The Complete Julian

The Complete Julian of Norwich Translated, with additional material, by Fr. John-Julian, OJN Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009 Review by Carl McColmanHere is a 450-page feast for the serious Julian of Norwich fan. Fr. John-Julian, the founder and former superior of the Anglican Order of Julian of Norwich, combines his own poetic translation of the "long text"of Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love with extensive introductory material, annotations, and appendices. The 60-page … [Read more...]

Lectio Divina and the English Mystics

I've been reading Carmen Butcher's delightful new translation of The Cloud of Unknowing, and today I read chapter 35, which discusses the importance of lectio divina in the contemplative life: The contemplative beginner must, however, engage in certain exercises. These are the lesson, the meditation, and the orison, better known as reading, reflecting, and praying. You can learn about these three activities in another book, where the author explains them better than I can, so I won't go into … [Read more...]

Christ of the Celts

Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation By J. Philip Newell San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanOne of the concerns I have about so-called "Celtic Christianity" is that it seems, well, so white. It's spirituality for nice middle-class white folks, who want to feel good about loving nature and embracing a basically liberal theology. I'm not saying that Celtic Christianity is racist so much as it is simply ethnic, rather than catholic (universal). So those misgivings … [Read more...]

Philosophy and the Trinity: From Thinking about Oneness to Experiencing God’s Love

In her introductory book on Neoplatonism, Pauliina Remes makes the following observation about the Neoplatonic conception of "the One," the philosophical principle explaining the origin, unity, and ultimate end of all things: The role of the One in metaphysics becomes threefold. We have seen that the One is an efficient cause of everything there is in the universe. It was also established that it is the ultimate explanation of everything's unity and existence. Finally, since everything reverts … [Read more...]

Concerning Gnosis and Gnosticism

Yesterday I made the following off-the-cuff remark in a comment to my post Theosis and Kenosis: It’s less about knowing who we are (that’s the error of gnosticism) and more about simply a way of being, a way of doing life. And in reply, a reader named Tomasis left a simple frowning (sad) emoticon:  :-(   To this, I replied, I don’t know if it’s ever possible to affirm what one believes without sooner or later saying something that will elicit a “frowning face” from those who walk a different path … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

I pray much to have a wise heart, and perhaps the rediscovery of Lady Julian of Norwich will help me. I took her book with me on a quiet walk among the cedars. She is a true theologian with greater clarity, depth and order than St. Theresa: she really elaborates, theologically, the content of her revelations. She first experienced, then thought, and the thoughtful deepening of experience worked it back into her life, deeper and deeper, until her whole life as a recluse at Norwich was simply a … [Read more...]

Does Julian of Norwich ride MARTA?

My friend Jason Herman saw this recently at the Martin Luther King Memorial MARTA Station (MARTA is Atlanta's public public transportation authority). In his words: "I found Julian of Norwich at the King Memorial MARTA station! Well, I guess they didn't have the phrase 'OK' back then, but still... 'All manner of things will be OK.'"I find it rather amusing that this unlikely paraphrase of Julian's most famous quotation would adorn a fire extinguisher — after all, Julian's optimistic theology … [Read more...]