God is everything which is good, as I see it, and the goodness which everything has is God. God’s goodness fills all creatures and all blessed works full and endlessly overflows in them.
Julian of Norwich, 14th century mystic
“This 14th century mystic has been called the first woman of English letters and one of the first women to write in English. What’s amazing about her at this time is that she lived through the Bubonic Plague of the 14th century and it kept coming back in waves. When she was 7 years old it hit her and it kept coming back throughout her entire lifetime. But she developed a theology not of despair and of self-pity, or pessimism, or of saying God is punishing us for our sins. No, she developed a creation spirituality that is built around goodness. I just love this teaching and especially for our time because Julian was living through the Black Death as we’re living through Coronavirus and climate change. And her response was not to give up, or to feel sorry for herself, or to fall into a silly religious teaching that we were being punished by God. Now, of course, in her time they did not have the science that we have to understand the origin or the potential solution to the Black Plague but even that underscores her spiritual genius and strength in not succumbing to fear and projection. I think she has a tremendous amount to say to our times that keep the goodness in our hearts, keep the goodness in our minds. I think Julian is a courageous genius, one in leading us that way as she draws on the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckert, and Francis of Assisi who came before her, who were also premodern thinkers who put creation before the human agenda. We are a very dangerous species but Julian is reminding us that we can move from being dangerous to being friendly with the rest of creation. I hope this is what happens after we emerge from our time of withdrawal, retreat, and meditation in this Coronavirus period.”
Father Matthew Fox, Ph.D.
Theologian and author of many books including
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times