We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Julian of Norwich, May 8

May is a month of prayer with the National Day of Prayer and Thy Kingdom come in two weeks Not to be forgotten is Julian of Norwich who was one of the first women authors.

“Pray, even if you feel nothing, see nothing. For when you are dry, empty, sick or weak, at such a time is your prayer most pleasing to God, even though you may find little joy in it. This is true of all believing prayer.” Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich was a 14th century mystic and writer. Julian’s book, Revelations of Divine Love is based on a series of sixteen visions she received on the 8th of May 1373. That’s 651 years ago today May 8, 2024. She became one of the first known female writers and one of the first published writers.

We also know her by her famous quote “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” We celebrate her day on May 8, 2023.

At the age of thirty, stricken by a grave illness and believed she was on her deathbed. She was living at the time of the Black Death. (Records indicate half the population died during the plaque).  She hints that at this time she had nothing to live for and so she welcomed death.

The medical crisis passed, and she had a series of fifteen visions, or “showings,” in which she was led to contemplate the Passion of Christ. These brought her great peace and joy. In her “showings,” Christ revealed his bleeding and his dying as acts of unconditional love. Her concept of Christ changed over her life from a God of wrath to one warm and welcoming.

The experience transformed her life. She became an anchoress (one who lived a life prayer and contemplation), living in a small hut near to the church in Norwich, England where  she devoted the rest of her life to prayer and contemplation of the meaning of her visions.”

It is worth pointing out that Julian of Norwich was not a hermit. Even though she spent more than forty years living in a small cell attached to a church, she had a window that looked out onto the busy city street of Norwich. From this window she offered spiritual guidance to her community. She kept tabs on neighborhood news and soothed broken hearts. She accepted loaves of fresh baked bread and shared honey from the hives she kept. She was simultaneously protected from the world and connected to her community.

There were no barriers for Julian with Christ.  She talks of the “glorious mingling” of body and soul, matter and spirit. She insists on the marriage of nature and God, on panentheism as the very meaning of faith, and on the marriage of God and the human (for we, too, are part of nature): “between God and the human there is no between.”

Here is a podcast about her from Christianity Today – “In this episode of Prayer amid Pandemic, Amy Laura Hall, the author of Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich and a Christian ethics professor at Duke Divinity School, tell us why we know so little about Julian’s identity but why we still read her writings on the vision she received while sick today.”