All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
– Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) is one of the greatest English mystics. When she was 30, she suffered a severe illness and, believing she was on her deathbed, had a series of intense visions that ended on 13 May 1373. She recorded these visions and then reflected on them in theological depth 20 years later in Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love– the first book written in English by a woman.
Julian’s positive outlook does not come from ignoring suffering or being blind to it, but arises from the clarity she attained as she struggled with her own questions. This struggle gave her the ability to see beyond the pain and suffering and to look into the compassionate face of God. Only this gazing could reassure her that – despite pain, and sorrow – in God’s own time, “all shall be well.”According to Julian, the unfathomable mystery of love is the supreme sign of the reality of God, and sin is necessary so that we can become, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “instruments of love in the hands of God.”