As part of the Thirteenth Revelation, Christ gave Julian a special understanding and direct teaching on the “werking and shewing of miracles”:
“It is known that I have done miracles here before, many and numerous, high and marvelous, honorable and great. And just as I have done I do now continually, and shall do in coming of time.” It is known that before miracles, come sorrows and anguish and trouble. And that is so that we should know our own feebleness and mischief that we are fallen into by sinne, to humble us and make us fear God, crying for help and grace. And great miracles come after, because of the high might and wisdom and goodness of God, shewing his virtues and the joys of heaven, as far as it may be possible in this passing life, and that for the strengthening of our faith, and increase of our hope in love. Therefore it pleases him to beknown and worshipped in miracles.
Some millennials have serious problems with miracles. To them, miracles are the equivalent of old wives’ tales, superstition, or sheer gullibility. Only the Laws of Nature can be counted on. Only scientific proof is reliable. But oftentimes, science cannot explain a sudden cure of the incurable, a radical conversion of a hardened heart, an astounding escape from great danger. Some might simply call that “good luck.”
Earlier, Julian had said that there is no such thing as good or bad luck:
And I saw truly that nothing is done by happe [good fortune] nor by aventure [bad accident], but all by the foreseeing wisdom of God. If it be happe or aventure in the sight of man, our blindness and our lack of foresight are the cause.
In other words, unexpected miracles are happening all the time, both in full view and hidden within the depths of the individual soul. But because of our blindness – and the fact that we cannot know the infinite potential of the future – we fail to see the miracles. We do not even believe in their possibility. So we dare not ask for them. Gradually, we lose the ability to hope for them. As a result, we fail to recognize them when they happen.
Julian's divine dimension
In Julian’s view of the world, however, nothing occurs without divine grace. She intimates that miracles done on earth are a glimpse of God’s unsurpassed and everlasting creative delight, a foretaste of both the deed that will be done immediately when we come into heaven, and of the Great Deed to be revealed at the end of time. Julian cautions, however, that miracles occur only after long periods of “sorrows and anguish and trouble.” She understands that this painful process is absolutely necessary.
All through the gospels, the pattern is the same: a penitent is in desperate need, paralyzed by illness, sin, and suffering, cries out, seeks forgiveness from Christ, and then is healed of the infirmity, first of soul, then of body. For which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Stand up and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home” (Mt 9:5–6, Mk 2:9–11). Only in true contrition is the suffering soul able to feel the scales fall from its eyes and experience the miracle of regaining its inner sight (Acts 9:18). Only with the eyes of faith can we being to "see" miracles happening.
Julian discloses that Christ does not want us to become overly depressed because of the “sorrows and tempestes that fall to us.” She remarks that it has ever been thus . . . just before miracles happen.
PLEASE NOTE: The quotations above are from Julian's Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books), Copyright © 2013 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied or reprinted without the written 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.