In the Fourteenth Revelation, Julian considers what the Lord taught her about different types of prayer. She understands the prayer of thanksgiving as “a true, inward knowing, with great reverence and lovely awe,” whereby we offer all our efforts and energies to the daily tasks that are God’s will for us, all the while “rejoicing and thanking inwardly.”
Notice that Julian stresses the importance of rejoicing in the good works we are enabled to do by the grace of God. Not only that, but she declares that our prayer and our trust should never be timid, but “both alike large,” which in Middle English suggests ample and even ambitious: “For if we do not trust as much as we pray, we do not give the fullest worship to our lord in our prayer, and also we hinder and trouble ourselves.” We must constantly remind ourselves that “our Lord is the ground in whom our prayer springs” and that prayer is itself “given to us by grace of his love”; then we will be able to trust that we will receive “all that we desire.”
This Thanksgiving Day, let us go deeper into The Art of Giving Thanks. Amidst the festivities, let us take some quiet time to discover a “true, inward knowing” whereby we realize that all we are, and all we love, and all we have, comes from our Creator who gives it to us out of love. Let us offer all our efforts from the past year, our joys and sorrows, our works and forms of service, “rejoicing and thanking inwardly” that we were given the grace to accomplish them!
Let our Thanksgiving Day prayer be large and plentiful toward all those we love and with whom we work. And let us trust “mightily” that the values we sincerely strive to live by will bear fruit eventually. How can we be sure of this? Because, as the Lord revealed to Julian: “I am the ground of your beseeching.” Our longings for justice and truth, for greater compassion for the poor, the suffering, and the marginalized, for healing and mercy, for love and peace that arise in our prayer come directly from the grace of divine love. Therefore, how could it be that our prayer would not be answered?
This Thanksgiving Day, and every day, let us give thanks that the Spirit is always praying within us: “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Rom 8:26 NRSV). And let us rejoice that the work of the Holy Spirit never, ever fails.
I wish you all a blessed, holy Thanksgiving!
PLEASE NOTE: The excerpts above are from "An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich" (InterVarsity Academic Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied or reprinted without the express permission of the author.
All text copyrighted © 2013-2018 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. No copying or reprints allowed without the express permission of the Author.