Julian of Norwich
Thinking about The Anchoress, I remembered that some years past I had copied down some words of Julian of Norwich:
He showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, and I perceived that it was as round as any ball. I looked at it and thought: What can this be? And I was given this general answer: It is everything which is made.
He said, “If I could suffer more, I would suffer more.” He did not say: If it were necessary to suffer more, but: If I could suffer more; for although it might not be necessary, if he could suffer more he would suffer more.
I did not want to look up, for I would rather have remained in that pain until Judgment Day, than have come to heaven any other way than by him. For I knew well that he who had bought me so dearly would unbind me when it was his will. Thus I chose Jesus for my heaven, whom I saw only in pain at the time. No other heaven was pleasing to me than Jesus, who will be my bliss when I am there; and this has always been a comfort to me, that I chose Jesus as my heaven in all times of suffering and of sorrow. And that has taught me that I should always do so, and choose only him to be my heaven in well-being and in woe.
He did not say: You will not be assailed, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted, but he said: You will not be overcome.
I felt the pain and then afterward the joy and the delight, now the one and now the other, again and again. . . . And in the time of joy I could have said with Paul: Nothing shall separate me from the love of Christ; and in the pain, I could have said with Peter: Lord, save me, I am perishing.
Our Lord . . . says: “Pray inwardly, even if you think it is giving you no satisfaction. The prayer is profitable even if you feel nothing, even if you see nothing, even if you think you can do nothing. When you feel dry and barren, when you are sick and weak—that is when your prayer is most pleasing to me, although you find it giving you but little satisfaction. This is how it is with all your prayers made in faith, in my sight.”
We should rejoice greatly that God lives in our soul, with a far greater presence than of our soul in God.
Then our good Lord opened the eye of my spirit and showed me my soul in the middle of my heart. I saw the soul as large as if it were a world without end and also as if it were a blessed, blissful kingdom. Through this revelation, I understood that the soul is a glorious city.