Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Julian Of Norwich "Mother's Day" Thank You

It is the week (and day) of the Feast of Julian of Norwich and Mother’s Day. In following the last week of posts discussing literal and spiritual motherhood I thought the following passage from Julian’s own writing would be the perfect thing. I used this reading this week in my guided contemplative prayer group, read three times, each time followed by a period of contemplative silence.

Passage of Julian of Norwich, excerpt from 40 day Journey with Julian of Norwich

“Jesus Christ, who opposes good to evil, is our true Mother. We have our being from him, where the foundation of motherhood begins…our true Mother Jesus …alone bears us for joy and for endless life, blessed may he be. So he carries us within him in love and travail, until the full time when he wanted to suffer the sharpest thorns and cruel pains…and at the last he died. And when he had finished, and had so borne us for bliss, still all this could not satisfy his wonderful love… To the property of motherhood belongs nature, love, wisdom and knowledge, and this is God. For though it may be that our bodily bringing to birth is only little, humble and simple in comparison to our spiritual bringing to birth, still it is he who does it in the creatures by whom it is done… And in our spiritual bringing to birth he uses more tenderness, without any comparison, in protecting us…And from this sweet and gentle operation he will neither cease or desist, until all his beloved children are born and brought to birth.

You can try a contemplative silence today similar to the practice I did with my group this week.
1. Find a quiet space inside or outside, where you won’t be interrupted.
2. Read the passage above (out loud)–or pick your own passage of poetry, spiritual writing, prayer, Psalm or other Bible passage .
3. Set a buzzing timer on your phone for 5, 10, or 15 minutes (start with small increments of silence if contemplation is new to you–it staves off feelings of frustration).
4. Enter into a time of silence, reflecting on the reading. Maybe using one word or image the reading evoked to focus on in your silence–to ground you, like an anchor to hold you in the space and guiding you into union with God.
5. When the timer buzzes slowly open your eyes. Read the passage again. Reset your timer.
6. Go into the second period of silence–follow the same guidance as above.
7. When the timer buzzes slowly open your eyes. Read the passage for a third time. Reset your timer.
8. Go into a third period of silence.
9. When the buzzer goes off, slowly open your eyes. Reflect on your meditation. You can journal a few thoughts if it feels right for you.

Happy Mother’s Day! Happy Feast of Julian! Blessings to all!

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