THE CONTINENTAL MEDIEVAL
Introduction || St. Lioba || Hildegard of Bingen || Mechtild of Magdebourg
The Helfta Cistercian Nuns || Marguerite Porete || Meister Eckhart
John Tauler || Henry Suso || Jan
van Ruusbroec || Bibliography
Hans Memling, St John Writing Revelation. St John's
Reproduced by permission, Memlingmuseum, Stedelijke Musea, Brugge, Belgium
Her life tells, among others, this story: 'She had a dream in which one night she saw a purple thread issuing from her mouth. It seemed to her that when she took hold of it with her hand and tried to draw it out there was no end to it. . . When her hand was full of thread and it still issued from her mouth she rolled it round and round and made a ball of it .' An old and prophetic nun was asked about the meaning of the dream and explained that it referred to Lioba's wise counsels spoken from her heart. 'Furthermore, the ball which she made by rolling it round and round signifies the mystery of the divine teaching, which is set in motion by the words and deeds of those who give instruction and which turns earthwards through active works and heavenwards through contemplation, at one time swinging downwards through compassion for one's neighbour, again swinging upwards through the love of God.'
The image of the ball of purple thread in Lioba's
hand is similar to Julian's hazel
nut in the palm of her hand.
From the Lucca Manuscript, lectured on in Florence by Sr Angela Carlevaris, 1999
of Bingen, and other women like
her, such as Hrotswitha of Gandesheim (A.D. 932-1000) and
Herrad of Landesburg, followed in this learned Benedictine
tradition established in German-speaking countries from
England, which gave women the status of Christian equality
with men. Hildegard composed music and wrote treatises on
medicine, on Benedict's Rule, a play, many letters, and
visionary mystical works which she also illuminated in a
manner that is deeply compelling. But, unlike Lioba, she was
not a pleasing person. Until the age of forty she kept to
her bed. Richardis, her friend and fellow nun, then
persuaded her to embark on her career as writer of letters
to the leaders of Church and State in her day and to compose
her mystical treatises. When Richardis left her to become an
abbess at another monastery Hildegard was furious, demanding
her return. Richardis, obediently, died. Hildegard ruled her
monastery by means of tyrannising over her nuns with her
migraines - about which she writes in her medical works and
whose effect she illuminates in her mystical treatises. She
is an example of a genius who is less than charitable. One
admires her work, but not her desire for control. She has
significant prophetic messages for us today.
Ah! Lord God! Who has written this book? I in my weakness have written it, because I dared not hide the gift that is in it. Ah! Lord! What shall this book be called to Thy Glory? It shall be called The Flowing Light of My Godhead into all hearts which dwell therein without falseness.
And so the soul puts on a shift of humility, so humble that nothing could be more humble. And over it a white robe of chastity, so pure that she cannot endure words or desires which might stain it. Next she wraps herself in a mantle of Holy Desire which she has woven out of all the virtues.
Thus she goes into the wood, that is the company of holy people. But still the youth does not come. He sends her messengers, for she would dance. He sends her the faith of Abraham, the longings of the Prophets, the chaste modesty of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole company of His elect. Thus there is prepared a noble Dance of Praise.'
When we are sick we wear our wedding garments, but when we are well we wear our working clothes.
In a vision she sees a poor maiden going to the
wedding feast, and Our Lady garbs the maiden in a cloak upon
which is written one of Mechtild von Magdebourg's poems.
P. Odo Lang OSB, Librarian, Einsiedeln Abbey, which owns Mechtild Manuscript, Cod. 277(1014)
Frau Liliane Géraud, Zürich
In this being of God where God is above all being and all distinction, I was myself, I desired myself, I knew myself, wanting to create the man that I am. And for this reason I am my own cause according to my being which is eternal, but not according to my being which is temporal.
It must be observed that God created heaven and earth and all they contain at the same time . . . but all things did not appear at the same time.
All that is not within Being, but beside or outside Being, is not.
Evil is opposed to being, therefore the devil does not exist and the 'sinner, the son of the devil, is nothing'. Every creature is something finite, limited, distinct and particular, and this is no longer love. But God is the love that embraces all things.
To attain God one must abandon oneself. Never has a man abandoned himself so much in this life that he did not find room to abandon himself still more.
I take a basin with water and place a mirror into
it and stand it under the sun. Thus it is also with God and
the soul which reflects God yet which does not take from
Under the Godfriends page on your site and at the bottom of the essay on Eckhart you have the words:
"Meister Eckhart's teachings were examined for heresy, because of their 'subtlety'. Like John Wyclif he was allowed to die rather than be executed."
Ursula Fleming, the founder of the Eckhart Society, persuaded a group of prominent people within the Dominican Order and outside it to request the General Chapter of the Dominican order which met in Walberburg 'to examine the possibility of issuing an official declaration of Orthodoxy of Meister Eckhart and rescinding the condemnation of some of his teaching contained in the Papal Bull "In agro dominico 27 March 1329."'
In 1983 The Master of the Order instituted the Eckhart Commission.
In 1986 the commission reported back saying that a reconsideration of the teaching of Meister Eckhart was justified. It also said that Eckhart does not need rehabilitation in the canonical sense of the word, since his person, his doctrine, his apostolate or his spirituality were not really condemned.
Although no reconsideration of Eckhart's teaching has been formally undertaken by the Holy See, the present Pope, in 1987 at an important audience, strongly recommended Eckhart's teaching.
Another story tells of how the Friends of God visited Pope Gregory XI in 1377 to plead for peace in Christendom, at the same time that St Birgitta made that plea and in whose writings the term 'Friends of God' is very frequently used. The 'Friends of God' gained entry through offering a most beautiful Swiss clock to the Pope. (Was it the prototype for Henry Suso 's 'Computer of Wisdom'?) Both the Delegation of the Friends of God and St Birgitta accurately prophesied the Pope's death of 1378. These Friends of God also attempted, but failed, to establish a monastery for themselves, called Gruenenworth.
This is what St Augustine says 'Pour out so that you may be filled; go out so that you may enter'.
Therefore you should be silent; then the Word of this birth can speak in you and be heard in you; but, indeed, if you want to speak, he must be silent. We cannot serve the Word better than by being silent and listening.
Jan van Ruusbroec writing his text, inspired by the Holy Spirit, beneath the trees of Groenendael, his scribe transcribing these same words to parchment folios.
hile Meister Eckhart was
German and Henry Suso was Swiss, Jan
van Ruusbroec was Flemish in the region where the
Beguines largely began, and where Marguerite Porete ,
particularly, flourished. Ruusbroec countered heresy in his
writings, set up a monastery at Groenendael, near Brussels,
where he would write his treatises initially onto tablets of
wax known as diptyches under the trees
and which became The Sparkling
Stone (the work that is to be found in the same
manuscript as is Julian of Norwich's Showing of Love
in the British Library and is transcribed in another
booklet), and A Mirror of Eternal Blessedness and
other works. Later his writings and those of Marguerite Porete and Birgitta of Sweden were to be
attacked by Jean Gerson, Chancellor of the University of
Paris, but during his lifetime Ruusbroec was not subjected
to the Inquisition as were the other Friends of God.
Consequently his writings display a splendid serenity.
Nevertheless, the Friends of God and Ruusbroec were in
communication, exchanging their writings with each other,
and it would be Ruusbroec who would influence Gerharte
Groote, and Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ ,
and beyond them the mystic Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, and
the Reformation Protestants Martin Luther and Desiderius
Erasmus. Their writings would continue to be quoted by English
Benedictine nuns in exile in France in their own
contemplative writings and their texts also reached Spain,
influencing there St Teresa
of Avila and St John of the
The Revelations of Mechthild of Magdebourg or The Flowing Light of the Godhead Translated from the Manuscript in the Library of the Monastery of Einsiedeln. Trans. Lucy Menzies. London: Longmans, Green, 1953.
Medieval Women's Visionary Literature. Ed. Elizabeth Alvilda Petroff. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Jan van Ruusbroec. Vanden Blinckenden Steen. Ed. Lod Moereels, L. Reypens. Tielt en Bussum: Lannoo.
Life and Sermons of Dr John Tauler. Trans. Susanna Winkworth. London: Smith, Elder, 1857.
'The Classics of Western Spirituality',
Paulist Press, volumes on Margaret Ebner, Mechthild von
Magdebourg, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, John van
Ruusbroec, Henry Suso, John Tauler
For essays on Julian with citations to sources see the following:
also on mp3, /1Julian.mp3-/4Julian.mp3
Julian among the Books: Julian of Norwich's Theological Library. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. xxi + 328 pp. VII Plates, 59 Figures. ISBN (10): 1-4438-8894-X, ISBN (13) 978-1-4438-8894-3.
Anchoress and Cardinal:
Julian of Norwich and Adam Easton OSB. Analecta
Cartusiana 35:20 Spiritualität Heute und Gestern. Salzburg:
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg,
2008. ISBN 978-3-902649-01-0. ix + 399 pp. Index. Plates. Type-set by
author in Nota Bene. Obtainable
Julian of Norwich. Showing of Love. Translated, Julia Bolton Holloway. Collegeville: Liturgical Press; London; Darton, Longman and Todd, 2003. ISBN 0-8146-5169-0/ ISBN 023252503X. xxxiv + 133 pp. Index.
Julian of Norwich. Showing of Love: Extant
Texts and Translation. Edited. Sister Anna Maria
Reynolds, C.P. and Julia Bolton Holloway. Florence: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2001. Biblioteche e
Archivi 8. XIV + 848 pp. ISBN 88-8450-095-8. Florence: SISMEL,
Saint Bride and Her Book: Birgitta of Sweden's Revelations Translated from Latin and Middle English with Introduction, Notes and Interpretative Essay. Focus Library of Medieval Women. Series Editor, Jane Chance. xv + 164 pp. Republished, second time: Boydell and Brewer, 1997. Type-set by author in Nota Bene. ISBN 0-941051-18-8
JULIAN OF NORWICH, HER SHOWING OF LOVE
AND ITS CONTEXTS ©1997-2024
JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY
|| JULIAN OF NORWICH || SHOWING OF
LOVE || HER TEXTS ||
HER SELF || ABOUT HER TEXTS || BEFORE JULIAN || HER CONTEMPORARIES || AFTER JULIAN || JULIAN IN OUR TIME || ST BIRGITTA OF SWEDEN
|| BIBLE AND WOMEN || EQUALLY IN GOD'S IMAGE || MIRROR OF SAINTS || BENEDICTINISM || THE CLOISTER || ITS SCRIPTORIUM || AMHERST MANUSCRIPT || PRAYER || CATALOGUE AND PORTFOLIO (HANDCRAFTS, BOOKS
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