Prayer Classics: Praying to Know God
In my blog posts this week, I am quoting portions from some classic Christian writings on prayer. Today’s quote comes from the English mystic Julian of Norwich (1343-1413).
A Benedictine nun, Julian is known for her deep spiritual hunger for God. Julian spent much time praying that God would give her three wounds: “the wound of contrition; the wound of loving compassion; and the wound of longing with my will for God.” When she was thirty years old, Julian was seriously ill for several days on the verge of death. In this condition, she had a mystical experience of God’s presence that forever changed her life. She later wrote of this in her book Revelations of Divine Love. Though some of Julian’s ideas may seem unusual to us today, her passion for God’s glory still ignites joy in the hearts of her readers.
All the strength that may come through prayer comes from the goodness of God, for he is the goodness of everything.
For the highest form of prayer is to the goodness of God. It comes down to us to meet our humblest needs. It gives life to our souls and makes them live and grow in grace and virtue. It is near in nature and swift in grace, for it is the same grace which our souls seek and always will.
Just as our flesh is covered by clothing, and our blood is covered by our flesh, so are we, soul and body, covered and enclosed by the goodness of God. Yet, the clothing and the flesh will pass away, but the goodness of God will always remain and will remain closer to us than our own flesh.
God only desires that our soul cling to him with all of its strength, in particular, that it clings to his goodness. For of all of the things our minds can think about God, it is thinking upon his goodness that pleases him most and brings the most profit to our soul.
For we are so preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it. No created being can ever know how much and how sweetly and tenderly God loves them. It is only with the help of his grace that we are able to persevere in spiritual contemplation with endless wonder at his high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in his goodness has for us.
Therefore we may ask from our Lover to have all of him that we desire. For it is our nature to long for him, and it is his nature to long for us. In this life we can never stop loving him.