"Because of the great,
infinite love which God has for all humankind, he makes no distinction in love between the blessed soul of Christ
and the lowliest of the souls that are to be saved . . . .
We should highly rejoice that God dwells in our soul
and still more highly should we rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling place,
and the dwelling place of our soul is God who was never made."
Julian of Norwich
I love Mother Julian of Norwich. I love the writings because they speak so well to the mystic nature of our oneness with the Creator. In this short excerpt of her writings we get a taste of her life giving and life sustaining theology.
I like the thought that we should rejoice that God’s dwells in our soul and that our soul dwells in God. Can you hear and appreciate the breath and depth of those words. That is a very powerful theology. In this notion there is the clear assertion of our place in God’s divine revelation. These are important words for individuals to hear nowadays. I think for many reasons we have forgotten or ignored the fact that God dwells in our souls and that our souls dwell in God. What of the many reasons?
- Today we live with low self-esteem fostered by a world gone made with consumerism. We loom to the other and wish that we could have what she has or live how he lives. We are inundated with commercial images and messages that sell to us the idea that we can purchase the next “best thing” to come along and that that purchase will bring satisfaction. Our disappointment is grand when we realize that our personal sense of self does not change no matter how much we own or how great the latest gadget we bought is. It is only when we realize that our self worth should really be unconnected to the world and its goods that we understand our worth at all. God dwells in our soul….and…our soul dwells in God.
- We are a people who have been hurt and shamed by the stinging words of judgement. I would be shocked if we have not all felt at some point or another, the pain of being regarded as less than the next. We have all been in that place where who we are does not seem to be enough for some persons. We often feel betrayed at the same time. We have risked loving and got hurt in the process. For some we are not tall enough, thin enough or smart enough. Yet others have judged us for our orientation, or for that matter for our choice of who our lovers are. We have been judged for our beliefs, for our ethnicity, or for any other reason you can mention. After some time we come to believe that which others say. Perhps we might even better realte to being rejected and told that we do not measure up. We submit to the judgement and we forget – God dwells in our soul….and…our soul dwells in God.
- Have you ever had one of those mornings where you just don’t feel like getting out of bed for no other reason that you really just don’t want to. Perhaps it is better described as a day when you really don’t care to do anything. The truth is that sometimes we are lazy. It is at this pint that I can hear my father saying … “No, not last slothful!” But really I mean lazy. I think this is also very true on our spiritual journeys. When we look about us and see what needs doing in our world, in our communities, our neighbourhoods, our churches, our homes, or ourselves for that matter the work seems endless. God has called us all into service in our baptism and we some days get tired of all of that. We get just a little lazy from time to time …at least I do. It is at those times that I think it becomes easy to ignore that – God dwells in our soul….and…our soul dwells in God. You see, that assurance is not only reassuring. It also is a great responsibility. We should make no mistake though that God is with us even when we are tired and even when our souls need rest.
- We are also a people who have drifted away from God. We have from time to time in our lives needed space, as it were, in our relationship with God. We have all at some point or another been angry with God. It is true for me as it is, I am sure for you, that sometimes the chaos in life around me is so great that it is hard to remember to fit God in. Even harder when we assume that God should fix whatever is wrong in our lives. We sometimes, having taken a long time in between conversations, ignored the fact that we are a great part of the woven fabric of God’s patchwork quilt. When we are distanced from the Creator it becomes easy to forget – God dwells in our soul….and…our soul dwells in God.
Mother Julian reminds us in her teachings that we all have a place in God’s plan. We all have work to do. We all have some days and some realities that keep us from realizing that “God dwells in our soul….and…our soul dwells in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling place of our soul is God who was never made.”
We all need a gentle reminder from time to time, that we are loved and are vital parts of God’s creation. Today was my reminder as I stumbled on this small piece of Mother Julian’s Divine Revelation of Love. Thank God for Mystics!