40 Day Journey’s End: Examen

40 Day Journey’s End Examen 1: Reading of this post.

I finally finished my 40 day Journey with Julian of Norwich on Shrove Tuesday, just in time for the beginning of Lent. While the time since then has certainly been very full – I have left the classrooom and I am setting up as an online tutor – I have been pondering the Journey in the back of my mind. Here feels like the suitable point to make an Examen of my journey and the fruits that it has borne. I began the journey on Thursday 5th December 2019 and in that time, completely filled the prayer journal that I had started at the beginning of the third week of the Spiritual Exercises, and I finished the journal with the last entry of the Journey, the day before the beginning of Lent! A strange convergance: endings an beginnings. It had been my intention, in preparation for writing this post, that I read through my journey and summarise it all here, in a nice tidy blog post, a beautifully wrapped package; a wonderful display of the glory of God and the graces He so generously gives. And then I read my journal entries for Day 1 of my 40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich. I realised immediately how impossible it would be to do that – there is too much. Each day warrants its own post. I will endeavour to do that as I continue posting on this blog. So, I closed my journal and decided to write an Examen here from my memories of this time on the Journey.

40 Day Journey’s End Examen 2 : Reading of this post.

Gratitude

I am grateful for all of the graces that I have received in this journey: the intimacy with God and the deepening trust; the fulfilment of the conversation about my working life which began during The Exercises and the courage to take that path. I am grateful for the affirmations of my work received through the people I am directing, through my guided prayers with Radio Maria England and through the retreats I have led. I am grateful for the friendship of Bill Stebbe, which grew in the time of that retreat day where I bought the 40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich and made the decision to make this pilgrimage. I am also grateful that I was able to accompany Bill in his dying, and for the grace of humility which I received during that time. And as Julian herself lived in the time of plague, and the current pandemic was an event waiting to happen at the time I picked up the book and began this journey, I am grateful for the relative safety in which I have been able to live and work throughout, and continue to be able to do so, even as I am weary of it.

Grace

I ask God for the grace to see my journey as He sees my journey.

40 Day Journey’s End Examen 3: Reading of this post.

Account

The predominant image I have from the Journey, and also from The Spiritual Exercises, is of myself as a child: not the memories of me as an actual child, but of my inner free child, Sunflower. I described her in the post All Things in a Hazelnut, where I picked up the book. This child is always open and honest with God. She says things as she sees and feels them, without dressing them up to make them palatable or acceptable. Even when she is restless and fractious, refuses to be held and wriggles in His arms saying:

Put me down! put me down!

He does, with some amusement, and watches over her tenderly as she does her worst and comes running back to His open arms when she realises her trouble and her need. And God loves and adores her, and regards her as precious. This is where God has been for me in this journey, and how I have turned away to those inordinate attachments that are self destructive to me, and then turned back again when I recognised that I had messed up again. As always, my tender loving God has picked me up and held me close once more.

Pardon

The free child is also open and honest when she recognises her mistakes. She does not try to justify or explain. Moved by her sorrow, her desire is simply to repair the relationship that she sees she has hurt by her behaviour. Asking for forgiveness is her expression of that sorrow. He listens and forgives.

Resolve to Amend

From here, the world is different. Things have changed.

And they have – I have been writing about the changes taking place in my life throughout this last year. It is not to say that these inordinate desires have been vanquished – they most certainly have not. I am still wrestling with the same distractions and resistances that I was dealing with at the beginining to the Journey. Sometimes, I am that little girl planting sunflower seeds with Him in the garden, full of wonder and awe. Sometimes I am still that fractious child, wriggling in His arms, trying to break free to do those naughty things that are not good for me and cause me, and perhaps others around me, pain and harm. To me on a bad day, it may feel that I have not made much progress, but to Him, well, maybe that Sunflower stalk is just a little bit taller as it reaches for the sun.

Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God

by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn, Miranda Francisco (Illustrator)

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 40

All will be well, and all will be well, and all mannner of thing will be well…[For] I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well…And [in the bliss of heaven] it will truly be made known to us what He means in the sweet words when He says: All will be well, and you will see it yourself, that every kind of thing will be well. And then will the bliss of our motherhood in Christ be to begin anew in the joys of our Father, God, which new beginning will last, newly beginning without end…God wants us…always to be strong in faithful trust, in well-being and in woe, for He loves us and delights in us, and so He wishes us to love Him amd delight in Him and trust greatly in Him, and all will be well.

Reading: Revelation 21:5-6

Psalm 30: 11-12

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 39

From the time [these showings] were revealed, I desired many times to know in what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after and more, I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said: What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was His meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did He reveal to you? Love. Why does He reveal it to you? For love. Remain in this, and you will know more of the same. But you will never know different, without end.

Reading: John 15: 9

Psalm 36:7-9

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 38

God revealed all this most blessedly, as though to say: See, I am God. See, I am in all things. See, I do all things. See, I never remove my hands from my works, nor ever shall without end. See, I guide all things to the end that I ordain for them for, before time began, with the same power and wisdom and love with which I made them: how should anything be amiss?…In this endless love we are led and protected by God, and we shall never be lost…And just as we were to be without end, so we were treasured and hidden in God, known and loved from without beginning. I saw…in everything that before God made us He loved us, which love was never abated and never will be. And in this love He has done all His works…and in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had beginning, but the love with which He created us was in Him from without beginnning. In this love we have our beginning, and all this shall we see in God without end.

Reading: Isaiah 45: 8

Psalm 48:14

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 37

Perhaps I am travelling slowly, but I am still on this journey!

All this familiar revelation of our courteous Lord is a lesson of love…For He wants us to know by the sweetness of His familiar love that all that we see or feel, within or without, which is in opposition to this is from the enemy and not from God…If we are moved to be more careless about our way of life or about the custody of our hearts, because we have knowledge of this plentiful love, then we have great need to beware of this impulse, should it come. It is false, and…has no resemblance to God’s will. [Yet] when we have fallen through weakness or blindness, then our courteous Lord, touching us, moves us and protects us…And with this our good Lord said most joyfully: See how I love you, as if He had said, my darling, behold and see your Lord, your God, who is your Creator and your endless joy; see your own brother.your saviour; my child, behold and see what delight and bliss I have in your salvation.

Reading: Isaiah 62:1b-3

Psalm 143: 10

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 36

After a long pause, I am resuming my Journey with Julian of Norwich this week. It may be taking me longer than I envisaged when I set out, but I am not giving up. I will persist to the end.

After all these reveleations, the visions faded and Julian was returned to pain and dryness. When a priest visited, she told him she had been raving, seeming to discredit her own visions. She immediately regretted this and felt that she had betrayed Jesus’ exquisite mercy revealed to her. When she fell asleep she was visited by the devil in a terrible apparition; resisisting the devil, she was returned to the consolation of her earlier visions.

Our Lord very humbly revealed words to me, without voice and without opening of lips, just as He had done before, and said very sweetly: Know it well, it was no hallucination which you saw today, but accept and believe it and hold firmly to it, and comfort yourself with it and trust in it, and you will not be overcome…And these words: You will not be overcome, were said very insistently and strongly, for certainty and strength against every tribulation which may come. He did not say, you will not be troubled, you will not be belaboured, you will not be disquieted; but He said: You will not be overcome.

Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Psalm 143:3,9

Signs and Wonders

Today I took a rest from writing, and I went out into Norwich for a walk. I took my camera with the intention of photographing “Signs and Wonders”. Here is what I did – largely unedited, as they are.

Pub Signs

Doors

What can I say? I love doors, especially these rustic medieval ones. Norwich has lots of them.

St. George’s Colegate

Elm Hill

This is where they filmed Jingle Jangle, the new Christmas film that has been released on Netflix. I am excited to see it because one of my former students is in it!

The Britons Arms is the first place I stopped to have lunch when I first moved to Norwich. A friend who is interested in history read that the museum had documents to suggest it was was a Beguinage! This part of Norwich is steeped in medieval spirituality.

The Octagon Chapel

Honestly, I have absolutetly no idea why there are yellow teapots in the tree outside The Octagon Chapel! It is a genuine wonder.

Heritage Signs

I cannot believe I only took pictures of two of these. What was I thinking?

The Old Bank of England Court.

I had a job interview in here the first time I ever came to Norwich. I did not get that job, but I did like the city. A few months later, I got a better job at the University, and so I moved here.

And finally, a strange place to be selling art.

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 35

The wisest act for a creature to do is according to the will and the counsels of [its] greatest and supreme friend. This blessed friend is Jesus, and it is His will and counsel that we keep with Him and fasten ourselves closely to Him, in whatever state we may be. For whether we be foul or clean, we are always the same in His love; for well or for woe, He wants us never to flee from Him…And so by knowledge and grace we may see our sin, profitably, without despair…Also at the same time our courteous Lord revealed, most sweetly and most powerfully, the endlessness and the unchangeability of His love, and also His great goodness and His gracious protection of our spirit, so that the love between Him and our souls will never be parted into eternity. And so in fear I have matter for meekness, which saves me from presumption, and in the blessed revelation of love I have matter for true comfort and joy, which saves me from despair.

Reading: John 15:15

Psalm 27:4

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 34

It has been a while. I had to take a break from my journey to deal with other things going on, but here I am taking up the rest of the journey from here, and looking forward to it.

Out Lord wants us to see our wretchedness and meekly to acknowledge it; but He does not want us to remain there, or to be much occupied in self-accusation, nor does He want us to be too full of our own misery.But He wants us to quickly attend to Him, foe He stands all alone, and He waits for us continually, moaning and mourning until we come. And He hastens to bring us to Him, for we are His joy and His delight, and He is the remedy of our life…For love never allows Him to be without pity; and when we fall into sin, and neglect recollectionof Him and the protection of our own soul, then Christ bears all alone the burden of us. And so He remains, moaning and mourning. Then it is for us in reverence and kindness to turn quickly to our Lord, and not to leave Him alone.

Reading: Song of Songs 7:10

Psalm 85:8

40 Day Journey with Julian of Norwich: Day 33

Whatever kinds of fear be suggested to us other than reverent fear, though they may appear disguised as holiness, they are not…; and this is how they can be recognised apart. The fear that makes us hastily to flee from everything that is not good, and to fall onto our Lord’s breast, as the child into the mother’s arms, with all our intention and with all our mind, knowing our feebleness and our great need, knowing His everlasting goodness and His blessed love, seeking only in Him for salvation, cleaving to Him with faithful trust, that fear which leads us in this direction is gentle and gracious and good and true; and all that is opposed to this is either wrong or mixed with wrong. So this is the remedy, to recognise them both and to refuse the wrong; for the natural attribute of fear that we have in this life by the grace-giving operation of the Holy Spirit will be the same in heaven before God, gentle, courteous, most sweet; and thus in love we shall be familiar and close to God, and in fear we shall be gentle and courteous to God, and both…in the same way.

Reading: 1 John 4: 18

Psalm 34:9