Julian's Pale Blue Dot
Though I come from a Protestant background, I use a number of different Christian practices in my life to keep myself centered. I own and use Anglican prayer beads. I cross myself— like the Catholic tradition in the Sign Of The Cross each morning, then I say The Lord's Prayer, devoting the day to God. But included here is a new practice that I wanted to share.
I've mentioned at church that work will be highly stressful for me, likely for the rest of this year, so I keep praying for wisdom and peace.
This newer spiritual practice that I've adopted comes from the abbess, mystic, and theologian, Julian of Norwich. (1342 – c. 1416). Julian was also the first English woman to author a book.
In her 30's, while the plague was ravaging communities nearby, she came down with a serious illness that left her paralyzed. She was so sick that she was given last rites by the clergy. In a near-death experience, she had multiple visions of Jesus which she later wrote down.
One was of Christ showing her the entirety of time, space, and existence in the palm of her hand— like a tiny, fragile sphere.
Since reading her description of it below, I carry one like it around with me, especially during times of stress. I just hold it in my hand.
Here is what Julian wrote:
"And in this he (Jesus) showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, 'What may this be?' And it was answered generally thus, 'It is all that is made.'
I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: 'It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.'
In this little thing, I saw three properties.
The first, is that God made it.
The second, that God loves it.
And the third, that God keeps it.
But what is this to me? Truly, the Creator, the Keeper, the Lover. For until I am substantially “oned” to him, I may never have full rest nor true bliss. That is to say until I be so fastened to him that there is nothing that is made between my God and me.
This little thing which is created seemed to me as if it could have fallen into nothing because of its littleness. We need to have knowledge of this, so that we may delight in despising as nothing everything created, so as to love and have uncreated God.
For this is the reason why our hearts and souls are not in perfect ease because here we seek rest in this thing which is so little, in which there is no rest, and we do not know our God who is almighty, all wise and all good, for he is true rest.
God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for everything which is beneath him is not sufficient for us."