Julian of Norwich
(chapter 10)

   An anonymous anchoress or recluse (1342-1416), who lived in a small room attached to the church of St Julian in Norwich (and hence named ‘Julian’ or sometimes ‘Juliana’) is one of the best-loved of the English mystics.

     I saw God and sought him; and I had him and wanted him. And it seems to me that this is how it is and how it should be in this life…. This vision taught me that God is very pleased when we continually search for him. We cannot do more than seek, suffer and trust; and this itself is the work of the Holy Spirit in the soul. And the brilliance of finding him: that comes from the Spirit’s special grace, when it is his will. Seeking with faith, hope and love pleases our Lord and finding him pleases the soul, filling it full of joy. And so I learnt that as long as God allows us to struggle on this earth, seeking is as good as seeing. It is God's will for us to go on seeking until we see him, for it is because of this that he will show himself to us in his special grace, when he so wills.
   God will then teach the soul how to hold him in this gaze. This is what brings most glory to him and does most to help us, making us most open to receive humility and other virtues by the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit. For a soul that does nothing but hold on to God, with very great trust, either to seek him or see him, is, it seems to me, offering the best possible praise to God….
   God works in secret and yet wants to be perceived…. And he wants to be trusted, for he is such a gracious and loving friend. Praise him!    


In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.