfulness, all-Wisdom and all-Goodness – one God, one Lord.

And our faith is a virtue that springs from our essential nature and enters our soul through the Holy Ghost. Through him all virtues come to us, for there can be no virtue without him. Our faith is simply the correct understanding, correct belief and sure trust in our essential being: namely that we are one in God and he is in us, even though we do not see him.

This virtue, and all the others which derive from it, achieves great things within us, as God has ordained. For within us is Christ’s merciful activity and, through grace, we conform ourselves to him by means of the gifts and virtues of the Holy Ghost. This activity brings it about that we are Christ’s children and live Christian lives.”

From chapter 63: All shall be well

“So our life depends on Jesus our true Mother, and has been rooted in him through his own providential Wisdom from before the beginning of time, with the exalted Power of the Father and the exalted and sovereign Goodness of the Holy Ghost. When he assumed our human nature, he gave life to us; in his blessed death on the Cross, he bore us into everlasting life and from that time to this and right up to the Day of Judgement, he feeds us and encourages us, as the supreme and sovereign Mother and as the natural needs of Childhood demand.

How fair and sweet our heavenly Mother is in the eyes of our soul; how precious and lovely are those who have been made his children by grace in our heavenly Mother’s eyes: they are gentle and humble, with all the attractive and natural traits of childhood; the natural child never despairs of its Mother’s love, never relies on itself, loves its mother and all the other children. These qualities, and others like them, are beautiful and they enable us to serve and please our Mother in heaven.

I also understood that childhood is the highest state of life here below because of weakness and helplessness of mind and body until our heavenly Mother brings us into the bliss of our Father. Then the true meaning of his sweet words will be revealed to us: ‘All shall be well: and you yourself will see that all manner of things shall be well.’ And then the blessed Motherhood of Christ will begin a new phase in the joy of our God. It will be a new era, a new heaven and a new earth that will last forever. And so I understand that all his children who have been blessedly born to him in nature will be brought to him again by grace.”

Quoted from The English Mystics by Karen Armstrong, referencing the 1901 text by Grace Warrack.

You can read the whole text of Revelations of Divine Love online here:

Discover more about Julian of Norwich here: The Julian Centre

Read the whole series here


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.