Thursday, December 12, 2019

emptied of all things

For He is the Very Rest.
God wishes to be known, 
And it pleases Him that
We rest in Him;
For all that is beneath Him
Will never satisfy us.
Therefore no soul is rested
Til it is emptied of all things
That are made.
When, for love of Him, 
It is empty, 
The soul can
Receive His deep rest.

~ Julian of Norwich, (1342-c. 1423)

She may have joined a Benedictine community earlier, but then at the age of thirty she fell ill to the point of death and was given last rites. She then received a series of sixteen visions which were later described in her work entitled Showings, or Revelations of Divine Love in the first book known to have been written by a woman in English.  It exists in two versions, a short text of twenty-five chapters and a much longer text of eighty-six chapters.  The first thought to have been written immediately after the visions were received,  and the second after years of meditation on the meaning of these visions.

"Be still and know that I am God," so says the Psalmist (Psalm 46:10), yet the word rest adds a dimension of stillness.  It implies letting go of effort - even the effort to be internally still - and allowing oneself to be held by  that which can not be named or known.  When we do let go of all desires for this and that, when we are empty, we receive his deep rest.  

~ contributing to comments: Roger Housden and Ursula King