Sunday, June 3, 2007

Julian of Norwich on the Trinity

Today is Trinity Sunday, that day when preachers fear to preach.

Words always fail us, and when they fail us most, we humans turn to poetry or to silence, where mystery can dwell in greater comfort and we can contemplate it more truly. Music and image speak where our speeches cannot.

Still, words ancient and new can offer a way into contemplation of holy mysteries. Today I offer a few words from Julian of Norwich, 14th century woman, whose feast day we celebrated a few weeks ago.

This paragraph is the reading for the day in the book Silent Voices, Sacred Lives: Women's Readings for the Liturgical Year, edited by Barbara Bowe, RSCJ, Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ, Sharon Karam, RSCJ, and Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ.* (Paulist Press, 1992, in paperback)

* For those of you not familiar with Catholic religious orders, this means all four are members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a vowed community of women with a strong vocation to education. Barbara and Lyn are both biblical scholars of some repute, Kathleen is a liturgical scholar, and I don't know Sharon, but I'm sure she has equal claims to fame :-).

I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my undersanding acepted that our substance is in God, that is to say that God is God, and our substance is a creature in God. For the almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and keeps us in him. And the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we are enclosed. And the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. And the Father is enclosed in us, the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Spirit is enclosed in us, almighty, all wisdom and all goodness, one God, one Lord.

***************--Julian of Norwich, Showings 54

Coming later today: Ivone Gebara on the Trinity from an ecofeminist perspective.

4 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jane, thanks for Julian's beautiful words on the Holy Trinity.

PadreRob+ said...

Thanks, Jane. Rublev's androgynous angels are the only visual images that speak to me of the Trinity. So, I have to rely on words mostly to connect me to this mystery, especailly in regards to the First Person of the Trinty- and these words from one of my favorite mystics are beautiful.

Ed said...

Let's face it, the Trinity is just *impossible*. Whose idea was it, anyway? I was interested in Padre Rob's comment about the androgyny of the angels, as I was struck the same way. Do you suppose it was intentional?

Jane R said...

You mean did Rublev intentionally make them androgynous? Gee, I hope so. But we may never know. It has struck me too.

Since one has to pray a whole lot before "writing" an icon and this one is about the most myterious and impossible of mysteries, one assumes (she says, sounding like a Brit) that Rublev prayed and prayed and PRAYED about this one, and so if the angels came out looking androgynous, well...